I’m so happy I can finally share the cover of my new book! AWAY GAME comes out one month from today, in celebration of HOME TEAM's book birthday. Pre-orders are open, so please, tell all your friends and everyone else you know, and tell them to buy it!Set a month or so after the end of HOME TEAM (published 2013 by Dreamspinner Press), AWAY GAME continues the story of Zach, a sports writer, and Aaron, a professional hockey player. The Monarchs have made the playoffs, which means Zach is going on the road with the team. While they’re away, Zach runs into an ex-boyfriend, receives a job offer, and watches Aaron play to stay alive. Back home, they’re still avoiding the conversation about their future. Zach knows he wants to be with Aaron, but he doesn’t know if Aaron wants to come out. That’s what broke them up the first time, and it’s what threatens their relationship still.
AWAY GAME is a 45k word contemporary romance. Your download includes an ePUB, MOBI, PDF, and HTML version of the book, including extra short stories set in the world. Buy it now! Read it in September!
If you don’t want to miss a moment, signup for the newsletter. In the weeks leading up to launch day, I’ll be sharing excerpts and extras (in fact, I already did), as well as behind-the-scenes thoughts and answering any questions you guys have.
You asked for a sequel, and here it is. Thank you for helping to make this happen. I can’t wait for you to read it.
My friend, Sam, went and tagged me in this meme and described me as “someone who’s really figured out the internet game.” I don’t feel that way at all! I’m always the one who breaks the meme chain. Are you a writer? Do you want to answer some questions about writing? Please do.
What am I working on?
Right now, I’m on the last edit before I publish AWAY GAME, which is the sequel to last fall’s book, HOME TEAM. I’m publishing this one independently, which means I’m also working on writing a few more stories for when I launch my new publishing imprint, Billet-Doux Books. I have a few more ideas in the percolating stage, but that’s just how it always is.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I resisted publishing ebook romance, even though it was completely where my stories belonged, simply because the books I saw out there in the same genre were pretty terrible. The covers were awful, the editing was lax, the stories were generic. I spend a lot of time paying attention to the post-production stuff to make sure my books stand out in the crowded ebook world.
I’m also a contemporary writer, which is a bit unusual on the internet. Sci-fi/fantasy is still where the majority of the ebook audience lives. I don’t pretend to be a literary writer, but that’s where my influences come from.
How does my writing process work?
I make notes and outlines in my notebook first, but it all gets dumped into a new Scrivener doc pretty quickly. From there, I split up the story into thousand word chunks and start writing. When I have a good outline, I write pretty much linear, but if some scene is stalling me, it’s easy enough to write ahead and come back.
Why do I write what I do?
I wanted so badly to be the kind of writer who gets nominated for awards and goes on book tours and then Don McKellar makes a movie based on your book. But what I’m best at is shorter than the traditional publishing world wants. Luckily for me, I got into writing online in my late teens, and I got to watch the ebook world bloom to where it is today.
I write romance because I love characters more than plot. (But I’m working on plot!) I write romance for everyone who doesn’t see their own love story on the shelf at Chapters. I don’t read traditional romance, so I needed some years before I was okay with being “a romance writer”, but I love love stories.
Some writers love it. I think, perhaps, a lot more don’t. When I need a break from writing, I don’t sit down and think, YES, I will write a blog post. When I need a break, I take a walk, I play Subway Surfers on my phone, I draw with paper and pen. I need to do something completely different, and therefore, blogging falls further down the list.
This was my thinking when I started the newsletter a few months ago. I want to keep you guys in the loop (I don’t want you to miss my next book either!), but writing once a week here? Not going to happen. Sometimes I have bad writing weeks, and I don’t want to talk about it. The newsletter is a quick rundown of the month, what I’m thinking about, what I’m working on, what’s coming up. Bullet points and pictures. (You should sign up!)
But then I have actual news, and I forget to announce it here. :(
I sold another book! A TERRIBLE HUSBAND will be out early next year from Dreamspinner again. (I really love working with them. Fantastic experience. A+. Would recommend.) TERRIBLE HUSBAND started out as a 10k submission for an anthology and turned into my longest (to-be-)published book yet. It’s the story of a tenth anniversary trip to Ibiza and eating prawns on the beach. Kind of.
While you’re waiting for next year to come, I have another book nearing release. I’ll be publishing AWAY GAME this September to celebrate the book birthday of its prequel, HOME TEAM. I hadn’t planned to write a sequel, but you guys asked, I thought about it, and it turned out there was another story I wanted to tell. AWAY GAME will be published independently (there’s nothing there yet, but you can follow Billet-Doux Books on Twitter and Tumblr).
I’ve always made books, alongside writing them, and the tools and technology these days are great. I don’t believe that every writer needs to be a publisher (like I don’t believe that every writer needs to be an editor, but it helps). But the same way it’s good if you drive that you learn how to take care of your car, it’s good to explore these things. I just get excited about making things, and I want to make more books for you.
Last week, I printed out Away Game, the sequel to Home Team that I wrote last October. It’s not as bad as I remember! It needs some work, and an ending, then I need to figure out how to make a book, but I want to get it out as soon as possible. As long as the teams left in the Playoffs continue to take every series to seven games, I just might have a new story for you before someone claims the Stanley Cup.
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Stephen King writes a novella in between his novels. He talks about this in his collection, Different Seasons, about how he has enough writing energy leftover when he’s finished a novel to write something else, but not enough energy to write another novel. This is true. Finishing a project gives you a kind of boost I can’t explain. It’s a high, and you want to hang onto it as long as possible. Stephen Kings writes novellas as a bonus, but I write novellas as my main thing, so I write short stories in between.
This one—I figured it would take about a week. It’s been longer. My high ran out somewhere around 4k, and now it’s just the work of writing, and my brain is thinking, What’s next? What’s next? This, right here. This is next until it’s done. It’s only a few thousand words, and god knows what I’m going to do with it, but it’s a story that needs finishing. Finishing is everything. No matter how small your project, there’s a high waiting for you at the end, and it feels so good. Believe me.
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My schedule is different than every other “creative” person will advise you: I write in the afternoon. People will tell you to get up early and write in the morning. Write before you do anything else so your mind is clear. Write before work because you’ll be tired later.
But I am not a morning person. Not even when I was in school or had a regular job or the early shift. Any time I thought I was adjusting to waking up before 7, I was wrong, and as soon as my schedule changed, I was back to sleep.
I need a ramp. I need to hear other voices in my head, not only my own. I need something to eat in the morning. I need to get my fingers moving with some words that don’t matter. Then I can write. Then I can do my work. Then I feel like my eyes are open, and my mind is clear, and I have something to say. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t happen for me at 7 o’clock in the morning.
In my push to finish this ever-expanding novella for April, I forgot to mark the anniversary of my first publication. April 10th, 2013, A Great Rough Diamond was released. Since then, two more novellas, two more short stories, and a lot of words which, hopefully, you’ll be seeing soon. Thank you to everyone who has bought, read, rated, reviewed, or passed along a recommendation. It’s still weird for me to think of my books sorted next to so many famous names in your ereaders, but I’m going to keep writing, and maybe a few anniversaries from now, I’ll be more used to it. I hope you’ll still be reading.
Set yourself goals you know you can finish, but also massacre them some days.
On some days, making your daily 500 will be tough, but you’ll do it. String together a few of those 500 days, and soon you’ll be doing 600, 1200, and 2000 word days. Killing a 500 word day does far more for your sanity than struggling to constantly make 5000 word days. Spread your goal out. Let your words breathe.
"Write to the next milestone" is what has been working for me. It’s less about a number, and more about crossing a line. Scrivener counts two ways: once you set a total goal and a deadline, the program automatically calculates what you need to write each day to meet both. I have a third count because I write in sections of a thousand words. So each day, I want to finish a section, write the daily quota, and also see the total tick over to the next big number.
All of these tallies spur me on. If, at the end of my writing day, I see I’m less than 200 words from the next section, I’ll write it. Some nights, that’ll put me less than 100 words from the next big number. So why not write that, too? Each goal line I cross, brings the next one that much closer.
I’m writing something set in Ibiza, and when I googled for a local beer, I found this gorgeous bit of packaging. I had to put it into the story. Someone take me to Ibiza for a couple of Cerveza Isleñas on the beach.
The answer is no, because you’re going to ask, I’ve never been to Ibiza. I’ve never been to London either, where this story began (and might end. I haven’t decided yet). But there’s Google and Wikipedia and Yelp and Street View.
I had this picture in my head of one character leaving the hotel after a fight with the other, then deciding to get out of the taxi and walk into town. Ibiza proper is on a harbour, I knew that, so the picture in my head looked like Victoria, a harbour city I know well, on Vancouver Island, off the coast of my province, British Columbia. I wrote the whole thing as if the character was walking from the hotel side of the harbour, along the edge of the marina, and into the downtown core.
Then I looked at Ibiza in Google street view, and, amazingly, I was exactly right. Sure, the climate is a little different (or completely opposite), but the hotels are on one side, the city on the other, and there’s a marina in the middle.
There’s a lot to be said for writing what you know. But don’t let that scare you from trying something new. I don’t even like beer, but look how pretty.
A teaser, of course. I can’t leave you hanging without a little something.
"So, what’d you do?" Gina barely let him sit down before she started in.
"How do you know?" Andy thought about hiding in his menu, but her eyes had caught his, and there was no running. Gina was wiser than all of them. He was glad she was his friend, even when she looked at him like this. "What do you know?"
"Nat showed up for breakfast," she explained. Andy had figured as much. "They talked. Taylor said he feels bad."
Andy never wanted to make Nat feel bad. “I said something stupid,” he said. It was the easiest was to explain last night. His whole life, in fact.
"Let’s order. I need French fries with heartbreak."
The waiter brought them ice water. Andy was wearing his white uniform shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and he noticed how the waiter checked him out. Usually, that was nice. It was weird, and weirder when he was with Nat, but it was always flattering. It was the guys and girls who tried to buy him drinks when they were out at their bar that Andy couldn’t deal with. He always made Nat pick up the next round, while Andy hid in the booth.
Today, the waiter’s look made Andy roll his sleeves back down, buttoning the cuffs tight around his wrists.
"What is going on?" Gina asked.
He leaned across the table. It was supposed to be the lull between lunch and dinner, but the restaurant was packed. “Did you and Taylor have sex last night?”
Gina laughed. “Are you kidding? Of course we did.” She preened a little, running a hand through her long black hair. “We always have the best sex after the boys have one of their nights.”
That only made Andy feel worse. He wanted to lay his head on the table and disappear. “Last night,” he admitted, his face in his hands. “I told Nat I hate sex.”
I have a new story in the Torquere Valentine’s Day anthology! It’s called “Same Sex”, and, in keeping with the conversation hearts theme, it’s about Andy, who doesn’t know how to tell his boyfriend, Nat, that he’s not happy with their sex life.
I’m actually working on the final edits right now, so you should hit my ask box with all kinds of distracting questions! Maybe I’ll have a teaser to offer up later.
Reese meets his angel when Patrick auditions for the St. Luke’s Christmas Revue. The two men explore their fantasies in that same church, where Reese found his own awakening, so many years ago.
I made Patrick an aerials performer, because I was curious what kinds of things you could get up to with those long lengths of silk. Some very nice things, turns out. You can pick up this story right now, with eleven more to read before the twelve days of Christmas are over.
I come bringing presents! My next story will be published in this anthology from Ravenous Romance. It’s a little bit Christmas-y and a little bit bondage-y. Just in time for the holidays.