No, that’s not me being gratuitously rude!! That’s the title of the forthcoming anthology of stories that will be published by Wayward Ink Publishing, a brand new initiative that will be accepting Gay Fiction as well as romance titles!! Links to their website as soon as it’s available but you can follow them on Facebook right now.
Bollocks! is a collection of British themed stories that plumbs the depths of our very broad and earthy sense of humour. I’ve chipped in with a story of angst, passion and Mars Bars. Here’s the official blurb and stuff!
Bollocks as a word is a little naughty. It’s a little cheeky. It’s a little rude.
And it’s the tongue-in-cheek theme for this collection of short stories celebrating all things English.
You’ll discover a bonk is not a typo for somewhere to keep your money.
A shag isn’t something thick and plush under your feet to keep them warm, though it is guaranteed to heat you up!
And as for a snog, the boys of Bollocks! can assure you it’s worth finding out what that Brit term means.
The stories will make you laugh.
They’ll make you snort.
They’ll make you blush.
Sigh—they’ll probably make you shake your head.
They may even make you want to catch the next flight to England to find something a little British of your own!
It’s not just cricket, or jolly hockey sticks, it’s more… it’s the very British, Bollocks!
It’s a while since I’ve done one of these. There have been so many good books to read and so many good authors to promote that I haven’t been bothering to blog.
Extra points if you recognise who used this diary in which film. Answer below
Mostly this is because I didn’t have much to write about on my own account. I’ve betaed a few terrific novels over the past year but haven’t actually written much. Circumstances change and take some adjustment. I prefer to think of 2013 as a ‘laying fallow’ year rather than a waste of time. I read a LOT, re-read old favourites, fell in love with Harry Dresden for the first time and with Adrien English all over again, immersed myself in the Shadow of the Templar and Falls Chance Ranch. It was comfort reading and there’s nothing in the world wrong with that. I attended the 2013 UK Meet, met wonderful people. I interviewed authors, promoted books, hosted guest posts. But I didn’t write. This year, as of mid-March, I have already written more words than I did in the whole of 2013!
So, I haven’t got a lot to talk about, but Sue Roebuck tagged me in a writing progress meme – check hers out, she’s been busy – so that’s made me take stock.
1. What am I working on?
At the moment I have a short story on the go which may or may not meet the 31st March deadline. Sheep’s Clothing is about a Londoner trying to make a new life somewhere rural and I hope that it will be light and amusing. If I don’t make the deadline with it I’ll see if I can get a cover made for it and offer it as a free ebook. I have finished the first draft of Eleventh Hour, a spy story set in London in the 1920s. At the moment it is in a file fermenting for a bit before I try the second draft. The first is rough as a badger’s chuff but I think could be made fun.
I have another long short – about 25k – called A Taste of Copper that was inspired by the Black Knight sketch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In January I received a revise and resubmit request for it in January from Riptide Publishing, did a very fast turn around and sent it back on 17th January. Since their normal response time to a slush pile request is 3 to 4 months, it’s at least another 4 weeks before I can legitimately email to ask for confirmation that the editor received the MS. I’m doing my best not to think about it. This is hard.
2. How does my work differ from others?
I’m not sure that being different from others in ones genre is a good idea. People go to M/M to read lots of good red hot explicit man on man boinking. Disappoint them at your peril. It will be reflected in your reviews and your sales.
I do disappoint. Sex happens in my books, eventually, but it’s the fact that it has happened and the effects it has on the relationship that is important, not whose hands/mouth/feet/other body parts went where, how often and from what exact angle. I have read thousands of brilliant mainstream novels where this was acceptable and am saddened that books with gay protagonists can’t be accepted as just being part of their genre – horror, sci fi, historical, detective – without having to have the erotica label applied to them as well.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think well written sex scenes can complement a plot and can be informative about a character, but I don’t think it’s fair or sensible that a 400 page novel with two short plot relevant sex scenes and a 25 page short that is just one joyous explosion of bonking will both be advertised as Gay Erotica. Likewise, books that, had the protagonists been straight, would have been advertised as sci fi, thriller or historical get lumped in with romance if the protagonists are two men.
As more authors dip their toes into writing genre fiction with gay protagonists, and all the rest of the rainbow too, I don’t think the M/M label is serving us well and we need something else to help readers find us. Any suggestions gratefully received, but because M/M s just so handy to type and fits into almost any blurb, I can’t see changes being made any time soon.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Some years ago I saw a plaintive comment from a well known gay male author – no names no pack drill – along the lines of “Where are all the good humoured historical stories with gay protagonists where they end up happy instead of dead?” and thought “Damn, I’ve been writing things like that for close to 40 years”.
I write action adventure stories, often historical, about gay men. I have never read M/F romance, apart from Georgette Heyer, but preferred what my husband describes as bloke books with masses of plot and action, where the heroes swing from the rigging, or charge with the Light Brigade or keep their heads down in the trenches. Sometimes there’s romance but generally the important relationships are man to man – Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin spring to mind. I have been writing stories all my life and they were almost always about men, or about dreadful Mary-Sue women doing their damndest to BE men [but as a confused teenager I forgive myself for that]. Dropping the female protagonist was a huge relief and for years I wrote stories with male protagonists who were BFFs edging into romance. Adding a teaspoon of love between the guys just seemed logical if they care about each other that much and it ups their stress levels enormously when they are in danger.
Then I discovered that other people were actually publishing that kind of thing – only with more emphasis on sex and romance – so I thought I’d have a bash at it.
4. How does my writing process work?
Not very well at the moment. My circumstances changed radically last year when my husband retired and the hours I could spend in the evenings have been cut right back. However ideally the process would be as follows:
Get an idea and think about it for a year or so
Do the background reading
Work out first draft in head
Transcribe first draft from head to computer early in the morning before anyone else is awake
Suffer existential angst about a 3rd into the story that halts writing
Overcome angst and carry on, or abandon project and work on something else
Finish project, hate it, put it aside
Look it out some months later and decide that it might be better with more work
2nd draft then off to the darling betas
3rd draft with edits and polish
Try to decide what to do with the finished MS
That’s actually the easy part of the process. Once the writing is done there’s the submission process. If the book is good enough to be accepted there’s the editing process. Then – Oh God – marketing! Writing a book is just a little bit of the work.
Oh the diary? Highlight down to the star - it belonged to Indiana Jones, my absolute hero. I’d love to rewrite Raiders of the Lost Ark so he’s in love with Martin Ravenwood instead of Marion. *
Sadly this is necessary again this year, what with Eastern European countries refusing to pass laws against violence to women for fear that it might benefit lesbians, Uganda set on a return to the Middle Ages, religious groups tearing each other and themselves apart over the vexed question of how equal does equality mean, others railing against same sex marriage as an attack on the sanctity of increasingly short lived, adulterous and leading to divorce traditional marriage and what seems to be increasing attacks on transgender people everywhere.
I am taking part again with a post on homelessness about LGBT youth. Just click on the picture below to be directed to my blog where you can comment for a chance to have a donation made to the Albert Kennedy Trust in your name plus win a title from my back catalogue.
Nearly 200 authors, book bloggers and publishers are taking part. Click the picture below to reach the hop.
I’m so delighted and relieved that some reviews are finally coming in for On A Lee Shore. It’s always an edgy waiting period. The publisher handles the lists of reviewers and authors are warned not to bother them, not to duplicate submissions, so there’s nothing at all one can do other than wait. And worry.
Will they hate it? Might they like it?
Mrs Condit Reads:On a Lee Shore is rich in period detail, full of wonderful characters, not just Kit and Le Griffe, but also of the vast array of secondary characters. The book is very well researched; I felt I was living the pirate life along with Kit. The story pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go.
Manic Readers:If you love pirates, and hot guys loving each other, you’ll find it in On a Lee Shore. Read this now! You won’t be disappointed.
Beached after losing his ship and crew, and with England finally at peace, Lt Christopher Penrose will take whatever work he can get. A valet? Why not? Escorting an elderly diplomat to the Leeward Islands seems like an easy job, but when their ship is boarded by pirates, Kit’s world is turned upside down. Forced aboard the pirate ship, Kit finds himself juggling his honor with his desire to stay alive, not to mention his desire for the alarming–yet enticing–captain, known as La Griffe.
Kit has always obeyed the rules, but as the pirates plunder their way across the Caribbean, he finds much to admire in their freedom. He deplores their lawlessness but is drawn to their way of life, and begins to think he might just have found a purpose. Dare he dream of finding love too? Or would loving a pirate take him too far down the road to ruin?
I have the final version of the cover for “On A Lee Shore”, designed by Mina Carter!
No fixed release date yet and no official blurb but here’s what I put on my CAM form:
“Give me a reason to let you live.”
Beached after losing his ship and crew and with England finally at peace, Lt Christopher Penrose will take whatever work he can get. A valet? Why not? Escorting an elderly diplomat to the Leeward Islands seems like an easy job until the morning their ship is attacked by pirates and Kit’s world is turned upside down. Forced aboard the pirate ship Kit soon finds himself juggling his determination to stay true to his honour with the requirements of the crew and the alarming yet enticing requests of the captain. Kit has always obeyed the rules, though sometimes it has been painful, but now the rules have changed and Kit feels himself to be adrift in a chartless ocean.
As the pirates plunder their way across the Caribbean, Kit finds much to admire in their freedom, while deploring their lawless ways, and is drawn into their way of life. He finds friendship with Saunders, the acerbic doctor, Denny the elderly cabin boy, and Lewis and Protheroe, genial rapscallions who are often hand in hand. He makes powerful enemies. He finds a purpose – the greatest robbery ever committed. Dare he dream of finding love, too, or would loving a pirate take him too far down the road to ruin?
Only 3 days now until my latest release is available in a Halloween themed anthology from Etopia Press. “Halloween Heat IV” also contains stories by Tara Lain and A C Fox.
“Set in Stone” tells what happens the night that Joe, the newest member of the Brecon Mountain Rescue team, is sent by his team mates to spend the night alone high in the hills. Beside a standing stone he dreams of times past and wonders what bearing it might have for his future.
I’m very pleased to be able to say that I’ll have a new story available in October from Etopia Press to be published in an anthology of Hallowe’en stories, title to be confirmed.
My story, Set in Stone, is set in Mid Wales and features Maen Madoc – Madoc’s stone – one of the more enigmatic ancient monuments with which Wales is so plentifuly supplied. This massive slab of sandstone was set in place during the Bronze Age. Later a Roman road, Sarn Helen, was laid out nearby and the slab was reused as a grave marker. Layer upon layer of history – fertile ground for a storyteller.
Everything is coming together beautifully for UK Meet 2012.
This – our very own British readers/authors/fans convention for LGBQTT fiction – will take place on 15th September at the Mercure Hotel in Brighton.
We are planning a full day of entertainment on Saturday 15th with optional events on Friday evening and Sunday morning. Click on the picture for the website and full details.
The keynote speaker will be Jordan Castillo-Price, of Psycop fame though those wonderfully plotted stories are only part of the good stuff she has written.
There will be panels, signings, a book stall, swag bags and competitions plus a brilliant chance to meet with friends and heroes. I plan to spend a good part of my weekend being a very respectful fan girl.
Oh – I mentioned prizes! One of the sponsors – Silver Publishing – has kindly donated no less than three [three!] Kindle Touches, one of which will be raffled in support of our charity of choice The Albert Kennedy Trust. The other two? Big secret. I guess we’ll all find out on the day.
There’s still time to book.
Just click that picture up there and have a look at what’s on offer. It will be FUN. Come and join us.
I see a lot of How To Be A Writer posts and they always cheer me up.
The internet is full of other people who seem just as anxious as I am to nail down the process into a series of simple instructions. Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t it be super if you could buy “On Writing” by Stephen King, follow it page by page and end up with a novel, very much as one might follow a recipe to make apple crumble [peach cobbler if you come from a place where apple crumble does not exist].
Sadly it doesn’t work like that. There are two many variables. Every single writer has something about themselves that nobody else can quite manage to emulate. Every single writer NEEDS to work in their own particular, unique and sometimes peculiar way.
Yesterday on the Women and Words site I saw a brilliant illustration of this. Jack Kerouac provided 30 ‘How To’ tips for people who wanted to know how to be a writer. Here they are in no particular order of importance:
Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
Submissive to everything, open, listening
Try never get drunk outside yr own house
Be in love with yr life
Something that you feel will find its own form
Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
Blow as deep as you want to blow
Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
The unspeakable visions of the individual
No time for poetry but exactly what is
Visionary tics shivering in the chest
In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
Like Proust be an old teahead of time
Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
Accept loss forever
Believe in the holy contour of life
Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better
Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
You’re a Genius all the time
Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
Elmore Leonard’s “10 Rules for Writing”
So now you know! I bet that’s a sure fire recipe for writing something that looks a bit similar to Jack Kerouac.
Sure you can follow Elmore Leonard’s advice and that will be fine if you want to write stuff set in the same kind of places and periods as Elmore Leonard enjoys writing about. But the tight terse laconic style that is fine for hard bitten PIs investigating contemporary crime capers is going to look a bit odd if you apply it to Regency romances.
I’d be inclined to read the advice – some of Elmore’s ten are spot on – but how the hell do you guess which bits readers skip? I know that I often skip the bits that other readers say are the best parts. What do you think? Sing in your own voice or try and lip synch to one of the great operatic tenors who write ‘how to’ books?