6/5/18

Spring is pupping

So spring has kept me busy, as usual, with horses to ride and dogs to pet-sit. Plus I've been working on edits for HARD TRUTHS, an M/M contemporary that's 75% sweet, cute nerds (one of whom is a tattooed biker) and 25% feelings. That's nearly done, and I hope to be able to share more soon.

Lately I've been feeling a bit of writer's block. Every time I finish a project, it seems harder to get started on the next. In January I finished writing The Miracle Man and between edits, I managed to start and stop a few pieces, and eventually took two months to write (and submit) a 17K short story for an anthology. It didn't get picked up for the anthology (which has limited space) but is going to be published as a standalone. Then I had a month where I barely wrote 1K. I was a bit of an emotional wreck, so I'm giving myself leeway there!

Then, after some discussion with my writers' group, I decided to write a short story, which was what I spent May doing. That's done and with the group for review. It's only 6K, and it's not the normal stuff I write (it's the closest I've ever been to literary fiction), so if it gets published, it likely will be under a different name.

Then it was June and I was head off to pet-sit these trouble-makers. The mini-dachshund is Guiseppe and the corgi is Lillibet.


Meanwhile I struggled to come up with my next story, told myself I didn't need to write immediately, but I wanted to! And so I just started writing a story (involving a dog, I can't imagine why) and am letting it take the wheel. I've also been starting some brainstorming for revising (and adding a fair chunk) to a story I previously finished involving shifters (surprise, surprise). It's part of a series (maybe), and I'd like to beef up the first in the series before continuing on.

So hopefully you'll see some more of that as the year progresses. I can't believe we're almost halfway through!

4/17/18

A book release!

If you haven't heard, Magic Runs Deep is now out in the world! It's a fantasy with some sweet romance, hurt/comfort, plus mages, bear shifters, and war!


For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.

Elrid, the invading king's brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.

However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given — and the man he loves.



2/26/18

Let's Talk About Expectations

There are many, many things to have expectations for/about in life, but this post is focusing on self-expectations, specifically in regards to goals/resolutions, because these are the expectations we have the most control over.

I set some goals for myself at the beginning of the year and by the second week of February I knew I'd built a pretty high mountain to climb. January went well. Book read, edits done, writing mark hit! Of course I also finished a book, so starting a new one was hard--immediately my word count plummeted. I finished edits, got beta reads, submitted the book...and immediately got developmental edits to do. While I was brainstorming how to fix February's editing case. So my "edit a book a month" plummeted. Reading one book should be easy, right? But after reading all day, editing various books, and struggling to write, the last thing I wanted was another person's words in my head. I read one page of a book and switched to another. Read a page of that and put it aside.

What I realized around the middle of the month, was that I might have burnt myself out by being too productive too fast. I need to reassess and adjust accordingly.

Revising: One book a month is kind of crazy, especially depending on how much work needs done. Especially since I edit for a living (duh, Alex). I think if  get 6 books revised this year, I'll call it a win. It's still going to be about 5 more books than I did last year!

Writing: Same basic 10K a month, but I think it'll be a year-end goal of 120,000 instead, which will average out to 10K a month, which is pretty much how I looked back a 2017, so I think it'll work.

Reading: I might need to "cheat" and read another volume of manga, but I do want to at least hit some of my titles on my to-read list. However, I also want to watch a bunch of anime shows (many of which are subtitles), so I'm giving myself flex here. Kind of a "we'll see how it goes". I know it sounds like I'm giving up, but it's more a matter of "how much can I fit into my free time without feeling like it's not fun anymore?"

The important thing, for me, is not thinking of the above changes as failing. Goals and resolutions should be flexible, especially in the beginning, so you can improve while also not killing yourself. Because once you start to fail, you give up. But if you lower the bar, then you might end up jumping just as high as you'd first planned, once the stress of failing is removed.

1/28/18

January round-up!

The new year means resolutions, cold weather, and the daylight hours slowly getting longer. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself for being on-task for my resolutions so far. But first...

Magic Runs Deep is up on Riptide's site, available for preorder!! It's coming in April (SO FAR AWAY)!

For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.
Elrid, the invading king's brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.
However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given—and the man he loves.
I'm really grateful to the artist who made this lovely cover after I gave...less than stellar feedback on what I was looking for.
January has also witnessed me get my first 10k written for 2018, which also matched up with me finishing my current WIP The Miracle Man. This book's idea started several years ago, as a jotted opening in a notebook that sat unused in my bedside table for several years. Then during a writing slump, I said Well, why not write this, it's utter bollox, and then everything started flowing. And now it's done! Er, well, the firs step is. 
I've also spent January revising my one manuscript, and I have about 30 pages to go. It's a contemporary (maybe even a rom-com) with a sexy tattooed biker and his not-as-straitlaced-as-his-parents-think boyfriend. It has playful banter during sex and puns. And a shower scene...
Anyway. I've also been reading! (You know...that 1 book a month goal.) I'm on-goal to finish What-the-Dickens by the end of January. It's not captivating me, but it's cute. 

1/1/18

New Year, New Resolutions

Last year, my goals were:
I want to keep being better at my fitness 'program' and eating habits.
I want to write 10K a month every month.
I'd like to get three things published this year.
I...didn't do awesome. In fact, I forgot about the first goal completely (or at least I didn't try harder than I normally do).

I hit 10K roughly ever month. If I add up the months and average them out, it's about 10,900 words a month.

Three things published? Er. Well...I didn't think this one through. I submitted three pieces to publishers, and two were accepted. One got feedback, one came out a few weeks ago, and one comes out in April. So I think that counts as a success, even if I didn't publish three things this year.

And this year?

My goals this year are similar to last year with some additions (and maybe some follow through :D)

1. Write 10K a month. I was originally thinking of upping it to 15K, but after November and December this year, I decided to focus on another resolution:

2. Revise a book a month. Writing is only worthwhile if I actually revise and submit books for publishing. Last year I focused on publishing books, but I think it was too abstract (and much of it out of my control), so this time I want to focus on taking steps to submit books--aka, revise the stuff I write and move it along on the path of publishing!

3. Read at least 12 books. This obviously doesn't count work stuff, and last year I only squeaked by via manga (specifically What Did You Eat Yesterday?), which isn't bad but wasn't what I had in mind. This year I'm picking 12 books from my pile and want to read them:

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 10 lb Penalty by Dick Francis, The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan, The Innocence of Father Brown by GK Chesterton, Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, The Black Book of Secrets by FE Higgins, and What the Dickens by Gregory Maguire
I figure some might get replaced by manga, some might get replaced by library books or new finds, but these are some titles on my shelves that seem like I should read or at least might be interesting. I tried for a variety so I wouldn't get bored or burned out.

(If you're interested in reading along with me when I start a book, let me know, I'm always looking for reading buddies, and I'm not a fast-paced reader...)

First up will be What the Dickens.

Good luck on your New Year's Resolutions!

12/26/17

End of the Year Book Reading Round-up

I spend all day reading, which is awesome. Unfortunately, it also means I don't read a lot outside of work, so this list is going to be Riptide titles that I read over this past year that stuck out to me (and I'll give reasons why). I can't list ALL the ones I love, but here's a sampling (12, so one for each month...sorta):

Midlife Crisis by Audra North - This book made me have so many emotions. It was really tough at times, but seeing Cam's life unfold was really breathtaking and uplifting.

Sons of Devils / Angels of Istanbul by Alex Beecroft - This is a heavy pair of books but if you're committed, you'll find yourself taken on a fantastic adventure. It's vampires as the truly horrific monsters they were originally meant to be--which makes the potential for a horrible ending all the more likely...

Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer - I'm not a huge fan of sports romance, or rather I'd never really read any that grabbed me. This was the first that made me go "Oh" and I was hooked all the way through. It’s a sweet struggle as the boys come to terms with themselves and each other.

Citywide by Santino Hassell - I loved the menage story, and not because of all the hot sex. But Chris's thinking about relationships and being the third and preferring triads is just amazing and it really pinged something in my head.

Infamous by Jenny Holiday - There’s something about this friends-to-lovers tale that just carried me along. It was just a lovely read that gave me everything I wanted out of it.

Rogue Magic by Kit Brisby - In many ways this is your standard magic-in-the-real-world story, but the character growth and the story that comes to life really pulled me along through the story so I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

Wanted, a Gentleman by KJ Charles - This is a playful historical, which was a delight to read. It's covering some serious, dramatic topics, but it doesn't bog the reader down.

Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn - A May/December, learning-to-be-an-adult story, this one surprised me with how much I liked it. The characters come alive on the page and that's what makes this one so great.

In His Majesty's Service by Jenny Urban and Elizabeth Silver - sci-fi romance with some action and political intrigue, it never takes the politics so seriously that it makes the story drag. A good balance of all the elements, this one had me reading as fast as I could to find out what happened.

Finding Home by Garrett Leigh - I mean, I love most of Garrett's books, but this one is special with the heart-wrenching tale it tells, but also the hope and inspiration it gives.

Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn - I think this was the second sports book I read that made me interested--not in the sport, but in the story. I loathed who I was meant to loathe and loved who I was meant to love. The support and love in this book was heart-warming, and the sex was steamy.

I hope you check these titles out and find them as enjoyable as I did!

Happy New Year!

12/11/17

As the Snow Falls: holidays and depression

As the Snow Falls comes out today!

Be sure to check out Boy Meets Boy Reviews for an exclusive excerpt from As the Snow Falls and for the chance to win a digital copy of A Christmas for Oscar.

You can find As the Snow Falls at NineStar Press, Amazon, B&N, and Kobo!


Christmas is fast approaching and Kade's parents have abandoned him for the holiday. Thankfully his best friend, Byron, invites him to spend the holidtays with him and his family. That night, in the dim glow of the Christmas tree’s lights, Byron and Kade share a kiss, but Byron backs off before it can go further.
Can Kade stand up for what he wants and convince Byron he’s not so easily broken, or will he need a Christmas miracle to bring them together?




I love holiday stories, because they fill me with joy and put me in the spirit of giving and joy, which is perfect for the season. However, as people with depression know, the holidays can also be a difficult time.* If your depression is triggered by loss of sunlight, it's literally the darkest time of the year. If you struggle to be social, then your time and energy are demanded. For those who have a hard time doing their daily stuff now have a whole bunch of other things dumped on their plate.

But in some ways the holidays are great for depression. They force you to get out and about, they surround you with good cheer (...angry shoppers aside:), and there's a sense of magic, wonder, and love as you gather with friends and family. It makes you feel the love, feel how many people care about you. None of that fixes depression, but in some cases it can help balance out the hardships that the season heaps on.

This story isn't about Kade's depression, but because Kade has depression, it influences his character and how Byron interacts with him (for better and worse). This isn't a story about how finding the right man can cure you of depression--because that doesn't happen. Rather, it's a story about how having friends and loved ones around can help. How having someone there can maybe stop you from slipping into a depressive mood. And also how they have the most power in hurting you.

I'll warn that this isn't a perfect representation of depression. Because there is none. Everyone's experience is different, and this is just the story of these two young men and their journey from friendship to lovers on a snowy Christmas Day.

I hope you enjoy it.



* Everyone's experience with depression is different and I'm talking in general terms and with my own experiences here, not as hard and fast law.