A Non-Binary Perspective on M/M Fiction by L.A. Ashton

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, this week I have fellow NineStar Press Author L.A. Ashton over as a guest blogger.  L.A. will be sharing their perspective on writing M/M romance. It’s a thought providing post that I hope you all enjoy:

For many readers, books are an escape. We slip between the pages to experience a life more interesting, be a person more daring, and revel in stakes immensely dire. But the thing that makes readers really connect with a story isn’t usually the wild rides or fantastical surroundings. It’s the thing that speaks to us and our lives—it’s the very real and very relatable.

Whether its sharing religious or philosophical beliefs with the protagonist, having the same dry humor or sharp temper, or maybe being a boy who also loves boys, it’s the similarities that can make a story speak to our heart. All those little details that can make a person feel seen for the first time, or maybe feel like they can better see themselves.

I was a voracious reader before I was a writer, but I rarely felt seen. It wasn’t something I even realized I was missing until I started penning my own stories, and for some reason the main characters kept turning out bisexual. The reason for that became apparent over time. I was also writing a lot of M/M, which was something I was neither ashamed of, nor thought had any deeper meaning—I was a queer person who wrote queer fiction.

All sorts of people write M/M, and while I am a huge supporter of #OwnVoices, the movement was never meant to snatch stories out of other people’s hands. The M/M stories I read and wrote were ones I cherished, and so long as they were written with care and kindness, I wouldn’t be giving them up.

To be clear: I am not an “M/M Author”. While I have written three gay romances, I have F/F and other things in the pipes right now. But M/M was where I kept landing, and where I was finding myself most often.

As time went on and I became more comfortable in my own skin, I couldn’t help asking myself some questions. Questions like, “Why have I gravitated toward M/M so fiercely?”; “What about M/M is especially lucrative right now?”; and eventually, “Why is it easier for me to connect with male main characters?”

I hadn’t heard the terms non-binary, genderfluid, agender, genderqueer, etc., until I was well into my twenties. Finding those terms was like a lightning strike: illuminating, but terrifying. I had never questioned being a girl, because I had never been taught beyond the binary. If being a man didn’t feel right, then, obviously, I was woman.

But it wasn’t obvious. I had just been ignorant, and now my world was exploding.

It took me a while to accept those terms for myself, which feels strange in retrospect; I would never call myself a girl now—it’s not what I am.

I don’t understand gender at all. As someone who has spent massive amounts of time thinking about their gender, I am startlingly clueless. And I think that’s one of the traits that comes along with being who I am: sometimes I’m closer to one end of the spectrum, and sometimes another, but usually my gender could be summed up with the general idea of a void or black hole, or perhaps an old fashioned question mark.

I will never have a body that aligns with who I am inside. I would have to be a shapeshifter or something else from legend; there is no single form that I feel can capture me best. But I can escape.

For me, writing M/M is like slipping into a skin that binds and frees me. I can experience life in ways that aren’t possible, and envision something sure and certain. It is the exact magic that made me fall in love with reading in the first place: the transportation out of myself that also connects me even more firmly with who I am. It is the fantastical and the relatable, the real and the imaginary.

Reading and writing are liberating. They have been my safe haven and my refuge, a place to feel powerful as well as peaceful. All I can hope to do with my writing is offer some of that in return, whether it helps someone feel-out their identity, or just makes their afternoon a little brighter.

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Wow! A special thank you to L.A. Ashton for stopping by today and providing this wonderful guest blog post.  If you have questions for L.A. Aston leave them below and I’ll ensure they swings by to answer, or you can find them on Social Media, see the links below. As always if you enjoyed this content and want to help spread the word not only about L.A. Ashton like and share below. Until next time have a great week.


About L.A. Ashton:

L. A. Ashton is an LGBT+ author writing LGBT+ fiction. They were born and raised between neat grids of corn and soybean fields. They enjoy rock music, traveling, and anything else that adds color to their daydreams. They believe in the healing properties of art and of having a cat firmly stationed on one’s lap.

Where to find L.A. Ashton:

Official Site: http://laashton.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LAAshton_

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AshtonLA

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17171457.L_A_Ashton


About: Valhalla

Sakuma has served as a Valkyrie for centuries, smoothly escorting thousands of souls to the grand halls of Valhalla. While the world tears itself apart during WWII, he is summoned to retrieve the soul of a fallen Japanese soldier, Ishii Hiroshi. To Sakuma’s surprise, Ishii refuses his invitation to eternity.

The two meet again and again as the war repeatedly sends Ishii to death’s door, and what should have been a fleeting encounter becomes something much greater for the both of them.

Sakuma is determined to give Ishii the reward he so deserves, but Ishii’s stubbornness may condemn him to an eternity outside Valhalla.

Where to Buy:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2E71zWY

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/y6yh8sw5

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/y2op2pd6

Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/y4qyz268

Ninestar Press (publisher): http://tinyurl.com/y4afrz2l


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About Echoes

After one thousand years of listless eternity, Oskar is used to his particular brand of loneliness. But a long walk through middle America and a few chance encounters will lead him straight to a man he’d known to be long since dead—his childhood best friend, Aranck.

Being undead hasn’t stopped Aran from living life to the fullest. He has all the money and power his charm and business savvy could earn him, and plenty of friends. Lately, though, something seems to be missing. After a millennia, perhaps the world’s shine has worn off—and that’s when Oskar stumbles back into his life, reminding him of who he used to be.

Together the two vampires remember what it felt like to live, all the while navigating a conflict with the local pack of werewolves. A lot has changed in a thousand years, and only time will tell if those changes will bring Oskar and Aranck closer together, or ensure they remain apart.

Where to Buy:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2E71zWY

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/y6yh8sw5

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/y2op2pd6

Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/y4qyz268

Ninestar Press (publisher): http://tinyurl.com/y4afrz2l

Top Ten List with Kay Doherty

Happy July Scribblers, I hope you all had a safe and joyous 4th of July. This week I welcome fellow NineStar Press author Kay Doherty for a fun Top Ten List about shifterwolves and shifterdragons. Let’s get to it shall we:

What are the top ten reasons you picked shifterwolves and shifterdragons to write around?

  1. When I first started writing I joined Out in Colorado Fiction. There was talk about doing an anthology centered around dragons. The short story I started for that soon became a novel and by the time I reached the end, I realized there was potential for a series. Thankfully, my editor at NineStar, BJ, agreed and the Chevalier Series was born.

  2. I’ve always been drawn to characters with special abilities. When I was teen, my youngest brother and I were fascinated with the X-men and the things they could do. I would make up stories in my head where I was the one who could control the weather or start fires in the palm of my hand. Such a cool idea.

  3. I love dragons. Always have. They embody strength, fearlessness, loyalty, and danger.

  4. My husband loves wolves and volunteers monthly at a wolf sanctuary in southern Colorado called Mission: Wolf. They give tours, educate visitors about wolves to help dispel rumor and myth, and allow you to meet them. You can go into the enclosure and touch them. It seemed natural to me that when Luca stumbled on his mate, that mate would be a wolf.

  5. I wanted to explore the paranormal genre as a writer because I love it as a reader. I probably have hundreds of MM romances with shifters, vampires, witches, you name it.

  6. Luca, Tanner, and the rest of the pack give me the opportunity to explore racism, hate, and discrimination, and find a way to live in a world thick with it. I’d not experienced any of those things until I came out as omni and polysexual. These guys give me a chance to work through it all with them. Tanner really embodies a lot of my struggles with my day job and learning to accept that people will hate me simply because I’m in a committed bisexual poly-family.

  7. Writing shifters and other paranormals freed my writing. I love the two contemporary MM romances I’ve written, but I felt like my creativity could really fly when I didn’t have to follow the “real world” rules. I could make my characters whatever I wanted and give them all these sweet-ass abilities. It’s been so much fun to write.

  8. Having wolf-shifters and dragon-shifters opened the door to have other paranormal beings. As the series progresses there are vampires, phoenix, sorcerers, lion-shifters, hawk-shifters, and whatever other creatures I can imagine. Pretty sure I threw a gryphon in there just for the hell of it.

  9. Writing shifters gave me the opportunity to write complex characters. It’s one thing to write a human with human thoughts and emotions. Add in a supernatural half and you create a whole new level of problems. Animal behavior is so different from human behavior and its fun trying to weave those together in a way that’s cohesive and believable.

  10. It’s sexy!

I love these quick top ten lists, they are so much fun and I believe you get a real feel for the author and the stories they create. I want to thank Kay Doherty for stopping by today and chatting with us. What do you think about dragons and wolves? What about shifters? Let us know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to have Kay stop by and respond. As always don’t forget to share and like this post. Until next time have a great week.


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About Kay Doherty

Kay Doherty is an omnisexual/polysexual who lives in Colorado with her poly-family, Mike, Keri, and Tigz. Her house is overrun with cats and dogs. Family is important to her so there are daily texts, frequent visits to her parents, and constant banter with her brothers. She happily suffers a severe addiction to coffee and Mexican food. She loves to read and write and can easily become consumed by it for hours, much to the dismay of Mike and Keri (Tigz is an enabler). On occasion she can be convinced to venture out into world of the living despite being annoyed by the sun shining in her face.

Where to Find Kay

Email address: kaydohertyauthor@gmail.com

Website: kaydohertybooks.com

Fine her on Facebook: @kaydohertyauthor

Find here on Twitter: @kdohertyauthor


About Hearts of Fire (Chevalier Book One)

Luca Duray has been quite happy living a solitary existence for decades. But when a steel trap around his leg catches him when he’s weak and hungry, his life is irrevocably changed. He knows the wolf shifter who offers him assistance is more than he appears and immediately makes plans to keep the pup close.

Disowned by his pack for being gay, Tanner McBane is forced to become a lone wolf. While on a hunt, he stumbles upon an injured dragon shifter and provides aid. It’s not easy surviving on his own and when money gets tight, he finds himself face-to-face with the dragon shifter once again during an interview. Tanner isn’t sure a wolf should be working for a dragon, but he accepts the job and unknowingly creates a bond to his new boss. Soon, Tanner learns Luca isn’t just his boss—he’s his mate.

The mating of a wolf and dragon shifter is uncharted territory for both Luca and Tanner, but they are determined to make it work despite widespread prejudice, death threats, and the untraditional pack Tanner finds himself leading. Tanner only hopes that the bond he forms with Luca will prove to be unbreakable.

Where to buy Hearts of Fire

Find it on NineStar Press here.

Find it through GoodReads here.


Coming in August 2019 Hearts of Blood (Chevalier Book Two)

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Interview with Author Andrew Peters

It’s now fully summer, can you believe it. Well, happy Wednesday Scribblers. Today I’m thrilled to bring you fellow NineStar Press Author Andrew J. Peters.  Andy, has a bunch of works out, now only for young adults but for adults as well.  This week I invited Andy over to chat about his newest work Irresistible. I had the pleasure of reading the book before the interview so today we get to dive into the book and, of course, Andy’s work as an author. Let’s dive in shall we:

MN: Andy, I have to tell you I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started reading Irresistible. It’s such a unique tale, especially considering it’s based on Chariton’s Callirhoe, which I had honestly never heard of, so what made you decide to write this type of novel, especially giving it the gay treatment? What drew you to the story?

AP: Few people outside of classical scholars have heard of Callirhoe, so you’re in good company. I included in my Author’s Note what led me to that obscure inspiration point because it definitely warrants some explanation.

I’m better known for writing fantasy, and I was doing research for my novel The City of Seven Gods, which is a near-world historical fantasy with ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Greek touchpoints. I wanted to read translated material written in that era to get a better ear for how people talked about their daily lives. So I stumbled upon Callirhoe, which has the distinction of being the oldest extant romance novel according to literary scholars. Lots of things about that intrigued me, including the fact the author is Chariton of Aphrodisias, which is kind of awesomely on-the-nose for a romance author.

But I was also really curious what a romance novel looked like in the 1st century C.E., and the shocking thing to me was the story reads like a comedy mash-up of Harlequin romance and Shakespeare play. It’s funny because it was panned by “serious” literary critics of the time while still achieving commercial success, so there was something really interesting to me about how ancient sensibilities weren’t so different from modern attitudes about literature.

The story is totally absurd and painfully earnest. Callirhoe is the most beautiful woman in the world, and she falls instantly in love with young, handsome Chaereas when they spot each other on the street. They immediately make plans to marry, but a group of Chaereas’ friends try to sabotage their union because they’re jealous that he gets to marry her. An outlandish comedy of errors ensues involving kidnapping, forced marriage, a military insurgency, and finally a trial to sort out who has the right to Callirhoe during which the judge plots to steal her for himself. All the while, Callirhoe has impassioned soliloquies cursing the gods for making her so beautiful and pining for her true love Chaereas. When they’re reunited, they literally faint from the ecstasy of the moment.

To me, that was winning material for a modern send-up reclaiming the story for rom-com fans. In a sense it took me back to my writing roots. I wrote a lot of absurd humor in high school and college but got on a fantasy kick when I started writing for publication. Callirhoe reminded me of one of my favorite comedy movies There’s Something About Mary, and I felt gay rom-com doesn’t get as much daylight as it should. It was fun to approach the subject of gay relationships from a light, really madcap perspective. 

MN: One of the things that is difficult for me, as a reader to relate to, are physically perfect characters. And, this book had the lead characters as physically perfect. What I love about the story is that you made these guys incredibly flawed, was this your intention from the start so the reader would be able to relate to them? Or, is it just how the characters are? I guess the big question here is how to keep these characters likable and believable, which is a hard line to balance, so what were your goals to that end? In the end I did find the characters likable and I thought you did a good job with it, but how do you think you did? Are you happy with their characterization especially now that the book is out? Do you think it all worked the way you wanted?

AP: My intention was heartwarming parody, and I think you’re right, that requires a well-measured balance. Because on one hand, I wanted to blow things up to point out certain social hypocrisies and superficialities while also saying something true about the world. Partially, I thought a story about a tragic, irresistible beauty in the gay community worked really well because I think we do fall prey to an obsessive search for beauty, which is defined as youthful, physical perfection. We see that in advertising, dating apps, gym culture, the whole cosmetic surgery and beauty industry, and I’ve known so many guys with body image issues as well as those who will only pursue young, conventionally-attractive men like it’s some validation of their worth.

So in developing the story’s tragic beauty Callisthenes (Cal), I did call upon those stereotyped traits. He’s twenty-four, blond-haired, boyishly handsome, slimly built. But it was important to me that he’s naively unaware of how attractive he is. That’s partially for the comedy. At a crowded outdoor theater, everybody makes way for him to have a prime seat on the grass, and he thinks it’s just this friendly thing. He’s come to New York for the summer, and when people shoulder each other aside to give him directions, he’s like: “Everyone in the country has it wrong about New Yorkers. They’re really kind and helpful.” I imagined him as this sweet, earthy, unpretentious guy who’s actually a bit more goofy and nerdy than you might expect. He’s a broke, grad student so he goes to random things like free lectures on writing true crime fiction, and he’s reading Artur Rimbaud’s love letters in the original French for fun. So with that portrayal, I hoped to make him more relatable and endearing.

With his love interest Brendan, I needed to create Cal’s handsome prince, so physical attractiveness was definitely an ingredient, but I also considered that Cal would be drawn to an intellectual type. Part of the parody with Brendan is he’s a trust fund brat who’s kind of rudderless and filled with angst. He definitely suffers from rich guilt, but I didn’t want to make that superficial. He’s trying to be socially conscious, and he’d rather take a guy out on a date for ice cream rather than impressing him with his wealth. But I drew on certain familiar observations about people of privilege in a light-hearted way. He’s got the requisite psychotherapist, has studied Buddhism, is over-educated but lacking the basic work skills to actually handle a job. I wanted to make him kind of a hot mess who finds a sense of grounding and belonging in Cal.

I love the story and the characters, so that hasn’t changed since Irresistible came out; but I also learned the comedy point-of-view isn’t for everyone. Some readers thought it was hilarious and refreshingly different. Some thought it was an eye-rolling train wreck, which in some ways is the point. Humor is really subjective, so it’s definitely a risk, and I don’t have the right perspective or I guess literary sensibility to write a satisfying story for traditional romance fans. I’ve never written stories “to trend,” just more so hoped they’d reach some readers who relate. That approach hasn’t launched me into the stratosphere as an author for sure, but for me, it’s been a risk worth taking.

MN: As I read the novel, I kept shaking my head at the wacky circumstances you got your characters into. This is a rom-com and of course there is a lot of misdirection (I think that is the correct way to say it) was this true of Callirhoe, or did you take liberty with the story?

AP: Yes, misdirection would be right. I actually had to tone down the ridiculous plot devices from the source material. Callirhoe may also be the oldest extant example of the “they’re not really dead” trope. When Chaereas is manipulated into believing Callirhoe cheated on him, he kicks her in the precise spot on her diaphragm that induces a death-like coma, and they go through a funeral and she wakes up to be kidnapped by grave robbers.

Most of the circumstances that thwart Cal and Brendan are loosely based on characters and plot points from the original, and I had to give them some tweaks for modern times. Cal’s pursuers like the Romanian mobster, the old hermit widower, his horny adolescent naval prison guard Faraj, and the despotic Arabian king are re-imagined. The one thing I somewhat kept is the journey, which goes through the Greek isles and ends up in the Middle East. I of course invented the Sultanate of Maritime Kindah as Cal and Brendan’s final destination.

MN: As I mentioned above I’m not at all familiar with the source material you wrote this story off of, did you have issues adapting this story for modern times? I thought you dealt with the whole social media aspect of it quite well, given the nature of the characters, especially Cal, how he didn’t end up a Social Media star or internet celebrity still has me curious, what were your writing strategies for this and how do you think it all worked out?

AP: Yeah, besides being a heterosexual love story, the original has the heroine being trafficked by sail boat through the Greek isles in a time when women were property. Beyond figuring out what a tragically beautiful gay man would look like in the modern world, I did have to consider technologies and political and law enforcement aspects to bring a story of obsession and abduction into a contemporary setting.

A guy who turns heads wherever he goes would face some creepy situations for example, and probably my biggest challenge was balancing a responsible portrayal of that while keeping the tone light. Part of Cal’s history involves stalkers and guys who send him dick pics, and then of course, he has a host of men who he thinks are going to help him get back to Brendan but are covertly plotting to keep him for themselves. As a contemporary story, it could easily have turned out feeling more like horror or crime drama than rom-com.

It helped a lot to have those sections vetted by beta readers and editorial staff to get the tone and balance right. For example, I tried to make one of Cal’s stalkers more comical by having him drive his Smart car into his house and ending up jammed in the car with local news crews filming him being sawed out by welders and carried out in a stretcher. I think the key was placing creepy situations in a world which feels silly and safe enough to readers to trust nothing too dark could possibly happen.

I think that’s why outrageous rom-coms by the Farrelly Brothers work like my fave There’s Something About Mary. Things could go to a dark place given the circumstances, but the danger and violence is given an absurd treatment. Like when Ben Stiller’s character picks up a hitchhiker who turns out to be a serial killer, and the guy runs off on him at a late-night rest stop. Then Ben is caught up in a police raid because it’s a gay cruising area, and the police find one of the hitchhiker’s victims in the rucksack he left in Ben’s car. They’re all really serious issues, but you don’t take them truly seriously because you feel safe in the storyteller’s hands. My early readers and editor helped a lot with finetuning that tone. I actually had a supporting character die in the first draft, and they helped me realize it was too off-putting to go there.

MN: You give this story a solid ending, but do you have any more planned adventures for Cal and Brendan or is their story done?

AP: I don’t think so. Writing the story has plucked up some interest in doing more rom-com, but the projects I’m working on have new inspiration points.

MN: You have quite a collection of books out there, and they cross several genres (which I love), so between us guys, what is your favorite genre to write in?

AP: That’s tough. I’ve truly enjoyed everything from paranormal to young adult to epic fantasy and rom-com. I’ll say this: I find contemporary a lot easier to write, whether it was my Werecat series or Irresistible. There’s so much research with epic and historical fantasy. So much internal logic to figure out.

MN: What do you currently have in the works? What will we be seeing in the future?

AP: I have a short story collection based on retold fairy tales and legends coming out from NineStar later this year. Besides that I’m working on a young adult comedy adventure based on The Odyssey, and I’m shopping around the follow-up to The City of Seven Gods.

MN: As with many of us, writing is either a hobby or a part time gig. You don’t appear to be any different in that regard. In general, we write because we love to tell stories. What motivates you to keep writing? Do you have stories in your head that need to be told? Or, is it something else? Do you feel the need to have LGBTQ+ content available for generations to be able to read and learn from?

AP: It’s important to me that I call my writing a job rather than a hobby, though it wasn’t always that way. Getting my work published was the dividing line, and thereafter I started building the confidence to take my writing more seriously; though not too seriously! It’s also been a journey of humility since rejections are an inevitable part of it, and there’s always more to learn about improving your craft.

I write because it’s intrinsically rewarding for me, from the creative process when I’m all amped up about a new idea, to accomplishing a story from start to finish, to the little bits of acknowledgement here and there, and seeing my work in print. I am a big advocate of increasing queer portrayals and #OwnVoices in particular, and equally, I just love stories with queer characters. I don’t know if you remember this t-shirt that used to be pretty popular at Pride events: “I can’t even walk straight.” Well, mine would be: “I can’t even write straight.” So the queer part is both purposeful and inevitable for me.

MN: Was there anything else you wanted to share with us today?

AP: I think that’s all. Thanks so much for having me over Marvin!

Andrew thank you for stopping by today and chatting about your latest title Irresistible. If you have questions for Andrew leave them below and I’ll ensure he swings by to answer, or you can find him on Social Media, see the links below. Until next time have a great week.


About Andrew J. Peters:

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Author Andrew J. Peters is the third most famous Andrew J. Peters on the Internet after the disgraced former mayor of Boston and the very honorable concert organist of the same name.

He’s an award-winning author, an educator and an activist. His novel The City of Seven Gods won the 2017 Silver Falchion award for Best Horror/Fantasy and was a finalist for 2016 Sci Fi/Fantasy Book of the Year at the Foreword INDIES. His Werecat series was a 2016 Readers’ Choice finalist at The Romance Reviews. He has written two books for young adults (The Seventh Pleaide and Banished Sons of Poseidon), and he is the author of the adult novel Poseidon and Cleito. His latest title Irresistible is a gay rom-com based on the oldest extant romance novel in the world.

Andrew grew up in Buffalo, New York, studied psychology at Cornell University, and spent the early part of his career as a social worker and an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. He has been a contributing writer at Queer Sci Fi, The New York Journal of Books, The Good Men Project, Gay YA, YA Highway, La Bloga, and All Romance e-Books (ARe) Café.

While writing, Andrew works as an administrator and an adjunct faculty at Adelphi University. He lives in New York City with his husband Genaro and their cat Chloë.

Where to find Andrew J. Peters:

Find his website here.

Find him on Facebook here.

Find him on Twitter here.

Find him on Goodreads here.


About his latest title Irresistible:

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Brendan Thackeray-Prentiss is an Ivy League-educated trust-funder who Gotham Magazine named the most eligible gay bachelor in New York City. He lives for finding his soulmate, but after walking in on his boyfriend of three transcendent months soaping up in the shower with an older female publicist, he’s on a steady diet of scotch, benzodiazepines, and compulsive yoga. Men are completely off the menu.

Callisthenes Panagopoulos has a problem most guys dream of. With the body and face of a European soccer heartthrob, the vigorous blond hair of a Mormon missionary, and a smile that makes traffic cops stuff their ticket books back in their utility belts, he’s irresistible to everyone. But being a constant guy-magnet comes with its discontents, like an ex-boyfriend who tried to drive his Smart car through Cal’s front door. It makes him wonder if he’s been cursed when it comes to love.

When Brendan and Cal meet, the attraction is meteoric, and they go from date to mates at the speed of time-lapse photography. But to stay together, they’ll have to overcome Cal’s jealous BFF, Romanian mobsters, hermit widowers, and a dictatorship on the brink of revolution during a dream wedding in the Greek isles that becomes a madcap odyssey.

A gay romantic comedy of errors based on Chariton’s Callirhoe, the world’s oldest extant romance novel.

Buy his novel here.

Interview with Author KD Fisher

Can you believe it’s the first week of June already? I’m really looking forward to the Summer and I’m hoping that all the rain is done for a while, but I’m not going to complain especially with this weeks guest around. To start off June, I have this great interview with romance writer KD Fisher. KD is a queer author who lives in New England. Let’s get into shall we.

Thank you for agreeing to be here today for the interview KD, now before we get started why don’t you tell us something about yourself. Something not in your bio.

Let’s see…my other favorite thing to do (aside from writing) is cooking. I even thought about going to culinary school! Spending a day shopping for food, trying new ingredients, and cooking a big meal for my friends and family is my idea of heaven. I also love reading cookbooks and own far too many of them.

That is so cool. I enjoy cooking as well. It’s a great way to be creative and get something delicious in the end.  Of course I’m not a fan of cleaning up, so there is that too.

I love that you are a romance writer, what got you interested in writing romance? Within romance what is your favorite to write about? What makes your romance work so unique and different?

I was very into reading romance growing up. Because, as a reader, I care about character development more than plot, I enjoyed getting to know two people and watching them fall in love. Then, as an adult when I discovered queer romance, I knew I’d found my absolute favorite thing to read. Knowing queer characters will get their happily ever after feels both comforting and radical to me. A lot of LGBTQ+ media has been dominated by stories of suffering, so happy stories about queer folks finding love and joy have power.

I love writing contemporary romance because, at least for me, I feel it gives the most opportunity to dig into character development and all of the nuance of what it really means to enter into a new relationship.  And since I’m in my late twenties, I like writing about characters my age trying to juggle careers, friendships, and finding their happily ever after. 

While I’m not sure it makes my romance work unique, one thing I care a lot about is including politics in my stories. Writers are frequently told to keep politics out of their work, but everything we do is political! 

Nicely said. I think politics, if done well, can only add to the richness of any story, including romance. Romance has a stigma that it’s basicially erotica, where the lines can blur a bit. We know this isn’t the case, so what are your thoughts on the whole line blur between romance and erotica?

Hm. I think a lot of the stigma around romance stems from intrenched cultural misogyny and discomfort with women enjoying themselves. But that’s a rant for another time!

Romance comes in all heat levels for sure, ranging from clean or sweet romance (terms I don’t love but, again, that’s a rant for another day) all the way to erotic romance. I think the biggest distinctions between romance and erotica are the goal of the work and why the reader seeks it out. When choosing a romance novel, a reader is going to expect character development, rich worldbuilding, and a traditional arc ending with the characters finding love. Emotional satisfaction is a hugely important aspect of romance. Erotica is more focused on sensuality and sex scenes.

I do include on the page sex in my novels and stories. One, because I like writing it, and two because I think, particularly for stories about queer women, it’s important that positive, consensual, and satisfying depictions of queer sexuality by queer creators exist in the world. In romance, however, sex scenes have to do the same work as any other scene. They should further the plot and develop character, otherwise they feel gratuitous.

Nicely said. I agree that there is a lot to unpack on this topic, however, I think you did a great job with the question. I love seeing positive pretrains of consensual adults being romantically involved.  Now, without spoilers why don’t you tell us about A Little Rebellion.

A Little Rebellion is a f/f romance novella that came out in May in theRogue Ever Afteranthology. I used to teach high school English and always wanted to write a story about two queer teachers falling in love. The plot centers around Ruth Chan, a veteran teacher and union representative, and Mia Davis, a brand-new educator. The two women develop a close friendship and commiserate over terrible new school policies. There’s plenty of awkward banter, progressive politics, and queerness!

Sounds like a must read. Okay, given the above do you have a favorite character in the story?  I know that’s like asking you to pick your favorite arm, however, sometimes there is a character that we have an easier time writing, so if you don’t have a favorite, then what about a character that was easy to write for?

I really loved writing Mia’s character because she’s so different from me! She’s bubbly and athletic and isn’t afraid of a challenge. The novella is dual point of view and I always looked forward to getting into Mia’s head. But I also really love Ruth in all of her awkward butch glory.

From your bio, I see you want to one day move to a cabin in the desert, that isn’t something you hear a lot from people, so I’m curious what is it about the desert you love so much?

It’s kind of a silly line because I’m pretty sure I never want to leave Maine (where I live now.) But I do love the desert. I’m a sucker for a beautiful but harsh landscape. And the American Southwest is one of my favorite places to hike because I love to geek out over desert plants and birds. 

LOL, plus I’m sure it’s quite a contrast from Maine, which I love by the way and got a chance to visit there a million years ago… I’m hoping to go back.  Anyway, moving on, what are you currently working on? What will be seeing from you in the future?

I’m currently working on a f/f foodie romance about a baker and a chef. It has been a lot of fun to write!

This fall I have a queer romance coming out with NineStar Press, followed by a holiday romance coming out with Dreamspinner Press. So stay tuned!

Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Thank you so much for having me! You are always welcome. Hit me up when you have a new book out and we can do this again.

Thank you KD for stopping by today and telling us about yourself and your writing.  If you have questions for KD leave them below and I’ll ensure she swings by to answer, or you can find her on Social Media, see the links below. Until next time have a great week.


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About A Little Rebellion:

Veteran public school teacher and union rep Ruth Chan is always ready for the curveballs life throws at her--an updated curriculum, a new principal, a replacement superintendent… But she’s not ready for a cute woman at the dog park to divert her attention the day before a new school year. Ruth can't afford to pursue love when her students need her.

The last thing Mia Davis needs is a distraction. It’s her first year teaching and she’s going to do things right, dang it! No matter how much she wants to fantasize about a certain colleague she met at the dog park, Mia has to stand up to the intolerant jerk of a principal and help her students learn despite the horrible new test-prep curriculum.

As a close friendship develops between Mia and Ruth, the women must fight to save the school they both love and decide if their friendship can turn into something more.

Where to Buy KD Fisher’s books:

For A Little Rebellion in Rogue Ever After

Buy it on Amazon here.

But it on Barnes & Noble here.  

Find it on Apple Books here.

Buy it on Kobo here.

For Nature's Heart in Rogue Passion

Find it on Amazon here.

Buy it on Barnes & Noble here.

Find it on Apple Books here.

Buy it on Kobo here.


About KD Fisher:

Author Photo.jpg

KD Fisher is a queer New England-based writer of authentic, heartfelt LGBTQ+ narratives. 

KD grew up all over the United States: bouncing from North Carolina, to Hawai'i, to Illinois, and finally settling in Maine where she spends far too much time at the beach. As much as she loves the Northeast, she daydreams about one day moving to a cabin in the desert.

When KD isn’t writing she can usually be found hiking with her overly enthusiastic dog, obsessing over plants, or cooking elaborate meals. She loves classic country, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and falling asleep in the sun.

Where to find KD Fisher:

For Twitter click here.

For Facebook click here

For Instagram click here.

For Goodreads click here.

Top Ten List with Abigail de Niverville

Happy Wednesday Scribblers this week I’m pleased to have fellow NineStar Author Abigail de Niverville on my Scribbles Page to do a Top Ten List for her debut novel, I Knew Him. Without further ado let’s get to the question.

What are ten things about Julian that make him unique and an interesting character that readers will be excited about?

  1. Julian lives in a small town called Riverview, which still exhibits a lot of backwards notions. It makes it difficult for him to decide if he wants to come out.

  2. He doesn’t like being the centre of attention, mainly because that gives more opportunity for people to speculate things about him.

  3. His star sign is Aquarius, and he definitely embodies certain traits. He runs from his emotions, he finds it difficult deciphering those of others. But he’s also very adaptable in different situations and with different people.

  4. He has a lot of constellations memorized.

  5. His parents are divorced and he’s having trouble unpacking his feelings surrounding his father’s absence in his life.

  6. He’s not very talkative and prefers the company of people who give him space to speak instead of demanding information out of him.

  7. He bought his car off someone’s front lawn.

  8. Though there were other signs he found in retrospect, Julian first began wondering about his sexuality when a boy kissed him at a party a couple years before the beginning of I Knew Him.

  9. He loves action movies and sci-fi, though he might not be willing to admit that to everyone.

  10. He throws a lot of his energy into school instead of dealing with his problems.

Blurb:

In his senior year of high school, Julian has one goal: be invisible. All he wants is to study hard, play basketball, and pretend he’s straight for one more year. Then, he can run away to university and finally tell the world he’s bisexual. And by “the world,” he means everyone but his mom and best friend. That’s two conversations he never wants to have.

When he’s talked into auditioning for the school’s production of Hamlet, Julian fears that veering off course will lead to assumptions he’s not ready to face. Despite that, he can’t help but feel a connection to this play. His absent father haunts him like a ghost, his ex is being difficult, and he’s overthinking everything. It’s driving him crazy.

The decision to audition leads Julian on an entirely different path. He’s cast as Hamlet, and the boy playing Horatio is unlike anyone Julian has met before. Mysterious and flirtatious, Sky draws Julian in, even though he fears his feelings at the same time. As the two grow closer, Julian begins to let out the secrets he’s never told—the ones that have paralyzed him for years. But what will he do if Sky feels the same way?


Buy Links:

Universal Link click here

For Amazon click here

For Barnes and Noble click here

For NineStar Press click here

Author Bio:

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Abigail de Niverville is an author and composer based in Toronto, Canada. Born on the East Coast of Canada, Abigail draws inspiration from her experiences growing up there. When she’s not writing frantically, she also composes music and holds an M.Mus from the University of Toronto.

Find Abigail here:

Website: adeniverville.com

Twitter: @adeniverville

Interview with Author Glenn Quigley

Happy Wednesday everyone. This week I want to say a big hello to fellow NineStar Press Author Glenn Quigley. Glenn has two amazing novels out The Lion Lies Waiting and The Moth and Moon and he is coming to us from beautiful Northern Ireland.


Before we jump in, I just want to say welcome to my Scribbles Page.

Thanks very much for inviting me along!

Let’s start off with you telling us something about yourself that we won’t see in your bio.

Hmm, let’s see. I’m a huge fan of Transformers, and have been since 1984. I trained with a paranormal investigation group and have been on ghost hunts in people’s homes, a jail, and the Belfast Opera House. Oh, and I used to make teddy bears from socks. New socks, mind you!

No way! That is so cool.  Okay, I need to focus.

I know you’re also a graphic designer and I’ve seen some of your amazing art that you’ve posted on Social Media, you are very talented, clearly being creative most be a passion of yours so what came first the writing or the art?

Oh, thank you very much! I’d say the art came first, I was always a doodler as a child, but I also read a lot. Books and comics. I was never any good at schoolwork (I hated school), except for essays in English class, which I really enjoyed. Once I left school, I kept working at my art and taught myself Photoshop and other art programs. The writing took a back seat for many years, but I would often note down story ideas and write little passages that usually never really went anywhere.              

It’s amazing how that works. I sort of did the same thing. I had all these ideas, but nothing ever came of them. Of course, the extent of my drawing is creating an amazing stick figure. So, what inspired you to start writing?

From secondary school onwards, my mother urged me to keep writing. It was always her dream to one day have a book with my name on the cover and she would regularly ask me if I was still working on my writing.

I went back to college as a mature student in 2014 to study photography and graphic design, and while the first year went really well, the second year was in a different college and it was a horrible experience. It was like being back in school. I dropped out of the course and thought I’d better have something to show for that year, so I decided to try writing a short story. When I managed that, I thought I’d try expanding it into a full novel, and it became The Moth and Moon.

Speaking of The Moth and Moon, let’s talk about your books, you have two out right now, The Lion Lies Waiting and The Moth and Moon why don’t you tell us about them.

Click on the image to buy the books.

Click on the image to buy the books.

The Moth and Moon is set in the 18thcentury and is about a burly gay fisherman named Robin Shipp who lives on a tiny island off the coast of Cornwall. One day a storm blows in and turns his life upside down. 

The Lion Lies Waiting is set four months later, and sees Robin embroiled in political intrigue, family drama and a possible revolution on sinister Blackrabbit Island.

The books are set in a world without religion, so nobody suffers any kind of prejudice for their sexual orientation or gender. I knew when I started writing the story that I wanted it to be historical fiction but I didn’t want it to all happen behind closed doors, or have characters face any hardship for their orientation. Frankly, the real world has enough of that, and I wanted an escape. I reasoned that religion was the excuse many people used to persecute LGBT+ people so if I removed that, I removed a huge stumbling block for equality.

I needed the world of 1780 (the year the books are set in) to be recognizable, but believably different. The answer I came up with was to still have the Romans invade Britain, which gave me the history, cultural impact, names, language, etc. needed to make the world recognizable, but then when their empire falls, the church goes with it. Word spread throughout the world of what life could be like if people just believed in themselves and in each other, and gradually all religion is left by the wayside. So by the time the books are set, a thousand years later, society has embraced all genders and orientations. Oh, and there’s a clockwork technology in there too, just to serve as a little reminder that this is meant to be *a* past, not *the* past.

The main characters are a mix of gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight. 

That is an interesting concept. I have heard people say work could be called historical fiction, but considering the changes your made is that a correct assertion? Why did you pick this genre to write in? 

I think given the massive liberties I’ve taken with history a more accurate label would be Historical Fantasy. I love history documentaries; I find them a great source of inspiration. I chose the late 18thcentury because I think there’s something about being on the cusp of the industrial revolution that’s romantic, in a funny way. It’s like the last few years before the birth of the modern world.

Tell us about the characters we are going to meet in these novels, are they based on real people or are they completely made up? 

They are completely made up, although Robin, my main character, has a lot of my clumsiness in him. I think, as I was writing, some mannerisms from friends and family creeped in to characters here and there, but there are no direct similarities. I based characters appearances on real people just so I could keep them consistent, but I think a lot of writers do that.

Robin Shipp is 50, extremely tall, broad, heavy, and not that bright. He’s a fisherman who lives in the little village of Blashy Cove. When we first meet him, he’s living a quiet life, ostracized by the wider community as they believe his father murdered a local artist forty years ago. He has no family, and lives alone in a tall, thin house. He has friends named Edwin, a handsome baker, and Morwenna Whitewater, an elderly neighbor who took pity on him after his father died. We also meet Robin’s ex-lover, Duncan. A short, stocky man who works as a toymaker. He and Robin have a very frosty relationship and can’t bear to be around one another. Over the course of the first book we meet the grumpy innkeeper, Mr. Reed, the married aristocrats Ladies Eva and Iris Wolfe-Chase, Edwin’s mother Sylvia (who loves to stir up trouble) and a whole host of other characters.

That sounds like a fun cast. Now, living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, I would love to hear about your home, what are five must does if I were to ever make it over there?  

Lisburn is a small city, but it’s good for shopping as it’s so compact. It’s close to Belfast, which has lots of great bars, restaurants, and shops. Also nearby Hillsborough village is picturesque, with a lovely forest.

That sounds amazing. Ireland is on my list of places to visit so I hope to get there. Lastly, is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

I design geeky tshirts for Moodybear, so head over to www.themoodybear.comand have a look!

I have a fun little series of Five Questions with Ninestar Press authors on my website, www.glennquigley.comand I’m always happy to chat on Twitter, so anyone can contact me on there. I’d also like to say thanks again for having me on your blog!

I want to thank fellow author Glenn Quigley for stopping by today and chatting with you us about his two books. If you have questions for Glenn leave them in the comments below and I’ll have him swing by and answer them. Remember to like and share this post with your family and friends. You can share by clicking the share tab below. Until next time have a great week.

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About Glenn Quigley:

Glenn Quigley is a graphic designer originally from Dublin and now living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. He creates bear designs for www.themoodybear.com. He has been interested in writing since he was a child, as essay writing was the one and only thing he was ever any good at in school. When not writing or designing, he enjoys photography and watercolour painting.

Where to contact Glenn Quigley:

Click here for his website.

Find him on Facebook here.

Find him on Twitter here.


Conversation with Author R.R. Campbell

It’s Wednesday already, where did the week go? Welcome to another in my series of author interviews. This is my continued attempt to bring forward authors you may not already know and introduce them to you. If you do know them, then it is my hope you’ll learn something new. Today, I welcome fellow NineStar Press author R.R. Campbell to the hot seat to talk about his book Imminent Dawn and its highly anticipated sequel Mourning Dove.

Welcome to my Scribbles Page, Ryan. I’m thrilled to have you over, especially after I just finished Imminent Dawn. What a great book.

Thanks, M.D. Neu I was happy to know you picked up a copy, and thrilled to learn you liked it.

Before we jump the interview proper, why don’t you tell us something about yourself that’s not in your bio?

As a “buffer activity” in between writing-related work, I normally play Wii Golf or Baseball. Or, if I feel like being slightly more active, I’ll hop on the exercise bike in the basement—especially during these winter months, when it’s way too cold to go outside for a proper walk or jog.

I read in your bio that you run a podcast, The Writescast Network. Care to tell us about it? (include where and how people can listen Links are good too).

Yes! The Writescast Network is a podcast collective for writers, by writers. The idea is that in one single podcast feed, you get access to three distinct shows that focus on different facets of the craft and business of writing.

For example, the longest-running program (the r. r. campbell writescast), features author, agent, and editor interviews in which I ask those guests how they approach or feel about particular aspects of the craft of writing, or what they’ve done to be successful in marketing their work or establishing their brand. There are two new episodes of the r. r. campbell writescast on the first and third Fridays of each month, you can find it here.

Then there’s Novel Approaches. Novel Approaches is a monthly show that’s craft-intensive. For this show, co-host and fellow editor Sione Aeschliman joins me to do a deep dive into a particular aspect of the craft of writing. Previous topics have included goal-oriented storytelling, character development, narrative mode—the list goes on. In these episodes, which can sometimes last up to two hours, we also take listener questions and comments from a #WritescastChat we host on Twitter prior to recording the episode. This gives us an opportunity to work in insight from the broader community to provide listeners with a more holistic perspective.

Last but not least, we have Biblio Breakdown. This show features a host who explores one book (or TV show) in particular, and emphasizes what the writer of that media did well—all with the goal of seeing how that might help us as writers. Over the course of one episode, we might explore a book’s inciting incident, characterization, and how voice is brought to the page in detail.

I’m actively looking for Writescast Network contributors for this program, and anyone who’s interested in this can certainly email me at writescast@gmail.com to learn more.

Otherwise, all things Writescast Network can be found at writescast.net!

You’re an Editor as well, excellent. Do you find that that makes writing your own works easier or harder? What is it about editing that you enjoy so much? Are there works you won’t edit? What are your favorite kinds of novels to edit?

Over the years I’ve gotten better about compartmentalizing my work as an editor and my work as a writer. When I write, I write with my left brain—the goal is to just get the plot down and the basic scene mechanics on the page. When I revise my own work, I do so with my right brain, deepening the emotion of those scenes and shaping the work’s thematic elements based on what I’ve given myself to work with to start.

When I edit—whether for myself or others—I have to do both at the same time, making sure the pages’ contents are on point mechanically and emotionally. It’s a tricky balance to strike, but, like I said, I’ve become more confident in my ability to tackle this over the years, and practice does make for something approximating perfection.

I’m much more of a genre-focused editor than I am focused on editing literary works. With genre, there are more tangible benchmarks for me to work with when it comes to evaluation, whereas in literary works there’s more room for playing fast and loose with structure, characterization, narrative mode, etc. This is fantastic for writers who have a clear vision for the story they want to tell, but as an editor—for me, anyway—it can be tough to assert myself in the same ways since editing literary work (or memoir) can be a bit more personal; I don’t want to trod on anyone’s experience.

In the end, though, editing for others gives me an opportunity to not only help other writers realize the full potential of their concepts. It also helps me see my own work in a different light. I’m often in awe of how other writers confront challenges similar to those that I face in my own work, and it can be really inspiring to see.

Let’s talk about Imminent Dawn. Give us a brief description of the novel and since book two is on its way, the overall series.

Click the image for the book trailer.

Click the image for the book trailer.

Imminent Dawn takes place during the first round of human trials for an internet-access brain implant. Though it follows four perspective characters—including a ruthless tech magnate, a relentless investigative journalist, and an advancement-hungry administrative assistant—Chandra, the art-school dropout, really forms the story’s core.

Chandra enrolls in this research study because she believes the EMPATHY internet-access brain implant can help reunite her with her wife, who’s in a coma Chandra feels responsible for. Ultimately, Chandra’s goal is to have the internet-access brain implant installed in her wife’s mind as well, and she hopes that through the implant, the two of them will be able to communicate with one another in some way.

The majority of book one takes place on the research compound, though we do get to see some of the overworld’s politicking and the state of the North American Union as a whole. If Imminent Dawn is an action, Mourning Dove is the reaction that really lets us see how our characters handle the adversity posed by the fallout from the research study. Mourning Dove also lets us get enmeshed a bit more in the broader world, as it features scenes that take place in Texas, Quebec, and Costa Rica.

What inspired you to write the story? As I recall from your interview over on WROTE Podcast you mentioned that the story started as a short, and grew from there. Is that correct? (To hear the interview click here)

Imminent Dawn did start as a short story meant to be a modern Flowers for Algernon. After having written the short story, however, I realized there was more to the narrative than just what Chandra had at stake. It’s then that I added the journalist on the outside of the study, and from there, the addition of the ruthless tech magnate and the advancement-hungry administrative assistant really helped me see there was series potential here.

In this way, it went from a simple short work of fiction to the sprawling, Game of Thrones meets Black Mirror book series we’re looking at now!

As I mentioned I just finished the novel and it was excellent (for my review of Imminent Dawn click here). I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think what I found so interesting was the idea of following multiple characters, personally I love that kind of story telling as you can really explore the characters. Is that what you wanted to do with the novel from the start or, as you wrote it, did it morph into that kind of story telling?

Like I mentioned above, it really morphed into that over time. What I love about this kind of storytelling is that it gives us an opportunity to see how individuals of different backgrounds handle these momentous events in human history, even if the “history” is forward-looking and inherently speculative.

We have the four perspective characters in book one, but we’ll have nine in book two. Books three and four—whose events will be concurrent—will have a total of at least a dozen perspectives across both installments, though book three will have about half of those perspectives, and book four will have the others.

That is a lot of perspectives to keep track of, I can’t wait to see how you handle it. I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun to read.

Also I enjoyed that you didn’t put this story too far off from our time, meaning we can still recognize the world you are writing about. You did manage a few changes in your world building which I found fascinating, namely the North American Union or NAU as it’s referred to in the book. I would love to hear more about the world building you did for the story. What did you change? Why did you change it? And how did this affect your story telling?

I wanted this story to feel like it’s something that could happen in our world at any time. The actual lore behind it all (not present in book one) is that the EMPATHY series takes place on a divergent timeline, where subtle changes near the end of the twentieth century (and particularly in the twenty-first) led to serious advancements in telecom and vast, tectonic-level political changes both in the United States and abroad.

This not only allowed me to create an eerie distant-but-not-too-distant feel, but it also freed me up to do what I wanted regarding some of the laws that govern research studies and the world as a whole. It also gave me more freedom to shape how the characters view the world and the news taking place in it to a greater extent. In other words, it let me divorce myself from actual events in our world and replace them with similar moments and movements that might better serve the planned longer arc I have for the series.

Without giving anything away, I want to compliment you on the ending of Imminent Dawn, you could have chosen many endings for the book that would have allowed you to continue on with the series, but the road you chose was… well, nicely done. Was the ending always planned the way it was, or did that change as you wrote the novel and the more you dug into your characters?

I always knew the ending had to be bittersweet. For me, there’s something poetic to giving everyone what they want, but not quite how they would have wanted it. This irony really sets us up to see how people react to getting what they wish for in ways they never would have wished for it.

Writing an ending like the one we have in Imminent Dawn also allowed me to feel as though I was resolving the central question of the book while still providing a sense of direction for what might come in Mourning Dove and the later books in the series. Some reviewers have mentioned they didn’t like the threads I left dangling for the non-perspective characters, but—good news! Some of those people will, in fact, be perspective characters in books two through however many we end up with here.

Now, what can we except to see in Mourning Dove (by the way love the title)?

Click the image for the book trailer.

Click the image for the book trailer.

Mourning Dove, per its back cover, is an evocative, sweeping symphony of love, revenge, and desperation in cacophonous times. At its core is the struggle to balance how we view the past while still embracing the present and looking toward the future.

More tangibly, readers can expect a sweeping investigation into the goings-on from book one, while other characters will be left grappling with how their lives are forever changed by what they witnessed and experienced on the research compound. Where will they go from here? How will they move forward when the past truly has them in its grips? How do they reclaim what once was while also adjusting to a new, immutable reality? These are the questions with which the primary cast must concern itself over the course of the book.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

Strap in. I’m proud of Imminent Dawn, but perhaps even more excited to see how readers feel about Mourning Dove. My recent decision to split book three into two installments (Event Horizon and Rubicon) has only invigorated me further; it’s letting me see the series in ways I’d never considered before.

Though I know what happens in every book in the series (including the final scene of the last book, Nightshade), I’ve got plenty of wiggle room to address the how. There are so many new, exciting characters that are begging for me to bring them into the fore a bit more, and as I evaluate which ones really merit that kind of treatment, I grow even more enthusiastic about getting Event Horizon ready for publication in late 2019, along with the subsequent episodes in the series.

That is impressive. Good luck and I can’t wait to read what you having in store for us. I want to thank fellow NineStar Author R. R. Campbell for stopping by today. If you want to check out all the books and authors over at NineStar Press click here.
Don’t forget to share this post with friends and family who love Sci Fi books. If you have any questions for R.R. Campbell leave them in the comments section below and I’ll have him pop back over and answer them. Until next time have a great week.


About R. R. Campbell:

r. r. campbell is an author, editor, and the founder of the Writescast Network, a podcast collective for writers, by writers. His published novels include Accounting for It All and Imminent Dawn, which debuted as the number one new release in LGBT science fiction on Amazon. Its sequel, Mourning Dove, is slated for release in April 2019 with NineStar Press.

His work has also been featured in Five:2:One Magazine’s #thesideshow, Erotic Review, and with National Journal Writing Month.

r. r. lives in Stoughton, Wisconsin with his wife, Lacey, and their cats, Hashtag and Rhaegar.

Contact R.R. Campbell:

Websites:

www.rrcampbellwrites.com

www.writescast.net

www.empathyseries.com

www.accountingforitall.com

Twitter and Instagram: @iamrrcampbell

Facebook: facebook.com/iamrrcampbell

Goodreads: goodreads.com/iamrrcampbell

Get your copy of Imminent Dawn here:

Amazon click here.

Barnes & Novel click here.

NineStar Press click here.

Kobo click here.

Smashwords click here.

Preorder Mourning Dove here:

NineStar Press click here.

Book Announcement and Interview for J.S. Strange

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, this week I’m welcoming J.S. Strange to share details about his newest book Murder on Rocks and to share details about himself. I’m so happy to J.S. a great friend of this Blog introduced me to J.S. and even though I haven’t read his book yet, I’ve got a tone of questions and have added the novel to my must read list.


Welcome to my Scribbles Page J.S. I promise this won’t be too painful of a process.

Before we jump the interview proper, why don’t you tell us something about yourself that’s not in your bio?

Well, I’m a massive Britney fan. I’m a self confessed Britney enthusiast. I suppose it’s because I grew up with her music, but also I really admired her for getting through the bad times and coming back better than ever. I could go on all day about how successful she is, how hard she works, and what she means to me, but I know a lot of people would just roll their eyes and think I’m being weird.

It’s not weird at all, we all have people we admire.

You are from Wales and after reading about you and Murder on the Rocks you very much want to spot light your home in this novel, it is something I can relate to as I do the same thing in my books. So, I want to ask you a question I get asked a lot, why Cardiff? Why Wales? What makes these places so interesting that you want to write about them?

I wanted to write a novel that had some realism to it. To do that, I wrote about places I knew about, or had been to. Some parts of the novel feature where I live, or where I work. Others are memories, or from when I’ve passed through the area. Welsh crime fiction needs to be taken seriously. I’ve read before that publishers won’t take it because ‘nobody wants to read Welsh crime fiction’, which I think isn’t true, because they’re out there. Yet compare Welsh fiction to the likes of Scottish fiction, or London fiction, and it barely compares. I wanted a city, and knew the importance of a location featuring as another character in your story, and Cardiff is a place of beauty, creativity, development – and yet it has another side, too. A darker side. I wanted to explore both, and write about both. Cardiff was a natural choice, because it’s up there with crime fiction settings such as Edinburgh. Wales, because I was born there and live there, and I think I wanted to help put it on the map, in whatever way I could!

I totally agree with that. I love books that don’t use the ‘traditional’ locations.

I also find it fantastic that you want to bring LGBT characters to the mystery genre. I especially love the point you bring up about Jordan being gay, “There is no tragic coming out story, and no internal sexuality struggle. His sexuality is not a plot device – it is his character. It is him.” I think it’s important in writing to go beyond the ‘gay’, you’re gay. GREAT! Now what else are you? What’s next? It sounds like this is your thought as well. Am I right? Care to expand on that?

Yes, that’s exactly right. I know sexuality is a big part of people’s lives. Living with the knowledge that you’re gay, and having to come out for the first time is scary. You have to constantly come out every time you meet someone new, or you start somewhere new. It’s not just a one time thing. Being gay, or being part of the LGBTQ community is not without it’s torments and struggles. But there are lots of stories about that, and it isn’t everybody’s experience. Lots of people come out and they live happy lives, even happier because they’re being their true selves. Also, I don’t think it defines who you are. You might be gay, but you offer a lot more. It’s not solely what you’re about or who you are. So Jordan Jenner is that type of man. He’s gay, but so what? He does the same job as straight male detectives, or straight female detectives, or even gay female detectives. He lives the same life, albeit he dates men. The story is simply there to say that gay men exist, that they do the same jobs as everybody else. He’s also there to serve a purpose of being in the crime and mystery genre, and hopefully holding his own with the likes of straight male manly leads, like Strike and Rebus. It’s important for me to write a gay character, to explore that side of him as the series progresses, but never detract from what the series is mainly about: a murder, and Jordan has to solve it.

Nicely said. I couldn’t agree more.

Something else that caught my eye as I read your information is that you wrote this after you hit a wall on your last story, a series you say you may not go back too. Why is that?

I was writing a zombie series. The first novel was my debut, and it didn’t do too badly, but could have done better. The second novel completely flopped. I had it all planned out, but one bad review came through and I was incredibly disappointed, with myself and with the story. I think second book syndrome existed, and I didn’t know how to move past this, even though the idea was there. I was going back and forth trying to write and third, and it wasn’t happening. But I still wanted to write. I read crime and thriller and mystery often, so I wanted to try it myself. I was terrified of that. I’d always told myself I couldn’t write a mystery, that you had to be clever to do so, but I gave it a go. I’m glad I did, because it brought me something new, something exciting.

I’m glad you found working on something new exciting. Bad reviews are never easy, I hope you’ll be able to go to your first series and finish it up.

As a follow up, what is it about Murder on the Rocks that excites you so much?

The possibility of writing this new series excites me. I really like Jordan Jenner as a character. I think he’s a great lead, and there is a lot more to explore with him. He strikes me as quite a complex character. I’m thinking of new ideas, and new stories to tell, and at the moment it all feels fresh and new. I think more people are interested in the series as well, which is exciting, and I think the idea of growing that series will be a great thing to do.

Okay we’ve danced around the topic a little so let’s dig in, tell us about Murder on the Rocks. What can you share without giving too much away?

Murder on the Rocks begins with Jordan Jenner at the crime scene. He has just returned to work following the seemingly natural death of his mother. His first case back involves the murder of a writer in a prestigious writing group. As Jordan investigates, he learns that his mother’s death may be involved with the murder of the writer. A sub-plot in the novel is Jordan’s developing attraction to Lloyd, a colleague (Buy the book here).

Sounds fun. I will be sure to add it to my TBR list.

Now, if you don’t mind, let’s chat a little about you. You mention that you enjoy travel. Where have you been and where are your top five dream locations to visit?

I love travel. I’d actually love to travel more, and depending on what happens with my job next year, I might look at taking a little break and going away to different places for a bit, but that’s easier said than done! I’ve been to America – California, Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Arizona, New York and Flordia, and would love to go back. I’ve been to Turkey too many times, Spain, Paris and Amsterdam. I’m going to Edinburgh soon, and then Ireland. I’d love to go to Venice, Sweden, Austria and other parts of America when I can. Recently I’ve liked the idea of going to somewhere like Bulgaria, or Cyprus.

Sounds like you have quite a few places to go. Several of the locations you mention are places I want to go to as well, especially Ireland and Paris.

Staying on the subject of travel, what are your top five must dos in Wales?

There is plenty to do in Wales. I’d say you have to go and visit St Fagans, a Welsh life museum. It’s like a right of passage for Welsh people, and it’s a good day out. Other places would probably include The Skirrid Inn, the oldest pub in Wales. You should definitely visit places like Cardiff Castle, and other castles that are around the area. Wales has a lot of history. I’ve never done Snowdonia or Pen-Y-Fan, but lots of people see that as a great tradition.

Don’t mind me while I take notes here. I may need to hit you up for travel tips, because, yes Wales in on my list of places to see as is London.

When you’re not writing or traveling what do you like to do?

I work in television, so when I’m not writing or travelling, I’m normally in work, editing for the Welsh news. I edit news items that get broadcast. It can be a stressful and scary job, especially when you’re editing minutes before air. Other than that, I like to relax with a new book, and I love discovering new authors.

At one point, I worked on our agency TV Show and was heavily involved in the editing process. It’s crazy how much more goes into it, so you have my complete respect on that. You’ll have to check out Recommendation section on my website I have a tone of great authors I enjoy, you may even recognize one.

We are to our last question, is there anything else that you would like to share with you us today?

Murder on the Rocks is the first in the Jordan Jenner Mysteries series. I have just finished writing the second, and now I need to edit it and redraft, but I’m hoping to have it published later this year, with Panther Publishing.

Wow! That is great news, I know how people don’t like to wait long for sequels so good luck.

I want to thank J.S. Strange for stopping by today and chatting with us. If you enjoy mystery novels and are looking for one that isn’t your typical run of the mill book check out Murder on the Rocks. Remember to share this post with friends and family who love mystery books. If you have any questions for J.S. Strange leave them below and we’ll have him pop back over and answer them. Until next time have a great week.


About J.S. Strange:

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J.S. Strange is a Welsh author, living and writing in Wales. His new novel, Murder on the Rocks, published with Panther Publishing. When he’s not writing, Strange works for a leading broadcast television channel as an editor. He lives with his two cats, Miley and Dolly.

To buy Murder on the Rocks click here.

Contact J.S. Strange:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JackSamStrange

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JackSamuelStrange

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jsstrange

Website: www.jacksamstrange.com

Why I Write and How the Stories Come to me?

It’s kind of funny, to think about these two questions. Why do I find it funny you may wonder? Because I get asked this by people who’ve known me a long time. Friends I’ve known for years and family members who have been around my whole life. So, I get a chuckle out of the question right before I freeze and can’t come up with an answer.

Today, I figured I would try to answer these questions here in an honest and intelligent manner.

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When I was a kid I didn’t read very much. I’m dyslexic and reading was, and still is, a challenge for me. I hated reading and writing, but I loved telling stories and talking. I could make up crazy stories off the top of my head and people would listen–which was cool. It distracted folks from the dyslexia and helped me not feel like I was stupid or ‘retarded’ like some kids called me. Plus, I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the attention.

As I got older and had to read and write more for school, I forced myself to find books I liked. I needed the practice and to improve my reading speed if I would survive in school. In High School I got lucky, I had amazing teachers who introduced me to literature works, some good and others not so good. They also took the time to help me with my reading and encouraged my writing.

I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for some of my amazing English teachers. To them I say thank you.

During this time, I slowly (very slowly) realized I was attracted to boys. Not girls like all my guy friends. This was in the 70s and 80s when there were no openly gay men or women even when I found Stephen King and Star Trek, I loved the worlds they created, but still no people like me. When I found, Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice it was the first time I saw two men together raising a child. Are they a gay couple? If you believe the subtext they sure are. A messed up gay couple, but there it was in writing for the first time in my life. It was amazing.

Then AIDS hit and I remember hearing how gay equaled AIDS, and AIDS equaled death. What does ‘gay’ stand for? Got AIDS Yet. This ‘joke’ bothered me then and bothers me now. However, what AIDS did, after hundreds of thousands of gay men died, was, for good and for bad, it gave us the tragic gay character. I wanted to change this. I needed to change this. So now, I create strong characters that anyone can relate to, that happen to be gay. My characters needed to be so much more than gay! Gay would not be the focus. Which leads me to the second thing I noticed especially in gay fiction. Almost everything I found and still find is gay romance or gay erotica novels. There is nothing wrong with that, but, for me, I wanted more out of my characters. I needed to create something different that would appeal to everyone.

I wanted to see a gay character attack the Death Star and blow it up, be an Officer on the bridge of the Enterprise who had a partner on ship, be the married couple that have to deal with a paranormal attack on their family, and have to flee in the night with their kids, as coffins blew up out of the ground around them. I wanted to see heroic gay characters save the realm and have the audience cheer for them in the theater. No one would bat an eye at the fact that the person the characters were saving weren’t someone of the opposite sex. I wanted to see real gay people living in all these fantastic worlds. That’s why I write.

How do I get these gay people to live in exciting worlds? Well the ideas for my stories come from all around me. They come from family and friends. I see something that will happen and it will spark an idea, a ‘what if’. Most of the time my ideas start off as the characters talking to me in my dreams. They will come introduce themselves and tell me who they are and what happened to them. When I wake up, I make notes and start from there.

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I know it sounds bizarre to speak about characters talking to you, but for me that’s how it works. It’s not always just the main characters either. I’ll get background characters or secondary characters who will come forward and tell me about themselves. That happens if they’re not happy with how I’m handling them in the story. I remember I had one secondary character furious with me and wouldn’t quiet down until I heard what she had to say. What I ended up discovering about her made me fall in love with her and now she’s one of my favorite characters to write about.

Okay, so that is a bit about why and how storied come to me. As always if you have questions leave them below in the comments section. Don’t forget if you know someone who might enjoy my novels or my writing you can share this post by clicking the ‘share’ button below. Until next time have a great week.

Q&A with Author CJ Bedell

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, this week I’m welcoming Chris Bedell to my Scribbles Page for a Q&A about their upcoming Young Adult LGBTQ thriller I Know Where the Bodies are Buried, which comes out latter this year.

Welcome to my Scribbles Page.

Before we jump into the Q&A why don’t you tell me and my Scribblers something about yourself and your writing that they won’t find in your bio?

One thing that fascinates me about writing is ambiguity. As humans, we like things to be in simple terms. However, that often isn’t the case—sometimes the truth can be somewhere in the middle. And when that theme manifests itself in writing, it is quite interesting.

Let’s talk about your upcoming Young Adult thriller I Know where the Bodies are Buried. When does it hit the stores?

The release date is still set fir 2019. However, I’ll post on my twitter (@ChrisBedell) when I know something more specific.

What can you tell us about the cast of characters? Do you have a favorite character?

The story is about teenagers. Carson, and his friends Chelsea, Freddie, and Amanda attend a New England boarding school. Carson’s “boyfriend,” Billy, allegedly died of suicide but Carson doesn’t believe it. So, Carson dates another student—Dean—who was close to Billy under the guise of trying to prove Billy was murdered. Except Carson doesn’t count on falling for Dean in addition to uncovering unpleasant things about Billy. Finally, the book rotates between the present (NOW) and the past (THEN) with the Billy mystery unraveling in the present and the past providing insight into Billy/Billy’s relationship with Carson.

That sounds intriguing. So, what makes this book different than what is already on the market, what is going to excite readers of young adult books?

My book is a twist on the Gone Girl narrative that inspired a lot of Adult Mysteries/Thrillers. I thought it’d be interesting to bring that to a Young Adult book. Particularly if the villain is male. Although overlooked, men can be as cunning and manipulative as Amy in Gone Gril.

What inspired you to write this story?

I’ve always wanted to write a Young Adult book about hazing, but didn’t just want it to be a “morality play.” Hazing is only a minor component of this book, but the implications from a hazing event reveal something major about one of the characters in I Know where the Bodies are Buried. Also, as I previously mentioned, I love Gone Girl and wanted to write a twisted Young Adult Thriller. Adam Silvera’s History is all you Left Me is also a comp title for the book—it inspired my book’s dual timeline.

We’ve talked a little about your upcoming book, would you like to share anything about your current books?

Sure. Just recently, I signed a contract for a Young Adult Paranormal novel—Deathly Desires—which is coming out September 19th of this year. The pitch for Deathly Desires is Tara Sim’s Timekeeper meets Pretty Little Liars when 17-year-old Cody enters a relationship of convenience with a grim reaper to get over a past unrequited crush. Plus, a I Know What you did Last Summer situation, which guarantees death if not solved. Also, my Young Adult Fantasy novel In the Name of Magic is currently out now and can be bought here:

Buy it on Amazon here.

Buy it from NineStar Press here.

Buy it on Barnes and Noble here.

Buy it on Smashed Words here.

Buy is from Indiebound here.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

That nothing is as it seems in my Young Adult LGBTQ Thriller I Know where the Bodies are Buried, in addition I hope readers enjoy the twists and turns. Furthermore, I Know where the Bodies are Buried has series potential, and I’ll release more information on my Twitter as it becomes available.

Excellent. Thank you for stopping by today.

I want to thank Chris for hanging out and sharing all about their upcoming book as they mentioned it will be released sometime this year, but Chris will announce the actual date on Twitter as soon as more information is learned. So keep your eyes and ears opened for more about this new young adult thriller. In the mean time if you know anyone who loves young adult books share this blog post and help get the word out. Have a great week and we’ll see you next time.

About I Know Where the Bodies are Buried:

History is all you Left Me meets Gone Girl: 17-year-old Carson befriends, and dates a classmate (Dean) to prove his ex-boyfriend's (Billy's) death was murder; not suicide. Except sleuthing unravels Billy's secret depravity and Carson actually falls for Dean. The novel rotates between the present (NOW) and the past (THEN). Here is the more detailed blurb:

NOW: 17-year-old Carson believes his former “boyfriend” Billy didn’t commit suicide by jumping off a cliff, and into the ocean. Billy’s sweater and suicide note might’ve been found, yet a body was never discovered. So, Carson befriends, and “dates” his classmate, Dean, on the possibility that Dean knows something about Billy’s death. Dean and Billy both belonged to the same community service club—where Billy devoted a lot of time to. Clues unravel like: an eyewitness seeing members of Charity Now in the woods near the cliff before Billy’s suicide, a diary entry, proving Billy lied about his father being homophobic, and a hazing incident involving a student’s death—that Billy might or might not have been responsible for. Carson doesn’t only have to grapple with Billy’s duplicity, though. Genuine romantic feelings for Dean emerge. Except Carson will have to finish his sleuthing if he wants closure about Billy’s death. Even if that means finding out facts about Billy that he wished he never knew or choosing between stringing Dean along or being honest.

THEN: Billy makes Carson feel special when he flirts with him at a party in addition to helping Carson deal with a past trauma. However, Billy refuses to go public with their relationship, and Carson must decide whether he can handle a secret relationship or if they should breakup.

About CJ Bedell:

Chris’s previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Entropy Magazine among others. Additionally, his debut Young Adult Fantasy novel In the Name of Magic was published by NineStar Press (a small press) in 2018. Furthermore, his 2019 publishing credits include: his Young Adult Thriller novel I Know where the Bodies are Buried by Magnolia Press, and his Young Adult Paranormal Romance novel Deathly Desires from Deep Desires Press.

Contact CJ Bedell:

Twitter is the best way to get in touch with me.

My Twitter handle is: @ChrisBedell

A Knight in Distress – Interview with Barbara Russell

Welcome to another Author Interview this week. One of the things I wanted to do more of this year is bring you amazing writers you might not know about and today I’m pleased to bring you fellow author Barabara Russell she is a fantastic author and a wonderful friend. Let’s get into it shall we.


Welcome Barbara.

Thank you, Marvin for having me. I’m really excited to have a chat with you.

It’s my pleasure. People can read your full bio at the end of this chat, so why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and your writing? Tell us something not in your bio.

I spend most my time working with a microscope in a lab with air conditioning set too low, haha. Even in summer, it’s freezing. Anyway, I have plenty of time to plot and think about my character while I’m observing ultra magnified soil samples. This speeds up writing. Sort of.

Soil samples speeding up your writing. Really? Okay, sure, so what got you involved in writing? Why did you pick Young Adults as your genre of choice?

I was six when I read a collection of Norwegian fairy tales (I can’t remember how or why it was in my home), but I thought, ‘wow! I want to write story.’ I like YA as genre because I can add funny stuff, more than in adult novels, and I’m a sucker for stories that make me laugh. I prefer funny stories to sad stories.

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And A Knight in Distress has some fantastic fun moments that actually had me laughing out loud, but I won’t give anything away here. Why don’t you tell us about A Knight in Distress.

It’s the story of a young knight in training who’s quested with saving a princess from a bad wizard. Only, he ends up being rescued by the princess.

I love that you mixed things up in this story that you had the Princess be the hero and the Knight needing to be rescued, but you didn’t do it in a cheesy way. You really wove it into the story and it all makes sense. I also, like that they had to work together and you showed what a challenge that was because of the generally believed in norms. All that to ask, how did you manage it all? How did you not get caught in cliché?

Er… ahem, actually, I think there are a lot of clichés in the story, haha. The trick is—at least what I meant to do—to turn them into something funny. Basically, when in doubt, add something funny. That’s my rule.

And it worked and worked well. I thought it was brilliant. Now I’ve got to ask, who is your favorite character? I know there are so many to pick from but do you have one? If so can you share?

Ah, I think it’s Snitch, the bird that can hear and repeat people’s thoughts. It gave me the opportunity to add more funny scenes (see previous answer, lol.)

He was good. I liked him a lot and felt you did a great job using him to lighten some of the books moments. Will there be a sequel to the story or is this going to be a stand alone?

There will be a sequel. I’ve already sent to my publisher. Thanks for asking.

Really! I can’t wait. That is amazing. I’m so happy for you. You’ll have to let me know when it comes out so I can pick up a copy.

Of course.

When you’re not writing and reading what do you enjoy doing?

Walking my dogs, which actually means running along the pavements chasing my neighbour’s cat, or any other cat of the quarter. Oh, cats and possums of course.

That sounds lovely, well not the bring dragged by the dogs, but being out with them and enjoying. What’s coming up next? What other books do you have out that we need to check out?

I have a book coming out at the end of January with Black Rose Writing—Mummy Dearest, A Pharaonic Adventure—a middle grade fantasy set in Auckland. And another novel coming out on February—The Heart Collector, my first adult novel. It’s a romantic suspense with a steampunk setting.

Even though it’s not out yet. I can you all Mummy Dearest, A Pharaonic Adventure is fantastic. I loved it. And the Heart Collector will be added to my list the minute it’s out. I can’t wait.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Yes, since you’re asking. To those people who don’t read books for whatever reason, please, don’t say “I don’t like reading” out loud. Every time you say that, somewhere in the world, a writer gets writer’s block.

So, that’s how it works. I’ve often wondered about that. Thank you for clearing that up for me and thank you for being here.

Thanks for having me!

Of course, you are always welcome to swing by and chat. Well Scribblers that is all for this week. I have you have a great week and we’ll see you next time. If you’d like to read my review of A Knight in Distress you can find it here.


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About A Knight in Distress:

Knights are supposed to rescue damsels. That’s the natural order. So when Nathair, a knight in training, finds himself rescued by the princess he’s supposed to save, he’s annoyed. And when the princess proves she can fight like a knight? Well, that’s enough for a boy to think about a career change.

Buy it on Amazon UK here.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Buy it on Barnes & Noble here.


About Barbara Russell:

I’m an entomologist and a soil biologist, which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs. Nature and books have always been my passion. I was a kid when I read Ivanhoe by Sir W. Scott and fell in love with medieval novels. Then I discovered medieval fantasy, and I fell in love again. In fact, I took it too seriously and believed that my elderly, bearded neighbor was Merlin and his black cat was Morgan le Fey. When I read Harry Potter and learned about Animagi, I knew I was right. Then I grew up and… nah, I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.

Contact Barbara Russell:

Find her on Twitter here.

Find her on Facebook here.

Check out her website here.

See her Amazon Author Page here.

A New World-Contact has Arrived

Happy 2019. I hope you are all having a wonderful new year. Can you believe we are already almost to the end of January? Wow!

This week A New World-Contact has arrived, and it’s already gotten some amazing reviews. Check them out here on Goodreads and here on Amazon. It’s incredible and I couldn’t be more thrilled. As I mentioned last week, I have a lot of virtual and personal engagements planned for the next several months. You can click here for all the details I shared last week.

I wanted to share what is coming up next. Well, A New World-Conviction will be released on March 11, 2019 so you won’t have to wait long for the next book. Find our more about it here. Also, coming out on June 24, 2019 I have my urban fantasy T.A.D.-The Angel of Death. Learn more about TAD here. It will be a busy few months, but I’m excited and it is my hope you will enjoy what I have in store.

I haven’t forgotten about The Calling-Book Two, which has the working title of The Called. I’m getting the first draft finished and as promised this will be the last book of the series, but you never know what other stories will come out of this universe.

Also, regarding my A New World series book three Conspiracy is finished and working through Beta reads right now.

Those are all the current updates I have right now. Next week I’m honored to bring to my Scribble Page author Barbara Russell (find out more about Barbara here), she will talk to us about her current and upcoming books which I can assure you are great reads.

If you have questions please share them in the comments section below. If you want to help me out, please share my website with your friends and family especially if you know anyone who loves Paranormal writing or Sci Fi books remember to recommend me. The other way you can help me out is to leave a review of my books. Reviews really make a difference. Check out Amazon reviews here.

Until next time have a great week.

Countdown to Contact

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. Can you believe that there are only five days until my aliens (the Nentraee) land in their debut novel A New World-Contact. Do you want to learn about their clans? What about getting a handle on their language? Click here for the nentraee clan info and here for the nentraee language info. I have been working on this novel and this series for more years then I care to admit. The idea for A New World-Contact started as a family drama back when I was twenty-five and has morphed into what will be release on January 21, 2019. It should be epic.

As part of my launch festivities over the next several weeks I will be doing various blog tours, interviews, and appearances. Here is a schedule of what has been confirmed as of this posting:

On Saturday January 26, 2019 I will take over QueerRomance Ink’s Facebook page (find it here) come hang out from 10am – noon (PST). So, if you’re around please check in, say hello, and stay for a while. I’ll answer questions about the novel, the series, and the characters. I’m looking forward to chatting with folks and, of course, there will be giveaways to be won.

Beginning Monday January 28, 2019 and ending on Friday February 1, 2019 I will stop by a new Blog each day and share info about A New World-Contact and the characters that live in that universe. Here is the schedule and where to find blogs and me:

January 21, 2019 – MM Good Book Reviews find them here.

January 29, 2019 – Love Bytes Reviews find them here.

January 30, 2019 – The Blogger Girls find them here.

January 31, 2019 – Queer Sci Fi find them here.

February 1, 2019 – Bayou Book Junkie find them here.

Early February I will, again, be a guest on OutLook Video. I’m thrilled to have been invited back and I’m looking forward to sharing more about A New World-Contact with them and you. Find OutLook Video here and the backlog of episodes here on CreaTV.

On February 8, 2019 I will be over with Vance and Baz on the WROTE Podcast. Those guys are amazing and you never know what we’ll be talking about, so don’t miss it. Here is where you can find WROTE Podcast.

February 21, 2019 will be the official launch party for A New World-Contact. As with last years launch of The Calling this event will be held in downtown San Jose at the Axis Building, Lobby Lounge (38 N. Almaden Blvd., San Jose CA) from 6pm – 9pm. If you will be in the area drop by, it should be a lot of fun. I will have books for sale and I’ll be signing them of course. Who knows maybe there will be a few special announcements. For more information on the launch party please check out my Facebook Page here.

You can still preorder A New World-Contact from my publisher NineStar Press here and you will get it three days early (January 18, 2019).

Well Scribblers there is a lot happening over the next month and beyond. Until next time have a great week. If you have questions or would like more info about any of the events I have planned please let me know in the comments below.

Happy New Year 2019

Happy New Year Scribblers, I want to wish each of you a wonderful and joyful new year.

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As a reminder coming out on January 21, 2019 my Sci Fi novel A New World-Contact will be released by NineStar Press (want to see what other great books are offered by NineStar Press check them out here). To learn more about my new Sci Fi series click here. To learn more about Contact (Book 1) click here.

Also, as part of my cover art reveal you still have time to sign up for the drawing to win a NineStar Press Gift Card, click here.

Here’s to a great new year for us all.

Interview with Fellow NineStar Author Riina Y.T.

This week I’m thrilled to have fellow NineStar Author Riina Y.T. here on my Scribbles Page to have a sit down about her new novella Paradise Lodge.

Before we jump into that, I want to remind you all that I’m participating in an event on Facebook called 12 Days of Christmas Book Buying Event. It’s a great way for you to learn about new authors and new books. It’s like having a Personal Book Shopper. You go onto the event page. Post what kind of books you like and how much you want to pay and authors pitch you their books. It’s easy and there is no pressure to buy anything. It’s a great way to find new books you may have never heard of or found otherwise. So check it out here.


Before we jump into learning more about your new novella, tell us a little about yourself, something not in the bio:

If this would be a real life interview, you would have gotten to meet Yuuko, my seven-year-old toy poodle. We’re together 24/7.

Ah, I love dogs. I miss having them in my life.

She’s the best part of my life. I’m a management assistant for an electronic engineering company. Snacks are only real snacks if they’re sweet. I’m not a fan of pasta but I wish I could have authentic Ramen (karai yasai!) with Gyouza or Kitsune Udon every day!

I see you live in Germany. I had the pleasure of living there as an Exchange Student and I’ve gotten to return on business. How did you end up living there?

Student exchanges are such a fantastic way to get to know a different country and grow as a person! I was actually born and raised in Germany. When I turned twenty-one I spent one year in the US, one in London, England and then nearly two years in Tokyo, Japan. I’m back home in Germany with my family now.

I have to ask, how, and to whom, did you lose your heart in Tokyo? (It so happens to be one of my favorite cities as well so I’m curious).

Isn’t Tokyo just breathtaking?

It really is and the people are amazing. I can’t wait to go back.

I’ve been fascinated by Japan since I did a presentation about it in high school. I’ve been listening to J-pop/rock and V-kei since my teenage years as well. In 2010 I moved to Tokyo for nearly two years and they were the most incredible months of my life! There is a guy, too, of course there is, ha! He’s unreachable and I could only admire from afar but deep down I know there’ll never be anyone like him for me. That’s the dreamer in me talking, but hey, it’s been ten years since my first trip to Tokyo and I’ve yet to meet someone more amazing.

That is so cool. Now moving on, what got you into the writing world?

Back in 2009 my closest internet friend and I started writing (MM) fan fiction. Over the course of three years we've collected nearly three hundred drabbles and short stories as well as a few novellas, most of them starring our favorite Japanese pop band. When I discovered the fantastic MM romance community, and all the original fiction focusing on LGBTQ+, I was in awe. It was like finding a piece of your life you didn’t know was missing. I took a break from writing but eventually went back to it, only this time I'm creating my own characters.

That is amazing. I also see you offer book reviews as well, so I have to ask, which do you find easier; writing or reviewing?

Writing, because I can do whatever I want with my guys. I like the freedom it gives me. Reviewing feels a lot like schoolwork. There is a lot of pressure behind it for me.

I agree writing is a lot more fun. I don’t mind doing reviews, but it’s difficult.

Jumping over to your new novella Paradise Lodge where did the idea come from? What excited you about writing this story?

Ky has been on my mind for a couple years now, I've wanted to give him a story for so long. I listen to a lot of British pop, especially boy bands. It puts me in a good mood. When I was brainstorming possible scenarios for a New Years Eve gone wrong, I wondered what would happen if the party Ky and his bandmates had planned didn't go as expected. It felt like the right time to spend some time with him!

I was excited to write both, Ky and Azariah. I have a soft spot for musicians and exploring the possibilities when bandmates develop feelings for each other, which is pretty much what got me into writing all those years ago. Knowing their story would be something sweet, a feel-good romance, I had a lot of fun with it from the start.

That is great. Okay, so what can you tell us about Azariah and Ky?

We learn Ky’s zodiac sign is Leo, which I also happen to be, so I feel like there is a special bond between us. I have some experience with Scorpios (Azariah’s zodiac sign, which we actually don’t learn in the book!) and it made the way they interacted with each other come more naturally.

Azariah is usually quite serious and shy, patient, honest, hard-working, orderly. His judgment is good and he evaluates and weighs things up endlessly, often to the point of indecisiveness. But he also lacks forethought, acts impulsively and sometimes imprudently, which can cause problems. Like so many Scorpios I know…

Hey now, be careful. I’m a Scorpio.

(Chuckles) He’s a bit of a mystery, you never know what they’re thinking! He can be a little unpredictable but has his heart in the right place.

Okay, I can go with that.

I hope people will forgive him his moments of stupidness.

Oh I’m sure they will. They sound like amazing characters. So the story should be a lot of fun to read. What else do you have planned? What’s up next for you?

Having so many characters on my mind makes it difficult for me to decide whose story is the most 'interesting', so I'm working on a handful of projects at the same time. I have a couple of Young Adult ideas and another sweet, friends/lovers reuniting story I'm working on. Then there is one college themed and another with paranormal touches. I also want to tackle something that will ask for a lot of research! Perhaps one day I'll write that 'vampire assassin' story I can't get out of my head.

Oh, vampires. Love that. I say go for it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’m grateful I was able to bring some of my characters to life and share it with people. I want to thank everyone who decided to give my boys a chance – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Nicely said.

Well, Scribblers that it for this week. Can you believe we are already approaching the holidays? Crazy right. I want to thank Riina for being here today. Don’t forget to check out the 12 Days of Christmas Book Buying Event over on Facebook (click here). Remember to like and share by clicking on the links below. If you have a question for Riina leave them in the comments and I’ll make sure she swings back by to answer them. Until next week have a great week.


Book Info:

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Azariah Bell is a nervous wreck. He isn’t prepared to spend the final week of the year with his best friend, Ky O’Sullivan, lead vocalist for their pop rock band, Moving Insignia—especially after the fight he caused before they parted ways two weeks ago.

Afraid of not being taken seriously by Ky, Azariah was concerned about what confessing his feelings would do to their friendship, or the band. He tried to keep his emotions in check, but instead, he exploded in anger over some petty issue, and now he’s potentially lost Ky forever.

Ky is looking forward to the band’s annual writing retreat for a week of songwriting and recording at a secluded mountain resort. Spending Christmas with his family gave Ky time to reflect on how he’d handled Azariah’s epic meltdown. It wasn’t good, and Ky is determined to uncover the true nature of Azariah’s unusual behavior. They didn’t keep secrets from each other, or so he believed.

Expecting to see the rest of the band when they arrive by helicopter, Ky and Azariah are shocked to learn they are alone at a deserted lodge. When they discover they’ve been set up by their bandmates so they can “sort it out,” their choices are few. But it’s critical for them to resolve their problems if they have any hope of enjoying the new year together, let alone make that new album happen.

Buy Links:

Find it on Amazon here

Find it on Kobo here

Find it on Smashword here


Author Info:

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Author of Spring, Bax & Butterflies, Missing Piece & Blame the Fireworks.

Riina currently resides in Germany. She spent countless exciting days in the UK and US and lost her heart in Tokyo.

She would be thrilled if one day her stories could brighten someone’s day in the way those beautiful romances always lighten up her dull everyday life. Riina is looking forward to sharing many more stories with the world.

When she doesn’t daydream about boys in love, and isn’t glued to her Kindle, Riina loves to travel the world and explore the unknown.

Contact:

Check out here web page here

Find her on NineStar Press here

Find her on Facebook here

Find here on Twitter here

Find her on Instagram here

Find her on Goodreads here

Word Police and Word Censorship

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Happy Wednesday Scribblers. If you are here in the U.S. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you’re checking in from elsewhere around the world I hope you had a great week. Now we march on to Christmas and to the New Years, I thought I would talk about something I have mixed feelings about. Word Police and Word Censorship.

As a writer, words are important and words have power. With a few strokes of the keyboard excellent writers can make you laugh, they can make you cry, and they can even make you angry. With that kind of power, authors have a responsibility. For me, I appreciate when my Editor or my Beta Readers question my word choice. When they highlight something and say, “You may want to change this.” or “Wow! That is harsh, are you sure you want to say that?” When they do this, I stop and check what I’ve written to see if it fits with the character or with the emotion I’m trying to invoke. Sometimes I change it and sometimes I don’t.

How we say and use words is just as important. As a Human Being, I never want to intentionally hurt someone with something I’ve said and if do. I expect the person to politely correct me if I miss speak. It is a moment of learning and a moment of decency we can share and grow from. Where I take issues, and I don’t believe I’m the only one, is when people try to censor words. Or, censor someone from expressing themselves because you don’t agree with the words they are using. Not everyone has the same vocabulary. Not everyone has the same upbringing. Not everyone has the words to express themselves professionally or politely. To come after these people because you don’t like their word choice is wrong.

Words, in general, only have the power we allow them to have. If you get offended by the use of a word, you give that word, and by extension, that individual power over you. Why? Why are you doing this? Why are you letting someone hurt you because of a word they use. Yes, words hurts. I understand that. I’ve been on the receiving end of some very hateful words, did it make me happy to hear those words? Of course not. But, I didn’t allow that moment, those few seconds, to ruin my day or my life. Again, I understand that words can hurt people and we need to think before we speak.

Where I want to make the distension here is when people take offence to the use of a particular word.

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Recently, I was in a meeting where the word ‘picnic’ was discussed. There was a conversation about how we can’t use that word because of where it came from, the argument was that ‘picnic’ came from when people would gather for a lynching by caught slaves. After a quick search online this was debunked (here is the link). However, by now the damage was done and people were upset. It’s a word, and the reference was false, yet word has been censored and we are no longer able to use the word ‘picnic’. Why? It’s just a word. But because someone might be offended the word is now censored.

Why do this? Why add to the hate? Why make things worse then they already are?

Another example of world policing is the phrase ‘illegal alien’ or ‘illegal immigrant’ these words have been removed from several media sites and in ‘polite’ conversation because of its negative connotation. The new word of choice is ‘migrant’. I understand why we are doing this. I’ve heard the arguments ‘people can’t be illegal.’ In theory I agree. People cannot be illegal, however, their actions can be. Again, why does this matter? Why are we censoring words and phrases for these generic terms that have no meaning?

Let’s keep throwing gasoline on an already touchy subject, by attacking people for using the wrong words when trying to discuss the issue. Makes sense to me. Not!

Now we have this push for pronoun use. If you don’t call an individual by the right pronoun you are disrespecting them and treating them as less than. I understand if you want to be referred to in a certain way that is your right and people should respect that. I respect you for having the courage to be yourself. You are braver than a great many people. Where I have take issue is these people will scream and yell at people for not using their chosen pronoun. This is especially upsetting when it happens to the older generation, who may not fully understand what the issue is. It’s not that these people are monsters or trying to disrespect you, it’s that they don’t have your point of reference or understand your point of view.

There are other examples I can point to as well, but I’m sure I’ve already upset people for my lack of sensitivity. Which isn’t my intent. The comedian Patton Peter Oswalt has an amazing standup bit about this subject on one of his Netflix Specials (I can’t remember which one, they are all really good). What he boils it down to is; It’s not the people who don’t speak politically correct we have to worry about, it’s the ones who know all the correct, polite terms who we should fear.

I agree with him.

Next time you get offended about a word, phrase or pronoun someone is using as yourself a couple questions: Are they trying to hurt me? Will this ruin my day? Is this a moment to educate them? Do I want to give this word or phrase that much power over me?

Well Scribblers, if you’re still reading this, haven’t yet unsubscribed to my mailing list, or gone on to give all my books 1-star reviews I thank you for hanging with me today. Allowing me to share my thoughts with you. I appreciate it. I would love to hear what you have to say on the matter. Do you agree with me? Am I completely off base and out of touch? Am I an insensitive prick who should be burned at the stake? Let me know in the comments below. Until next week have a great week. Remember, you can share and like this by clicking on the ‘share’ and ‘like’ button. It really does make a difference.

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

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I want to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you have a great day and enjoy the time with your families of choosing.

In addition, if you haven’t seen this Friday I will participate in The Guardian Angel Project, which is a benefit for Paul Berry and his fight against cancer. Paul is a Blogger and Reviewer and a well-loved man in the writing community. The Event is to be hosted on the Rainbow Gold Reviews Facebook Group Page and will continue throughout the weekend. Click here for the link. There are some amazing prizes, so I hope you have time to check it out.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

The Week Before Thanksgiving

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It’s the week before Thanksgiving (for us here in the US) which at its end marks the start of the Christmas Season (which actually started back in October) and… ugh. I’m not feeling it this year. If I’m honest I don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to be bothered with Thanksgiving and I definitely don’t want to bother with Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the year I’ve had. I have so much to be thankful for and I don’t want to every sound ungrateful. Regardless, I’m not feeling any of it.

Could it be all the political crap still going on? How crappy people are treating each other, both on-line and in public? Possibly. There seems to be so much crap (this post is also a drinking game to see how many times I say the word ‘crap’) going on and despite all the encouraging things happening there is, sadly, so much negativity to go along with it. Why? This can’t be only me feeling this way? Can it?

Now, I realize that I’ll get out of my pre-holiday funk and things will turn around. In that vein, I want to share all the positive things that have happened for me this year:

  • I released my debut novel, The Calling.

  • I’ve received positive reviews for The Calling.

  • The Calling is in the top 150 Best Vampire Books by a new Author.

  • The Calling is in the top 100 Best Gay Vampire Books.

  • I’ve made great Author Friends this year.

  • I’ve gotten to know some wonderful fans who have been supportive of my writing.

  • My two short stories The Reunion and A Dragon for Christmas have done well and people seem to enjoy them.

  • After fourteen years, I finally got a new car. Yay!

  • The agency TV I worked on, Change Lives for Good, was a finalist for the CreaTV Awards.

  • Eric and I had a wonderful cruise to Mexico.

  • A New World – Contact was picked up by my publisher.

  • T.A.D. – The Angel of Death was picked up by my publisher.

  • We spent some amazing time with Family and Friends this year.

  • Eric and I had a fantastic week in Hawaii for my birthday.

  • We got our Bathroom remodeled.

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There has been a lot for me to be thankful for, even putting this list together has improved my mood, which is another thing I’m grateful for. I think, like many of us, this crap happening around me has bogged me down which has taken my focus off all the wonderful things that have happened and continue to happen all around me.

Maybe, that is something we all need to do. Keep a list of all the positive things that have happened to us and continue to happen to us and not let the crap steal the spotlight and take away our sunshine.

Thank you for allowing me a moment to whine and focus my thoughts. Reminding me that, yes, there is a lot a crap in the world, but overall things are good and life has provided me and my husband some wonderful moments. If you want to share some positive events your year has shown you I would love to read them. You can do it in the comments section below. The more we can focus on the good the better off I think we all will be. Remember, you can like and share this blog (or any of my blog posts below).

Until next time, have a great week Scribblers (oh, and, if you were counting I said ‘crap’ eight times).

Interview with Leslie E. Owen Agent, LLC

In my continuing effort to shed light on the mysterious world of Publishing I couldn’t be more pleased to share my recent interview with Literary Agent, Editor and Author Leslie E. Owen. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Leslie over the last year plus and I’ve finally gotten her on my Scribble Page for a sit down.


Thank you so much for talking the time to stop by.

If you don’t mind please give my Scribblers an introduction of yourself. Something not found in your bio.

What’s not in my bio? My first publishing job was as an editorial assistant/receptionist in Foreign Language Textbooks for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in New York. I got this job because I could type 80 words-per-minute and could type in foreign languages, having been fluent in German and Italian, and familiar with French and Spanish. I was an arrogant little twit, but the editors felt sorry for me, and educated me about living in New York and publishing, so that at least I wasn’t an uneducated arrogant little twit. I went on to work as director of foreign rights for Henry Morrison, international publishing rep with Lynn C. Franklin, children’s book agent for Goodman Associates and Carolyn M. Swayze, and acquisitions editor for Tradewind Books. Along the way I wrote articles for Publishers Weekly and reviewed for them, wrote for The Horn Book, the SCBWI Newsletter, and several newspapers, and was a film scout for Nevelco and a freelance reader for Four Winds Press. So you could say I’ve done a little bit of everything.

Holy Cow! That’s very impressive. You made me chuckle with the ‘arrogant little twit’, I’m sure we’ve all been there… when we were younger, of course. What got you interested in the publishing Industry?

I’ve been a writer all my life. When I got out of university, my mother told me I could live at home for three months but I needed to get a job. I was accepted into the MFA program at Brown, but I didn’t have the money to go to grad school. Publishing seemed like a good choice. I got the job at HBJ, found a dump in Brooklyn, and that was that. My second job – with a considerable raise – was for the major literary agent, Henry Morrison. Henry was a giant of a man and a giant of the industry. I sat on his blue sofa in the parlor of his Stanford White home in the West Village. He asked me who my favorite authors were. I told him James Hanley and Christina Stead, neither of whom he had ever heard of – he represented Robert Ludllum and David Morrell (both of whom would have known Hanley and Stead), amongst others. Henry taught me everything I know. If I know anything at all about books, it’s because Henry and our clients – some of the best writers of the 20th century – taught me.

Wow! So, with working for Henry Morrison and learning from the greats is that part of the reason you became an agent so you could help find new greats?

I think I have, in science fiction & fantasy, anyway. But, not really. I just like working in publishing.

With all your experience and knowledge, can you give us your take on the publishing industry as you’ve been around it since childhood and since, I believe, your Grandmother was involved in the industry as well. What has changed for good or ill? Where do you see it going?

When my grandmother (Helen Hammett Owen) was involved in children’s publishing, it was a gentleman’s business, led by strong women (Anne C Moore, Ursula Nordstrom). When I was involved in the 80s and 90s in traditional publishing, the writing (literally) was on the wall, in terms of American publishing’s survival. There was the great boom of bestselling fiction, especially in thrillers; sci-fy & fiction was booming in mass market and trade paperbacks; romance was branching out beyond the mass-market paperbacks of Harlequin. Children’s books was suddenly becoming big money – advances for children’s writers were improving. You could still make a living writing “mid-list” books. You could make a living writing paperback books. But Henry, and his great friend, the CEO of Bantam Books, Oscar Dystel, saw that the future of American publishing was grim: the weird practice of returns was going to destroy both independent bookstores and publishing. Henry and Oscar came up with a model that could have saved American publishing, but only two of the major NY publishers at that time were willing to listen, both of them known for their eccentricities, Donald I. Fine and George deKay. Their idea went nowhere, and Bertelsmann made their first major purchase of American publishing, followed by Penguin and Hachette and all the rest. When I started out, there were over 25 hardcover American publishing houses and at least 10 mass market publishers; now there are 5 in toto. Did Henry and Oscar foresee the collapse of publishing and the start of Amazon? I like to think they did.

I’m not a fan of Amazon – sorry, M.D. – nor am I a fan of the world that Amazon has created. Amazon has been the cause of two major movements that have devalued the monetary worth of the published writer: they (and their pals at NaNoWrimo) have sold this idea that anyone can write, and they’ve also sold this idea that writing is worth as little as 99 cents. I can remember when I could sell a short story – me, essentially a nobody – for $500. Now you pay magazines to publish you. American writers make less money per year now, when you factor in the worth of the dollar, than they did in the middle of the Great Depression.

No apologies needed. I’m not a huge fan of Amazon either and I agree that authors are greatly undervalued. Authors are selling themselves short when they list their books for 99 cents or even worse free (unless it’s for promotion or a giveway). I honestly don’t know how anyone, short of the Biggies, can make a living. It’s rather depressing.

What’s the future hold? We’re back in the 17th century. Rich oligarchs rule the world and the writer/artist/musician must have a wealthy patron in order to live. (It’s even called Patreon.)

I’m a fan of Robespierre, I’m afraid. Burn it all down, I say. Bring on Madame Defarge.

I hope we don’t have to go that far before things swing the other way, but you never know and none of us have a crystal balls.

Okay, so let’s move on a bit. As an agent, what do you look for when you pick up an author? Why is it important for authors to have an agent and what can authors expect agents to do for them? Basically, how does being an agent work? Oh, and, are you taking on any new clients?

Great writing, an original voice, and a marketable product. It really depends on the genre you’re in. If you want to write adult books in traditional publishing, you really need an agent if you want to go with the Big Five. (Yes, I know you can self-publish and you can indie publish without an agent. That’s not what M.D. asked me.) An agent: can offer beta readers, sensitivity readers, and editing services; an agent will market your work; an agent will schmooze on your behalf so you don’t have to (writers generally suck at schmoozing); an agent will go over the contract with a fine-toothed comb and take out all of the awfulness, like giving you a draconian non-compete clause; an agent will see your project through to publication and then all the publicity and marketing afterwards; an agent will sell your subsidiary rights with a better percentage than a publisher would ever give you; an agent can sue them when they refuse to send you your royalty statements.

Agents are the middlepeople between authors and publishers. They have good relationships with both their authors and editors. They have good relationships with foreign agents, salespeople, marketing people, and the film industry. A good agent is fantastic. No, I am a very small, boutique agency, and am still stuck in a day job. I have five clients. That’s all I can handle right now.

Not only are you an agent but you are also a writer and an editor? I’ve had the opportunity to read one of the books you’ve edited and it was amazing. I’ve also had the chance to read some of your work, also brilliant. Given that you do all three where does your heart lie? What is your passion?

When I started at HBJ, it was mandatory that all new hires complete professional training. I took in-house courses in editing, proofreading, copyediting, and developmental editing. This was standard. Now new hires go to university to learn this stuff, from the programs at NYU, for example. Henry was an old-fashioned agent. He did not have an agency contract. He worked by handshake. He also edited his clients’ manuscripts – and when he discovered I could edit, that went to me. I didn’t edit Bob Ludlum, but I did many of the newer clients. I enjoy editing, of helping the author’s voice unfurl. So many new writers, especially those self-publishing, have bizarre ideas about editors. But there are also a number of people who claim to be editors who simply do not have the professional experience to claim so – just because you’re an English major, it doesn’t mean that you can edit.

As for writing, I’ve been writing all my life. My mother claims I was dictating to her before I could hold a pencil. I can remember writing with a pen (scandalous!) in kindergarten and first grade. I think my first story was about a wild horse and I guess I was about six. My first play was about a ghost and a librarian, and it was performed by my 4th grade class. My grandmother, Helen Hammett Owen, was my first editor. I always ran whatever I was working on by her. She didn’t mince words, ever, whether I was eight or twenty-eight.

Where is my passion? Writing, I guess. It’s like asking you to choose which triplet you like best. I am all three. (And thanks for the compliments on my writing. It means a lot to me that you’ve liked my work.)

Of course. It was a lot of fun to read, and some heavy stuff, so I found it completely enjoyable.

Moving on, can you share with us some of your various projects? Not just the blurb but what inspired you to take it on? Did you feel it was a story that needed to be told? Was it a different voice you wanted to highlight?

I’m working on a literary novel, The Mortal Part, which I have nearly finished. Like my first novel, the psych thriller A Million Sherds, the story was percolating in my head for some time. I read about the hidden ten-year love affair between Danny Kaye (one of my all-time favorite performers and someone I was lucky enough to meet) and Laurence Olivier, and that idea – hidden relationships – planted a seed. Then my son introduced me to symphonic metal (do NOT laugh!) with the music of Tarja, the Finnish singer from Nightwish. On her first solo album she does a cover of a Christmas song which she dedicated to her late mother: You Would Have Loved This. It’s about the first Christmas after you’ve lost someone you adored – and out of that soup came this character, Sir Hugh Ross, actor of stage and film, fully-formed. I wrote the prologue and first three chapters before I even knew what I was doing, even as I was still in the middle of writing A Million Sherds.

In the middle of this story germinating, I came out, after being in the closet my entire life. First I came out as bisexual (which I am), but ultimately declared myself as genderqueer, demisexual. I think, if I were a teenager today, I would probably be trans. (If you’ve read my story Set in Place, that is very much autobiographical.)

Much of the work I’ve done since starting The Mortal Part has been the examination of queer and hidden spaces.

So. The Mortal Part looks at the loss of a spouse through the eyes of an elderly (72) bi actor, Sir Hugh Ross. Many novels have been written about what life and grief looks like for the surviving widow or widower, but The Mortal Part looks at grief through queer eyes.

I remember you letting me read a bit of it a while ago, and it’s beautiful, well what I read of it. I know it’s going to be a heavy book, but I look forward to reading the whole thing when it comes out. Do you have an ETA? Where are you in the writing process of The Mortal Part? Or can you say?

I’m about 25,000 words to the end. No, no ETA. Agent has to go over it first.

Clearly you’ve done quite a bit in the publishing world, so what is some advice you can give authors who want to get their books published? Who are looking for an agent? Who need an Editor?

If you want to get your novel traditionally published, there are multiple ways to get an agent and/or a publisher. Firstly, know your market and your audience. If you are writing genre fiction, read who’s writing in your genre. Not to copy them, but to see what works and what doesn’t, and who is publishing what you’re writing. If you’re writing literary fiction, it’s a good idea to check out university and independent publishers, market some short fiction, and look at where you might win some prizes. Lit fiction is all about prize competitions. (Be careful not to post your WIP on your website. That could be considered your 1st serial rights to a traditional publisher.) Build your platform. Website, blogging, Instagram, Twitter, whatever you enjoy. Don’t do something you don’t enjoy, it shows. Go to writer’s conferences, even local ones. Join a local writer’s group. Find your writing partners and beta readers. Get a list of good, reputable, professional editors. Pitching on Twitter can be a great way to land an agent, so practice writing your loglines. And get someone to look – many times – at your query letter. Please remember that a query letter is a business letter. It should be concise, professional, and free of gimmicks. Do NOT address a female agent by her first name. EVER. (Even if she’s your neighbor.) Don’t get discouraged. It’s hard. Even if you get an agent, it’s still hard. Even if you have a publisher, it’s still hard. It’s never not hard. As Richard Widmark said in Cheyenne Autum: “Endeavor to persevere.”

That is some great advice. You know, I want to ask, what do you have to say to Readers? We all read and given how the industry has changed over the years, what is something you want to ask or say to readers?

To Readers? I dunno, keep reading? I enjoy talking to my readers and I enjoy being a reader. Every now and then I read about readers doing really cruddy things at behest of authors, especially in gaming Kindle and Amazon, and I don’t understand that at all. I mean, I’m totally geeked out that Elly Griffiths follows me on Twitter – hell, I was totally geeked out just sitting next to Robert Barnard on the podium of a panel in NYC. I’ve had conversations with some of my favorite writers, as a reader, not a professional.

But I have to say I don’t get the “I don’t make any money and I can’t afford to buy a book over $5.99.” There’s something called the Library – and writers benefit from it. My local library did a huge gig for me when Pacific Tree Frogs was published – including a hands-on frog event! – so I don’t understand why readers with genuine money concerns don’t use the Library. I buy books when I can – and I still work as teaching as the day job. I will download to read ASAP – the new Louise Penny, for example – but I also buy hardcover books and ask for them as gifts. I recently bought N.K. Jemison’s boxed set of her Hugo Award-winning trilogy. My kids gave me the collected works of Ursula K. LeGuin for Chanukah. I buy Star Trek books. I recently discovered some cool middle grade writers. I always buy Jane Yolen’s latest.

Hell, I even have a signed and framed poster of A Walk Among Tombstones from my friend Larry Block.

I agree. Book are not expensive and there is nothing wrong with Libraries or, as you said, asking for books as a gift. I did the same with some books I wanted.

Stepping away from publishing let’s talk about another passion of yours, and mine, Star Trek. I know you’ve been on Trek panels, been to various conventions, and you know a slew of people inside the Trek Universe. I have to know, who is your favorite person to have met in regards of Trek? What is it like to be part of that world? Do you feel it gives you a greater appreciation for Trek or does it leave you with more questions than answers?

Leslie Star Trek.jpg

My favorite person to have met, or my favorite person I’m friends with? My favorite person I’ve met would have to be Bill Shatner. I first met Bill when I was 12. Growing up in Connecticut, halfway between New York and Boston, meant you had great school trips. In 6th grade, we went to Stratford to see Julius Caesar, with Shatner as Caesar. That was my first live performance of Shakespeare. After the play (which was wonderful), Shatner and the cast came out to talk to us. He was courteous, funny, and treated us as if we mattered. I have been a lover of Shakespeare ever since – I perform in a Shakespeare troupe called First City Shakespeare. The 2nd time I met Bill was at the Chicago 50th anniversary convention. I got his autograph, and thanked him for that long-ago Shakespeare performance. His eyes lit up and he got a huge smile on his face. “You were there? You saw that? That’s fantastic!” and we spent 6 minutes talking Shakespeare. The other people in line hated me but I DID NOT CARE.

I am friends with the Klingons, the Ferengi, and the Andorians. I guess my two favorite Trek actors I know are John (JG) Hertzler and Bob (Robert) O’Reilly. In fact, Bob is now a client. The thing is, if you can talk film, and acting, and Shakespeare, you will find you have so much in common with the wonderful actors who played character roles on Trek. They are all incredible people – from John de Lancie, to Jeffrey Coombs, and Gary Graham, and Armin Shimmerman; René, Max, John, Bob.

I love being a small part of the Trek world. I love that I can talk to many of the production people – Mike Okuda, Doug Drexler, Gabe Koerner, Tobias Richter. I love that I am friends with Rob Burnett and Larry Nemecek and David Gerrold. And I will always be grateful for my friendship with the late Emmy award-winning screenwriter of TAS, Russell Bates. I miss him so much.

Wow! I’m only a little jealous… seriously, that is amazing. I’m not sure I would even be able to get out two words if I were to meet any of these people.

From: Star Trek: The Original Series

From: Star Trek: The Original Series

Now how about something fun. If you could write a series arch (say either 13 or 26 episodes) for any trek series current, future, or past what would it be? Would you use a current property like the Original Star Trek or Star Trek: The Next Generation or would you create your own universe for it?

I have a treatment and a pilot episode of a 13-episode series centered on the Enterprise B and the Treaty of Algeron. While this was dealt with in one novel, it’s never been dealt with in canon. I would love to have this series be part of All Access.

My inner nerd just got all giddy. That would be cool. Way cool.

Personally, I think it would be great to film A Million Sherds or Cochrane Day.

After reading A Million Sherds that would be amazing, and completely different from anything that anyone has ever seen in a Trek series. I’m sure there is a way to do it and keep the integrity of the story but it’s beyond me. Still, it would be incredible to see.

Johnny Frakes would be great as Kyle Riker.

I can see that.

I’m curious at what your opinion is on all the new Trek coming out and the announcement that Sir Patrick Stewart will be returning as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. What do you think? What are your hopes for the show?

I hate all NuTrek. I despise the work of Alex Kurtzman and Akiva Goldsman. I can only hope that the new board fires him. Discovery, so far, has been awful. And the new Patrick Stewart series is firmly set in the Disco/NuTrek world. It is NOT in the original universe and has nothing to do with TNG or the Capt Picard that we knew and loved.

Ugh. I was hoping for a ray of light. Cause I loved Captain Picard. Bummer.

Is there anything else that you would like to share or let people know about?

Stop listening to silly internet rules about language and writing. Tell your story the way it needs to be told. Be true to your voice. (And stop fridging characters.)

Nicely said. Well that’s it. We’re at the end. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and swinging by for a chat, Leslie. I know how busy you’ve been, so I really appreciate it.


About Leslie Owen

Leslie Owen.jpg

Leslie E. Owen is an experienced Literary Agent and Copy Editor. She began her publishing career in New York as an editorial assistant with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1981, after graduating with degrees in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Arizona in 1980.

She has held positions as Literary Agent, Director of Foreign Rights, International Publishing Representative, and Acquisitions Editor in New York and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Leslie's extensive and varied career also includes freelance reading for Four Winds Press and working as a Movie Scout for Nevelco.

She has written articles and reviewed for Publishers Weekly, The Horn Book, the SCBWI Newsletter, and the Greensboro (NC) News & Record.

Leslie's recent works have been published in Zoetrope and Jewish Monthly, and her children's science book, Pacific Tree Frogs, was published in 2003 by Tradewind Books in Vancouver, London, and Sydney. The book earned a top-ten-pick rating in Canada. In 2004, Pacific Tree Frogs was published in the U.S. by Crocodile Books.

Where to Find Leslie:

Check out her website here.

For her Agent Facebook Page click here.

For her Editing Facebook Page click here.

For her Facebook page click here.

Find her on Twitter here.

Interview with Author Mike Galloway

I want to welcome author Mike Galloway to my Scribbles Page today. Mike is the author of TCS: The Studio (Tribal Culture Studio Book 1) and Before the Game: Drake.


Mike thank you for stopping by today for a chat. Before we dive in why don’t you introduce yourself and your writing.

Well, my name’s Mike, and I’m working on a coming-of-age erotic LGBT novel series (wow that’s a handful). It’s about a young college dropout named Jason who wants to pursue his dream of having his own modeling agency while getting a boyfriend along the way. TCS: The Studio is the first book in the series, and Before the Game: Drake is a spin-off involving Drake and Gage, two water polo players Jason interacts with during the first book.

Excellent. Let’s jump in.

First, I want to compliment you on your website I checked it out and it’s really cool that you set it up from the characters’ point of view. Considering all the work that goes into creating a website, how many books do you plan on having in the series? Is this going to be an ongoing series with books for each of the models?

There will be at least three books in the main series, more likely four, with each one building on the events of the previous book. In addition, there will be some spin-offs that can be much more erotic in nature or focus on events that don’t fit in the main series. The main series mostly focuses on Jason, while the spin-offs would focus on the others. Ryker, Noel, and Tyler are also heavily featured in the main books.

Tell us what inspired you to write this series.

TCS Studio Cover.jpg

I was heavily interested in photography while I was in high school, taking pictures of friends and sporting events. Several friends of mine were water polo players as well, so I decided to combine the two interests to make the core of the series. Jason is based off me when I was in high school, except a little bit more eccentric.

As for why it’s in San Diego, I wanted to set TCS aside from the numerous stories that take place in LA and San Francisco and breathe life into a fresher setting. I am also more familiar with that city as I have family down there. The last couple of years, I’ve made a few trips down there to visit family, scout out settings, and watch a whole lot of water polo.

Clearly you enjoy water polo, did you play? Or were you just a spectator?

I wasn’t able to play myself, since my parents didn’t want me hurt. I was on the yearbook staff in my senior year of high school, so I got to go to a lot of the games to take pictures.

Well, I guess if you couldn’t play then being a supporter is the way to go. Moving on from water polo, what can you share with us about the book and the series?

The first seeds of the series were planted around six years ago, with three of the main characters living in a dorm room in San Diego while attending college. While a lot of the original work for that is lost (About three computers ago), the setting and the characters marched on. As time went by, I decided to age the characters up a bit to further reflect the new story ideas I had. Other characters came and went, and a few that didn’t make the cut in Studio might appear in other books.

Sounds like a long journey. It always amazes me how the writing process works like that. You may have one idea and by the time you finish it’s completely transformed into something you never expected.

I guess I’d say so. On the other hand, I don’t consider myself a pure pantser, since I have to know where the story is going to go before writing it. This is especially true when writing a series, since every book has to be intertwined with the others to make one whole arc composed of several smaller ones.

Nicely said. So, I have to ask, who is your favorite character right now?

That’s a tough one. Everyone’s got their quirks, and it’s hard for me to pick just one. In some ways, I kind of like Tyler because of how brutally honest he can be. Tyler’s also the easiest character for me to write as he’s not afraid to speak his mind.

I have a few characters like that, and I would have to agree. The free speakers are always the easiest to write for. If you don’t mind I want to jump back to your website, if you decide to write something different are you going to create a special website for that as well?

Depends on its size. I’ve written some short stories, and those can be found in the archives section of TCS’s website. That section is not “in character” so that I can showcase my other work. If I plan out an unrelated series or standalone book, then there may be a site for that.

Cool. Well considering how much work you put into this website I can’t imagine wanting to waste it.

Of course not. TCS is my passion.

From your bio I see you were raised in Central California, what was that like? Everyone thinks that California is either San Francisco or Los Angeles, so what was it like where you lived?

I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, which is the closest place California has to a Bible Belt. Until the 1990’s, members of the Ku Klux Klan ran Visalia where I’m from specifically. Growing up, my brother claimed he had seen a cross burning a few blocks south of our house.

It’s hard to believe that people are like that, but sadly they are, and things like that happen everywhere.

Many of the people were homophobic, and in high school, the school district had one of the schools make a “bullying” documentary targeting LGBT people. In short, the message was, “If a straight person gets bullied, it’s the bully’s fault. If an LGBT person gets bullied, it’s their own fault.” Keep in mind this was in the 2000’s, and there were several people in the valley who have been killed due to their sexuality, even to this day.

I’m glad I got out of there and into a more accepting environment.

I can’t imagine growing up like that. We forget how lucky we are. Especially when you hear stories like that. I’m glad you made it out of all that.

You mention you’ve been writing since you were fourteen, care to share a little about what you wrote early on? For me, when I was younger, writing was a way for me to process my emotions, what did writing mean to you at that time? Does it still mean the same thing now?

Writing’s been a form of therapy. I’d rather not go into specific details regarding the stories I wrote as a teenager, but when I was a senior in high school, I had written a script for a full-length RPG that will never see the light of day. The plot might return, but the script itself is long lost and wasn’t very good.

Fair enough. Still a full-length Role-Paying-Game sounds pretty amazing. I hope you are able to use it again.

I see that you now live in Las Vegas, that has to be quite a change from where you grew up. Obliviously you must like it there, care to tell us about it?

Vegas has given me a lot of opportunities that I could not get before moving here. There are things to do every single day. Just about every weekend, people can go to different fairs, open mic nights, and on the first Friday of every month, we have the aptly-named First Friday, a block party south of Downtown where people sell their goods/art/local food. I’ve gone a couple of times, and it was great to see all the different performers and people having fun.

That sounds amazing. Tell me, when you aren’t writing what do you like to do, other than going to street fairs?

I like to travel around. I’ve been all over Europe, been to the east coast a few times, and a few other spots. I’ve got plenty of stories of different experiences I’ve encountered. In fact, the hotel in Before the Game: Drake is based off the hotel I stayed at in New Jersey. I’m also a bit of a gamer, playing Final Fantasy XIV in the few spare hours I get whenever I’m not working on something.

Is part of that ‘something’ creating the characters you have on the website? Did you create them or did you hire someone to create them?

BTG Cover Drake.jpg

I hired an artist on Patreon to do the base artwork. I’ve worked with Finch for around two years. He drew all the guys, while I did all the typography, editing, and formatting for the website and for the novel. His page (NSFW) can be found here.

Very cool. I’ll have to check it out at some point. What’s next for you? What can we expect to see in the near future?

I am working on the second book, TCS: Into Summer as we speak. It focuses more on Tyler, who’s (mostly) on the back burner in the first book. I am also writing some non-TCS related stories that I hope to share soon.

Sounds like you have a lot going on. Is there anything else you want to share with us today?

First, I’d like to thank you for this wonderful opportunity to be interviewed here. It means a lot.

It’s my pleasure.

Second, please look forward to the next free promo weekend on Amazon, which will be in either November or early December.

Oh, free promos. Cool. Where can people find that information?

Facebook’s the easiest way to get into contact with me (as myself). There and Instagram are where I will provide info for the free promo weekends or other events that will be happening in the future. Twitter’s “in character” just like the site, so the guys won’t be advertising as much.

Excellent. Well thank you for stopping by and spending time with me and my Scribblers.

Find the books on Amazon here.

That’s it for this week Scribblers. I hope you check out Mike’s books and go find him and his boys on Facebook, Twitter, Instgram and on their website. Until next time have a great week. Remember you can share and like this below. If you have questions for Mike, leave them in the Comments section and I’ll ensure he pops on over and answers them.


About Mike E. Galloway

Author Pic Edit.JPG

Raised in Central California, Mike E. Galloway grew up in a world filled with the expectations of heteronormativity and homophobia. He overcame these expectations by writing LGBT stories and vignettes ever since the age of 14 and has never turned back since.

Mike lives in Las Vegas, NV and is currently working on a 3 to 4-book series featuring a young gay photographer who is on a journey to find love and his way in the world. The first of the series, TCS: The Studio, was released in September of 2018. Find out more or join the community by clicking here.

Social Media Links:

Find Mike on Facebook here.

Find TCS Studios on Instagram here.

Find Jason’s Twitter Page here.

Find Ryker’s Twitter Page here.

Find Noel’s Twitter Page here.

Find Tyler’s Twitter Page here.