Saturday 15 November 2014

New Things

I have a new blog here. Please update your links or whatnot. There's also a follow button on the new blog - if you are inclined to follow, you'll get an e-mail each time I update the blog, you'll also be automatically entered into a monthly giveaway. Names will be drawn on the first of the month, the same as the twitter giveaways to followers there. Maybe there should be a Goodreads giveaway to friends on there too?

I'm planning to update the new blog a lot more. If all goes to plan, there will be free fiction posted each month, as well a regular slot featuring older books you may have forgotten about or not heard of, a monthly theme seems likely. Other possibilities are still being worked out.

I'm also in the middle of updating my website to try to get that looking better and similiar to the blog theme. You can find the website here. However I seem to have managed to get rid of an insane number of links. I'm putting them back in now, but if you click on a cover that doesn't go anywhere, please be patient :)

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Hard At Work - Available Now!

Hi everyone,

Just a quick post to let you know that Hard at Work is available now!

You can get it from the Resplendence Website and from All Romance E-books. I think it will appear on Amazon soon too :) It's also on Goodreads.

It's a Male/Male, BDSM, Erotic Romance - which I know will come as a huge suprise to anyone familiar with my work, lol. This particular one is a short story and set in an office.

It has a very nice cover. However, blogger still won't let me post pics. (That's one of the reasons I'll be moving to a new blogging platform next month. The new blog will have lots of covers posted!)

Hope everyone is having a great November!



Sunday 2 November 2014

November: Giveaways, a Free Story, Coming Soon News and Reviews!

Hello everyone :)

I'm posting the monthly news a day later than I'm supposed to, but not for the unsual reason (which is that I'm disorganised and the end of the month sneeks up on me). This time it was actually intentional, lol.

Tony's Move - a short story about Tony and Donovan from Worth a Shot - went live today. You can find it here as part of Amber Kell's birthday bash.

Leave a comment on that post and you'll be entered into a giveaway.

Which leads me neatly into the next piece of news. The giveaway is for titles I've written for Resplendence's Gems line. (That's 8 short stories if you only read MM, 11 if you read other gender combinations too.) 

This includes Hard at Work which will by released by Resplendence Publishing on November 12th.

Hard at Work is a Male/Male, BDSM short story set in the work place.

Here's the blurb:

Jake likes to think he’s a nice guy. He’s a kind and considerate boyfriend. He’s a firm but fair dom. He doesn’t let himself get stressed out without good cause.

But every guy has his breaking point. Jake’s been hiding an inappropriate erection from his boss for the last three hours. Enough is enough. It’s all Jake’s boyfriend, Danny’s, fault. Danny better have a good explanation, because Jake wants to hear it—right now!

You can read a tiny excerpt here.

And then onto results for last months giveaways:

Queer Romance Month winner: Elizabeth (9th Comment)

Boy Meets Boy Reviews winner: Jill (Also the 9th Comment)

E-mails will be turning up in your in boxes soon and thank you to everyone who commented.

What other news do I have?

Well, Axel's Pup is moving along nicely - I'm about three quarters of the way through the second draft. The more I work on it the more I love it - so that's good :)

Also, I'm thinking of doing some kind of giveaway for twitter followers - not sure what it will be or when it will happen, but if you want to follow me you can find me here.

And, one final thing - if you follow the different dramas that unfold on twitter, goodreads and writing blogs, you will probably be aware that a couple of different authors have been doing a host of weird, and very far from wonderful, things. (I'm not mentioning names because publicity is publicity.)

I tend to ignore these dramas because I don't have anything to say about them that hasn't already been said a lot of other places, but I've noticed quite a few posts in various places saying that if an author hasn't made a public statement saying which "side" they're on, they're assumed to be siding with the authors. 

So, here's my thoughts, for what they're worth. Stalking is wrong. It's wrong when a writer does it. It's wrong when anyone does it. There is no excuse for anyone turning up on a strangers doorstep uninvited, or for hitting someone over the head with a wine bottle! Also, bloggers have the right to blog, not blog, join a blackout, or do whatever else feels right to them. If you have any questions about what I think about it all beyond that, just ask :)

I've never formulated a "review policy", but I probably will soon. In the meantime the short version is this: 

I do sometimes read reviews for my work. If I see a nice review on twitter, I might favourite it and/or re-tweet it. If I see a nice review on goodreads, I might click like. If I know a reviewer, or if someone points out a review they've written, I might say "thank you for the review" or "I'm glad you liked it". That's it as far as responses go. 

If I see a bad review (and trust me, I've had ones that are pretty much as bad as you can get) - I don't comment, argue, respond, or do anything else. Same again, if you have a question about that, just ask :)

And, that's it - I'll be back on the 12th to talk about Hard at Work some more :)



Tuesday 21 October 2014

Being Other

This was intended to be another post related to Queer Romance Month, but I’ve gone kind of way off topic on this one. It’s turned out not to be so much about being queer as it’s about being “other”. I've mentally debated about whether or not to post it for over a week now, but here it is anyway...

There are a lot of different kinds of people who society treats as “other”. I fall into a couple of those groups.

I’ve mentioned on this blog before, that I have a few health issues. While my M.E. has never seen my completely confined to a wheelchair, there have been a lot of times when I’ve needed to use one when I leave the house.

As anyone who’s ever used a wheelchair knows, people treat you differently once you’re in a chair. You become invisible enough for people to walk into, or for them to accidentally hit you in the head with their hand bag when they turn around. But at the same time, you become someone other people want to keep their distance from—as if there is some suspicion that you might be contagious. Physical contact stops. People who would normally pause to chat suddenly cross the road to avoid you.

Several years ago, my parents and I went to see a show called La Cage Aux Folles. For those who don’t know it—it’s a fantastic musical. One of the main characters is Alvin who performs as a drag artist called Zaza. A lot of the show takes place in a night club and a fair number of the cast are drag performers in big elaborate costumes.

I went in my wheelchair. In this particular theatre, the wheelchair spaces were at the end of the fourth row from the stage.

In one part of this particular version of the show, the actors came down from the stage and moved along the end isles, shaking hands with the people sitting in the end seats.

I don’t know if the actors were gay or straight, if they identified in any way as queer, or if they’d ever done drag apart from in that particular show. What I do know is that, even when they saw the wheelchair, every one of those performers shook my hand—no hesitation.

I remember thinking—maybe these performers with their elaborate costumes and their huge drag queen wigs—maybe they know what it’s like for people to across the road to avoid them too. Maybe they get how much that hurts. Maybe that’s why they don’t do it to other people.

We were coming at it from very different places, but those performers and I were both “other” and that in itself can be a way to connect with people.

Now, I’m not saying that wheelchairs = queerness. Or that any minority who is seen as “other” should identify as queer.

But, I do think, in a good version of the world, people who are queer and people who are “other” in other ways should be on the same side.

Sometimes it does happen like that.

In America, you see mixed-race heterosexual couples marching in favour of same sex marriage because 60 years ago, their marriage would have been illegal too.

When same sex marriage was being debated in the UK, a straight Jewish man was interviewed on TV and he said he was in favour of it, because Jewish people and people in same sex relationships have both been discriminated against for far too long - and often by the same people.

I’ve found BDSM clubs are far more likely to be aware of the need for disabled access than vanilla venues are.

But sometimes the world gets screwed up and things go the other way.

You get signs like “don’t equate my skin with your sin”.

You get people who fight for women's rights who will only accept the existence of cis gendered women.

You get dating apps where a lot of gay men look for “straight acting” dates — where “no blacks, no Asians” is a common statement. So are comments like “no fats, no femmes” or “no HIV+”.

Go on a dating app for women who like women and you’ll see a lot of lesbians stating “bi women, don’t bother”.

In London Pride this year, bi people marching in the parade were heckled—by gay and lesbian people marching in the same parade.

Sometimes people are so focused on being angry that the world treats them as if they are “other”, they don’t realise that they’re doing exactly the same thing to other groups of people.

But those times when you connect—there’s so much power in that, so much humanity in that. If we can find a way to focus our energy on that, just think what the world would be like.

Imagine a world where no one ever crossed the road to avoid anyone just because they were different. It would be a nice world, wouldn’t it?

I think, in its own way Queer Romance Month is calling for that kind of world. I'm happy to be on the same side of the street as everyone involved in it.

You can read all the posts so far here.

And my post here.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, I have no idea how long this current run of over-sharing on my part will last either. I’ll probably go back to blogging once every blue moon at some point.

In the meantime, there’s more random over-sharing in an interview, and a giveaway, here.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Queer Romance Month

(The thoughts I’m trying to express in this blog are kind of still in development. Apologies in advance for anything that sounds wonky as a result.)

This month is Queer Romance Month.

Queer has always felt like an awkward word to me. When someone first mentioned the event to me, I’ll admit that my first thought was that I wished that the queer population had picked a different name to unite under. I’m not talking about the people who organised this particular event here (who, by the way, have turned out to be some of the loveliest people I’ve met in a long time). I mean decades ago. I’ve felt this way about the word for a long time.

Why call ourselves queer – a word that means odd and different?

You see, I’m not odd and I’m not different. Well, okay, I might be both things but neither has anything to do with me being bisexual. That’s always felt like the most natural thing in the world to me.

I get the theory of reclaiming words, but this particular word isn’t one that’s ever been used against me as an individual. I’m not sure it’s my place to reclaim it.

But, since, the generally accepted definition of queer encompasses everyone who isn’t heterosexual or cisgender, I also accept that I’m part of it. When people talk about queer people, they’re talking about people like me.

(As a side note, there are people like Julie Bindel (feminist lesbian journalist/activist) who reckon that queer actually refers to anyone who likes kinky sex. This definition amuses the hell out of me because I’m sure she meant it as an insult, but I find it completely impossible to see kinky as a bad thing. I’m very happy to be part of that group too!)

Anyway, I signed up to write a blog post for Queer Romance Month. I’ve done a couple of theme of the month/week/whatever events before. They generally follow a familiar pattern and the posts usually revolve around each author’s latest release.

This time my post ended up being a more personal post than I intended and focusing on my memory of a particular event from a few years ago. I have one of the world’s worst memories. If something happened more than twenty minutes ago, the chances are I won’t remember exactly who said what, where and when. But the emotions in my post – they are as true and as accurate as anything can be.

That’s what seems to be marking this event out as different to the ones I’ve taken part in previously. A lot of people are posting from the heart. Personal stories are being told and for me this event had become about something more important than selling books. (And trust me, when a writer says something is more important than books things are getting serious!)

I said at the start that of this post that I’m not fond of the word queer. There’s always been an exception to that. I’ve always thought it works well when people are expressing anger with the world.

There’s a T-shirt that says: “Not gay as in happy, but queer as in fuck you!” There were banners that were once popular at pride rallies which said: “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.” Those work for me.

I think this is because queer doesn’t feel like a statement of fact, like gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It’s more like a statement of pride and an unwillingness to let society break you when they force you into a mould.

As I’ve read more posts in and about the Queer Romance event, my thoughts on the word have changed and expanded. It still works as a statement of resistance, but it’s become a real statement of community for me too.

Maybe it is an awkward word, but it’s awkward like a hug between people who don’t know each other that well, but who still feel the need to embrace each other and hold on tight.

As a bisexual woman, I don’t often feel entirely welcome in the LGBT community, or in the M/M romance community if I’m honest. But the queer community, maybe that’s different. It feels like a community that says – if the world thinks you’re weird, that’s okay. We’re weird too. Come and be weird with us. We can be weird together.

There’s power in that. There’s a wonderful sense of acceptance in that. And there’s love in that.

The tag line for Queer Romance Month is “Love is Love”. I think the people involved in this event are all doing it right.

Please do click on the logo below and check out all the posts on the Queer Romance Month website.