I have a Christmas giveaway going on for exactly one month starting today. I will make the draw on December 25th, 2020. The prize for this giveaway is a $25 gift certificate to JMS Books.
So, how do you enter? Easy peasy. I have three different places you can enter by leaving a comment. The first is here on my author webpage on this post. The second is on my Twitter post announcing this giveaway. The third is on my Facebook post announcing the giveaway. I will write your name on a piece of paper and draw it out of a hat, old-school style.
What should your comment be about? I have a list of questions for you. Choose one and answer it in the comments of whatever platform you like. You can enter up to five times by answering different questions in separate comments. Please don’t cheat and leave more than five answers on different platforms. I have no way of making sure this doesn’t happen, so I’m appealing to your sense of fairness.
Here are the questions!
Who is your favourite LGBTQ+ author?
What is your favourite LGBTQ+ book (with LGBTQ+ MC)?
When did you start reading LGBTQ+ books?
Do you have a favourite romance trope? (ie “there’s only one bed” or “pretend relationship”
Where’s your favourite place to read?
Okay! Make sure to share with friends!
Merry start of the Christmas season everyone! (And other winter holidays too)
Some of you know me as a romance writer of LGBTQ+ romance stories. I am, and I wanted to talk in this post about writing about sex. A lot of my stories have some pretty hardcore queer sex in them. Some people may question this decision, and I wanted to address it.
First of all, I think of sex as something fairly ordinary. Not normal, as that erases ace identities, but not something terribly out of the ordinary for romantic entanglements. Sex happens. So, the question from some people is – why do you write the actual scene? Why do you not just let it fade to black?
Several reasons, actually. One of the reasons is that I want to try and normalize queer sex. The mainstream media has many many options when it comes to straight sex scenes, and often queer sex or even queer relationships are still seen as taboo. And I do understand that sometimes queer relationships are sexualized in order to keep them away from children, even though queer relationships are not necessarily sexual. But by writing queer sex scenes, I want to give queer people something that they might not have access to in mainstream media.
Another reason is for my characters, it’s important sometimes for them to actually develop their feelings for one another. And for some, the erotic is empowering and gives a person or character agency. Take this quotation from Audre Lorde for example: “Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning in our lives” (57). I write about the erotic because to be able to just be in our bodies as queer people is something that I think empowers us.
The erotic is a source of power, especially for marginalized identities such as our queer ways of existing. Now understand that the erotic does not necessarily mean sex. It means the sensual, the bodily way of existing, sensation, pleasure. That’s something that I also try and portray in my stories because it’s so important.
That’s why I write queer sex scenes. My queer erotics are for other queer people, to give them something, to show other people that we are allowed to exist in pleasure.
Today I wanted to give some love to one of my older works Hakusan Angel, which I had republished with JMS Books. I wrote this novella when I lived in Vancouver in the summer of 2013 for a submission call. The call was for a mecha theme, and because I drew a lot of inspiration from Japan, I decided to set my novella in a Japan-esque world.
In this novella, there are people who can wield their own energy as a weapon. These people are called Sources. The military recruits Sources to power huge war machines. The Sources power the machines, and then pilots drive them.
Kaede is a Source who has been hiding her true abilities. She is working as a Level 3 Source, but her powers are stronger. One day, an accident happens, and Kaede must deal with the consequences.
Mariko is a pilot, who recently started training as a Level 1 driver. She and Kaede butt heads until bigger problems surface and the two of them have to work together in order to overcome them.
I recently accidentally started a sequel to this novella, which will be a full novel. I’m looking forward to diving into this world again after 7 years. This novel, which I’ve tentatively titled “Key to Tateyama” has a complete outline done already.
It looks like NaNoWriMo has started for this year already! It’s day 4 of the yearly challenge to write 50 000 words in only 30 days. It’s definitely a difficult challenge, and new and seasoned writers alike try their hand at beating it.
This year, unfortunately, I will not be participating. I am in the first year of a four-year PhD and am currently deep in coursework at the moment. I am taking three graduate-level courses, and am focused on writing papers this November.
Some of my past NaNoWriMo challenges have borne fruit, however. In 2015, I finished writing Far Patrol in 30 days and in 2012 I finished writing Rangers over Regulus. Far Patrol is slated to be published in July 2021 with Ninestar Press and Rangers over Regulus was published last year with JMS Books.
Maybe I will take part next year. I hope so. Even in years that I lose the challenge, I still manage to get a good chunk of writing done. That includes All the King’s Men, which I failed to finish in 2013, but still got published by JMS Books in 2019.
What I’m really trying to say is, don’t give up! Even if you’re behind in writing or you’re not sure you’ll finish, it’s still worth it to try. And even if you fail this time around, you’re still trying to write a novel, which is a difficult task, but you’re doing it anyway.
It just snowed here in northern BC, and we’re getting another half foot over the next day and a half. I hope everyone else is staying reasonably warm, because it’s pretty cold here at the moment.
I just received my last quarter’s royalty statements, and All the King’s Men is on a roll! Sales are up 25% from last quarter. I’m glad readers appear to like this one.
The next highest by number of sales is Rangers over Regulus. This one is an older one that I actually wrote in 2012!
In 2012 I lived in Vancouver, BC, and lived with a friend in a big apartment that was right underneath the regular route that planes took flying into Van International Airport. I decided that I was going to compete in the annual NaNoWriMo writing competition that year. The challenge is to write 50 000 words in 30 days. I won that time around, but not without some panic ensuing in the last few days. I wrote 15000 words on the last day in order to win, and for the life of me couldn’t remember what I wrote in order to finish.
This story is about a cowboy vampire in space. I know, it sounds weird when you put it that way, but it’s a fun story nevertheless. I think this story has some serious Firefly vibes.
For those of you who have never watched this series, first of all – watch it! It’s so good. Second of all, it’s basically a space western and has a sort of frontiers-of-space thing going on. It’s an interesting series, and some of my inspiration for my original characters came from the characters off of Firefly.
Anyway, this book had the underwhelming distinction of being 5th runner up in the 2014 Rainbow Awards competition (I checked, my name is no longer up on the website, but it was there under the Gay/Futuristic Sci-Fi category).
While it may be something of an old novel now, it still holds a special place in my heart. It found a new home at JMS Books, and I hope, new readers!
I just signed the contract for the publication of Weekend Girl with Ninestar Press! This news comes just a week or so after I received word that one of the editors was also interested in Far Patrol.
I am really happy that this novel will get published because it’s my first novel with a trans protagonist. My main character Ash is genderfluid and uses they/their pronouns. I’ve been wanting to publish a full-length novel with a trans protagonist for a while now, so it’s finally happening!
This novel has a completely different feeling from Far Patrol. Weekend Girl is meant to be mostly light-hearted, a romantic comedy for the trans community. Ash is a student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. They meet their love interest Nolan in a rather unorthodox way, and the fun continues thereafter.
This is also one of the first characters I’ve developed who has a mental health diagnosis. Ash has anxiety, and sometimes some of the scenes will reflect that. Some of Ash’s decisions are also influenced by their anxiety as well.
I really enjoyed writing this story, and I’m actually writing a sequel to this one in the hopes that readers will continue to be interested! That sequel is called “Not Your Average Lady” and continues with Ash and Nolan on their journey of life.
I’m writing with exciting news. My novel Far Patrol has been accepted for publication by Ninestar Press!
As you can guess, this makes me very happy. It’s been a long time in coming to actually get this novel polished enough to actually be published. A lot of people read and commented in order for me to be able to revise the story, including my beta reader Siobhan Crosslin.
So, a little bit of a story here. I actually wrote this novel for NaNoWriMo in 2015 and won that year. This was no little feat particularly because I was in the hospital for three weeks of that month. I had no access to a computer at the time and wrote the entire thing in a notebook that my sister brought me. I then had to transcribe the entire thing in the space of a week in order to win that year.
Ever since that year, I’ve been trying to convince myself to work on it and to get it published. I’ve finally done it, and now I have the motivation I need to finish the rest of the series. I have two more novels planned in this arc. The second novel is tentatively titled “The Youngblood Society” and the last novel is titled “Dragonmage.” I have the second novel halfway written and need to finish it off.
The novel is a literary one more than romance. While the protagonist Ignius is LGBTQ+ (ace/aro/agender), they do not have a romance. Rather, they have a queerplatonic relationship with their bonded partner Kathely. This novel is largely political and delves into a question that has become very relevant in this time: how do you make the world better when the system is violent? How do you resist this system? What is the role of violence in any resistance put forth and how does it impact society? I hope it’s more thought-provoking than an escapist fantasy might be.
Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well and that you have something to read and maybe something to write during this troubling time.
So, my short ficlet “No Ordinary Gentleman” which was accepted as a “Hot Flash” submission has a cover and a release date! The release date is September 30, 2020. The cover is simply one of the premade “Hot Flash” covers as you can see below.
There’s also a short blurb for the story here:
“Arthur Watson is a sessional English instructor at Hudson College, and he barely has his foot in the door. He’s nothing at all like handsome and charismatic Matthew Parker, the star instructor of the department. That doesn’t stop Arthur from having an unfortunate crush on Matt, even if it’s unlikely Matt even notices him.
That changes when it’s time for Arthur’s teaching assessment. Arthur is already worried about not being good enough, but now he has to teach in front of the hottest instructor in the department? But as it turns out, maybe Matthew Parker noticed him after all.”
It’s a short 2500 word ficlet, but I hope everyone still enjoys it!
Recently got my sales report for this quarter. I’ve been keeping track of my most popular books, and it looks like All the King’s Men has come out on top!
I think I’ve mentioned before, but this novel was originally published with Less Than Three Press and was republished with JMS Books in 2019.
I do wonder sometimes what makes a book popular, and what makes it less popular. I know one aspect is the pairing. All the King’s Men is a M/M pairing, and that type of pairing tends to sell more. I think genre probably also has something to do with it. All the King’s Men is a sci-fi/cyberpunk novel as well as a romance novel. I really enjoy writing sci-fi and fantasy, but I know contemporary genres also tend to sell more. Not that this fact will stop me from writing sci-fi and fantasy novels.
I wonder what about All the King’s Men has made it the most popular. It might be the cover, which is one of my favourites of all of them. It might also be the blurb is exciting, or maybe people have read some goodread reviews about it. Ultimately, I’m not really sure; all I can really say is why I liked writing it.
All the King’s Men is a cyberpunk novel heavily influenced by my love of the movie The Matrix. The Cerebrum in my novel functions a little differently than the matrix of the movie, but some of the aesthetics are similar, particularly some of the outfits that the characters wear. The titular King of the novel is a little bit similar to Morpheus as well.
I started writing this novel mostly because I was particularly interested in exploring the theme of identity when it comes to cyberspace. If any of you have read the novel, you know (SPOILER) that the agents of the Cerebrum are not programs, but actual humans who have been brainwashed into thinking they’re all the same, from appearance to purpose. (END SPOILER) There is also the fact that appearance varies in the Cerebrum, and that various governments have attempted to limit the ways in which people can appear in cyberspace, but no one really listens to the law, and it’s not really enforced. So can one really know who’s who in the Cerebrum?
I love chatting with people about themes in books, mostly because I have two degrees in English literature. I was honestly wondering if readers would be interested in hearing some of the themes that I purposefully put in my novels and novellas, or would that be going against Death of the Author too much? To be clear, I wouldn’t be adding post-canon material at all in a blog post.
On the other hand, if anyone is interested in more material from any of my novels, writing a short story to accompany the novel is always a possibility. However, I generally don’t do these types of things unless there’s genuine interest in it.
Anyway, let me know what you think, and as always, happy reading and writing!
First of all, I am excited to announce that I submitted a little ficlet titled “No Ordinary Gentleman” to JMS Books, and it was accepted as a Hot Flash submission and should be released sometime in September. It’s about 2500 words long (just a teensy one) and is about a young college instructor who’s been ogling one of his hot coworkers in the hallway.
I’ve been a little bit slow at getting Not Your Average Lady written, even though I’d hoped to get the writing finished by the end of the month. At least I’ve got it planned out and outlined by scene. I’ve been trying to write a little more descriptively when it comes to scenery, as it’s been a critique of my writing that some scenery tends to be a little bit lacking and therefore hard to visualize. I hope it’s been working!
I’ve been planning and outlining the yet nameless novel about the young Black protagonist Lionetta. I’m really excited about this one because I think it will be my first full-length novel with a female protagonist. This one will be a fantasy story with what I hope is a different type of magic system than some of the other kinds one often sees in fantasy novels.
I have put the sequel to Far Patrol on the back burner a bit. I haven’t felt motivated to finish that one yet. I’m hoping that by giving it a break the flow of ideas will return and I’ll be able to finish it a bit later.
That’s the news! Have a good rest of July everyone!