Rainbow Snippets – 4/29/17 – Trustfall

Hi everyone!

I thought up a working title for this piece! I hate it, but it’s better than just calling it “new story” all the time, so we’re going with “trustfall” since a huge part of this novel revolves around trust. I think “trust fall” is actually two words but I’m exercising creative license here and making it one.

Last week, in the first six lines of the novel, POV character Saul was “ogling” a handsome man his sister had told him about. These lines (slightly more than 6, sorry) pick up right after that.




Speaking of my sister… I glanced around, but didn’t see her. Ah well. The man I presumed to be Alex walked around the desk then to head elsewhere, and I caught him with a light touch on his forearm.

“Excuse me.”

He stopped and turned, polite smile in place. “Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for my sister Hannah. Supposed to be picking her up.”

His eyebrows went up and he gave me a quick once-over, taking in my black slacks and tie. “You’re Saul?”

I wasn’t sure what to think of the surprise on his face after that once-over, but I smiled. “Someone’s been talking about me. And I’m willing to bet you’re Alex.”

An adorable reddish flush crept up his cheeks. “Guess someone’s been talking about me, too.”

“She talks a lot.”




Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!

Rainbow Snippets 3/25/17 – Shipwrecked

Hi everyone! I hope the weather is as nice where you are as it is here. I think we’re FINALLY, REALLY, ACTUALLY GETTING SPRING. I bought seed starter trays and seeds and potting soil yesterday. I am ready.

I have lots going on today. I’m going to the zoo with my stepmom to do an “animal encounter”–pretty sure we’re going to pet an otter. I’m psyched.

Then I’m dying my hair purple. Pics will be on Twitter and Facebook (unless I butcher it, then Twitter and FB will be full of “OH GOD I RUINED IT” posts)

This snippet is picking up immediately after last week’s. Morgan followed Captain Belmont to his cabin, where the captain asked, “Do you want something from me?”




“N-no sir.”

“Are you sure?” He took off his hat and set it aside.

“Y-yes sir.”

Belmont smiled. I don’t think I had seen him smile even once, even briefly, in the week I’d been on board. “Watching you work has made me want something from you, though, Morgan.”

“It has?”

He nodded, a smirk still on his face, and pulled his shirt over his head.




Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!

Writing M/M Romance – Why?

I am a straight[ish] married chick, and I write m/m romance. I recently asked for blog post topic suggestions on Twitter, and I had someone suggest/ask “Why m/m romance?”

This is a question I’ve seen thrown at other m/m romance authors, and it’s a question I’ve wondered about myself on a few occasions. Why are all my characters gay? Why am I, a straight-ish female, constantly writing about two men doin’ it? Why can’t I just write some nice straight m/f romance that my mother wouldn’t be shocked by?

To be honest, I can’t really answer the “why” of this. Why do all my characters end up gay? I don’t know, why do your characters end up straight? I don’t make an active choice for them to be gay, they just pop into my head and say, “Hey, lady, I like dick.” and I go, “Okay, let me create a handsome dick-bearing love interest for you, dear.”

I can tell you why I read m/m romance, and I suppose the “why” of writing it is the same, or at least partially so. I like to read m/m romance because 1) it’s hot, and 2) I enjoy the power dynamics in a m/m couple more than a m/f couple. M/M romance allows/forces men to be portrayed outside their “typical” gender roles, and I find that intriguing.

Let me start out with why I don’t read m/f romance. I hardly ever read fiction featuring a female protagonist in general. I have realized this about myself and am actively working to read more female-led fiction. As someone who calls herself a feminist, avoiding female protagonists is a huge character flaw of mine. I will probably never read m/f romance, but I want to read more female-led fantasy, scifi, urban fantasy, etc. “Why,” you may ask, “do you, as a woman, pointedly avoid female protagonists?”

Well, I’m trying not to anymore, like I said. But it’s hard. I have issues with female-led fiction. So often in writing, women fall into some kind of pigeonhole where no matter how tough they are, they need to be saved by a man. Or the second a man shows up, they’re overwhelmed with attraction to him and are suddenly not so tough anymore or are terribly misguided because of their feelings.

It’s bullshit. Maybe some women are that way. Maybe some women see a hot guy and suddenly can’t think of anything but boning him. I, personally, couldn’t care less about boning hot guys, and if I was a tough female protagonist, I would have better shit to do than swoon because a handsome muscular man swaggered into my life. Perhaps my strong aversion to female swooning is because I’m ace and don’t identify with the need/desire for sex. Perhaps what I need is asexual female protagonists. (know of any? throw me some recs in the comments. please.)

Oddly enough, I can handle this kind of behavior from a man… because this is not a male pigeonhole. Needing to be saved, being distraught with emotion, etc, are not typical male roles, and you don’t typically see them portrayed in straight male characters. Guys feel the need to act tough. Society drills that bullshit into their heads from a young age (“boys don’t cry,” “man up,” “be a tough guy”) Women are allowed/expected to be emotional and sensitive. When the couple does not involve a woman, there isn’t an “easy out” for emotional events to occur–in m/f couples, women are clearly the more emotional, so they clearly are the ones to start all the fights, cry over dumb shit, and force conversations to occur around tough topics. In m/m couples, these guys have to navigate the emotional waters of a relationship without the aid of an always-more-emotionally-aware woman.

This also leads to interesting power dynamics. In m/f couples, if the woman holds the power in a relationship, the guy is often seen as “whipped” or somehow weak for letting a woman have control over him. In m/m relationships, there’s no gender-related socially-imposed “power.” They’re both men, so they’re on equal footing in the eyes of society. I like that in m/m romance, men often struggle with figuring out the emotional aspects of relationships and that in order to be a healthy couple (which is the goal in romance, after all), they have to kick through that socially-imposed idea that men can’t be soft, can’t be emotional, can’t be “weak.”

So that’s my answer for why I write m/m romance, I suppose. Or at least, that’s my answer for why I read it. And I guess the fact that I read it is why I write it. I used to try to fight my characters, to make them straight. I did it for classes in high school and college. I still recall my high school creative writing teacher suggesting to me that I include more female characters in my writing… so I gave my MC a female love interest. And yet, every time I wrote a scene between the MC and the male antagonist, the damn antagonist flirted. Mercilessly. I kept writing what I call “character exploration” scenes (scenes that don’t make it into the novel, but are just hypothetical situations to see what shakes loose if I put the MC in this position) and no matter what happened, the antagonist and MC ended up hate-fucking and/or eventually falling into grudging love with each other. No matter what I did, they ended up a couple. I never did finish that novel. I have another novel I tried to write in college, a scifi story, and it contained a female love interest, and… I never finished it, either. I tried to do NaNoWriMo back in 2013 with a no-romance fantasy story, and I bet you can guess what happened with that one.

So I gave up. I write m/m romance, and that’s just all there is to it. My muse demands the dicks, and so my muse gets the dicks. You cannot deny the muse.

What do you guys write? Does it call to you with an irresistible urge and no matter what else you try to write, it just doesn’t work?

 

Rainbow Snippets – 3/18/17 – Shipwrecked

Hi everyone! How is everyone doing? I’m not bad. Glad it’s the weekend and ready for warmer weather…

I finished a first draft of this story earlier this week. It ended up being just barely over 6,000 words. It’ll probably get a bit longer after I revise it, but most of the publishers I’ve looked at don’t want anything this short unless it’s for a themed anthology, and I’m not finding any calls for submission that this story would fit. So I’m not sure what to do with it. I could put it up on my blog here, I could self-pub on Amazon I suppose? If anyone has suggestions, I’ll take ’em.

Anyway, this snippet follows right after last week’s. Morgan (POV character) has followed the captain to his cabin. Enjoy. 😉




“What can I do for you, sir?”

“I actually brought you here to see what I can do for you, Morgan.”

“Sir?”

“You spend an awful lot of time looking at me, don’t you? I’m beginning to feel that you have some desire which I am not fulfilling.”

Oh God, he’d noticed.




Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!

Nothing Wrong with Writing Romance

I am one of those oddities who actually got a degree in creative writing, because I followed the advice of “go to school for something you love” and not worry about making money. Happiness is more important than dollars. Here’s the thing: One of the biggest impacts my CW program had on me was to instill a deep-seated insecurity about my chosen writing genre(s). I didn’t really realize it at the time, but now, years after graduation, it has dawned on me that while teaching me some important lessons, it was also subconsciously cutting me down. The entire fiction program was focused on getting us into grad school, and Grad Schools Don’t Want Genre Fiction. They Want To Know You Can Write Real, Literary Fiction.

So I spent three years not writing scifi, not writing fantasy, and not writing romance.

Don’t ask me what the hell I did write, because I honestly don’t remember. I wrote specifically to get a grade, and tossed the pieces to the side as soon as I could. When people asked me what I liked to write, I would reluctantly admit scifi/fantasy. I never admitted I wrote romance, let alone gay romance. Writing romance is like, ugh, bottom of the barrel in skill-level, as far as my creative writing program was concerned. Anyone can write romance.

Right?

Right?

WRONG.

Fuck that!

Do you know how much bad romance I’ve encountered? And I don’t mean the kind with weird outfits.

bad-romance-2
The more I watch this gif, the more I wonder if these ladies were really meant to be flailing around so haphazardly.

I never wanted to go to grad school for writing. That was never in my end goal. The entire program was devoted to teaching me how to do something I never planned to do, and in its pursuit of preparing me for a goal I did not want to achieve, it taught me that the things that I did want to do Weren’t Good Enough.

Ugh, no, no, no. I graduated from that program in 2012. It has taken me five years to get over that and embrace who I am and what I write. It took me finding the m/m romance genre–specifically starting with Josh Lanyon, and realizing that holy shit, there are authors who write this, exclusively this, extensively this. And write it well. Josh Lanyon uses some really great figurative language, beautiful descriptions, strong dialogue, realistic emotion–all that kind of shit my creative writing program encouraged me to write as “literary fiction.” There it is, all those Good Things… in a book featuring gay romance as a major element of the plot.

Well hot damn.

And look! There are all these other authors that do the same thing! I found Aleksandr Voinov next–gay scifi romance?! Oh my god. THIS. IS. A. THING. I. CAN. DO! THIS IS A REAL THING! THIS EXISTS. PEOPLE DO THIS. PEOPLE DO WHAT I WANT TO DO. AND THEY HAVE FANS.

Count me in!

There is absolutely nothing shameful in writing romance. I’m still getting over that preconception. I don’t go gallivanting around talking about my writing in real life, because that’s annoying, but I do mention it in passing (given the fact that I spend 98% of my free time doing it, it’s hard for me to hold a conversation without mentioning it). To my great relief, no one really ever asks what I write. But if/when they do, I always hesitate before admitting to romance. Based on blog posts I’ve read off and on over the past few months, I’m not the only one who is afraid of some kind of stigma surrounding the title of “romance writer.”

But I noticed this weird thing when I did start admitting it: No one fucking cares.

No one judges me for it. No one thinks I am any less of a skilled writer than if I was trying to write a modern To Kill a Mockingbird or Great Gatsby. In fact, the average person is probably more interested in romance than “literary fiction.” People read romance. People identify with romance. Most people read for fun and entertainment, not to get some kind of deep message ingrained into their souls. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing specifically and exclusively for entertainment. As it would turn out, only people who teach creative writing to college students are going to think that my chosen genre of writing in any way reflects on my skills as a writer overall.

This year I’m all about self-love and embracing who I am. As it just so happens, I’m a lady who writes gay romance, and the only thing you can judge me by is the quality of my writing.

Which isn’t published anywhere yet.

So good luck judging me.

(If you really want to judge me, I suppose you can go based off my blog. Bring it on. I’ll fight you.)

I’m curious about your experiences with talking about your writing. Do your friends and family know what you write? Do you feel like there’s a stigma around the romance genre?

 

Rainbow Snippets – 3/11/17 – New Story

Hello hello! How is everyone doing this fine Rainbow Snippets Saturday?

I’ve started a new short story! A first draft of Jigs and Reels is complete and I’m letting it simmer while I write a first draft of this new story. The plan is basically to just keep leapfrogging stories through writing/editing phases. Write the first one, let it simmer, write a second, edit the first, send it out, write a third, edit the second, send it out, etc… And at some point I need to start editing the novel draft I wrote during NaNoWriMo last November… Ugh, what’s the saying? Got my fingers in too many pots? Too many jars? I don’t know.

Anyway, this new story is something different for me. It’s a historical setting with most of the story taking place on a privateer’s vessel in the 1600s? ish? It’s not going exactly as planned… I came up with the idea around Halloween. I wanted it to be a suspense thing, but of course I am incapable of writing anything that doesn’t involve two men loving each other, so it’s a suspense…. romance… with pirates…? But the “suspense” aspect is difficult for me. I don’t write horror or thrillers or psychological stuff so it’ll need some work. But yay trying new things!

ANYWHO, THE SNIPPET. The POV character is named Morgan. He’s been on the captain’s ship for just under a week. Working title is Shipwrecked.




The captain left the helm and came down the stairs towards me. He wore no shoes—most of us wore no shoes—and his trousers had been rolled up to expose most of his lower leg. Tanned, muscular lower leg with thick black hair. I tried not to stare. There was no privacy at sea and I did not fancy the idea of satisfying my desires tonight in my hammock, surrounded by the rest of the crew.

“Come with me.”




Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!

GRL 2017

Well I registered for GRL 2017 (aka GayRomLit / Gay Romance Literature Retreat) last weekend. I’ll be attending as a general attendee, not as an author, being as I have nothing published [YET. #GOALS]. I will be attending alone, because I have no friends in real life.

*wait a beat… let them question how sad my life really is… okay go*

Just kidding, I have friends. They just aren’t in this genre and/or are not comfortable with the financial aspects of a shindig like this.

I am not really sure what happens at a GayRomLit retreat. I am not sure what happens at any sort of “retreat.” I don’t like going into situations where I don’t know exactly what’s going to be happening. Spontaneity is not my thing. As you may know, I have anxiety, so doing something like this alone is ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY TERRIFYING. But at the same time, really exciting, and I feel pretty confident I can handle myself with minimal breakdowns and/or panic attacks. It is very likely, however, that I will say something stupid to someone and dwell on it for the next 15 years.

thats-how-i-roll

Can you ever eventually get over anxiety? Like, could I someday actually not have anxiety? Because if that’s possible, I may be taking steps in that direction. Signing up for GRL alone is immersion therapy. Maybe this time next year I won’t be such a mess.

I do want to tell you a funny story on that note. Sometimes I have “anxiety dreams” when something big is going to happen in my life, and I dream that everything goes horribly wrong. I had them before my wedding, I had them about my new house, I’ve had them about new jobs. So one night last week, I had a dream that I flew to Denver for GRL early–like, now. I had no money for food, I forgot to rent a car, I didn’t tell my friend who I’ll be staying with that I was arriving, and as it would turn out, Denver had relocated to Hokkaido, Japan, and I had to wade through chest-deep snow to get from the plane to the terminal, and no one spoke English.

So… clearly I’m nervous about this.

The outpouring of support as soon as I posted in the GRL2017 attendees’ FB group was amazing and did wonders to assuage my nerves. I’m looking forward to it, beneath all the nervousness. Hopefully by the time October rolls around, I’ll have something(s) published. I have one short story/novella in the works, another on deck, and a third drifting in the ether with just a single scene clear in my mind. Plus I have my urban fantasy novel from NaNoWriMo awaiting revision. Surely something there will be publishable! Right? RIGHT? Ugh.