Rainbow Snippets 4/22/17 – New Story!

Hi everyone! I missed the last couple weeks of snippetting due to, well, frankly, a horrible period of self-doubt.

I started a new novel at the beginning of April, and it involves BDSM, which is something I don’t have much experience with. And one of the MCs is asexual, which is something I do have personal experience with, but that’s making it oddly more difficult to write because it’s personal.

Anyway, it took me a few weeks to decide that I don’t hate it and I’m fairly sure I’m going to finish it at this point (29,000 words later…), so I’ll start sharing. I don’t even have a working title yet. Goodness. These are the opening six lines.




I spotted Alex immediately based on Hannah’s description. Tall, with light brown hair styled in that “just woke up” intentional mess. Or maybe it was actually just a mess. A purple t-shirt and track pants did nothing to disguise his impressive musculature. As he chatted with a woman at the desk, his smile was quick and frequent. Yeah, I could see why my sister had wanted me to come ogle him.




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!

REJECTION

Well, my manuscript for Stray has received its first rejection!

I’m not disappointed (okay I’m a leeeetle bit disappointed, but not surprised). I was expecting a rejection. They even gave me some feedback!

I’ll treat you to a play-by-play of my emotional states as I went through this experience:

9:00pm – I see email in inbox. PANIC. Try to decide if I should just pretend I didn’t see it. That’ll make it go away right? No. No. You’re right. Okay. Need moral support. Send panicked message to friend. Friend demands I open it.

9:05pm – Nghhh. Rejection. Okay, this is okay, I expected this, it’s okay. Read the feedback.

9:10pm – Damn it. I should have revised more. I knew about one of these issues that they pointed out. I should have fixed it. It was not good enough. It is not good enough. I have failed. Dishonor on me, dishonor on my family, dishonor on my cow.

9:15pm – STOP THAT. NO. STOP THAT RIGHT NOW.

9:16pm – but…

9:17pm – NO. STOP. IT’S OKAY. GO WRITE. GO WRITE BEFORE YOU GET TOO DISCOURAGED WITH LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING TO EVER WRITE AGAIN. GET BACK ON THE HORSE AND ADDITIONAL CLICHES. DO THE THING.

9:18pm – *dejectedly stares at in-progress sequel to freshly-rejected book* but…

9:19pm – OKAY FINE, SET THOSE GUYS ASIDE. WRITE SOMETHING ELSE. WRITE YOUR SHORT STORY.

9:20pm – *buries the sadness under productivity… sorta*

I’ve spent the past few days in a state of contemplative blah, wondering if I should revise (AGAIN) before sending it off to the next place, or if I should just ship it away in its current state. One of the best writing teachers I’ve ever had advised me to send it off and see what the next place says, so that’s the plan now. I started re-researching other publishers last night. Torquere and Samhain are both closing, which I find alarming, especially after that All Romance debacle recently. The publishing industry is scary enough without publishers folding left and right. Torquere was the first m/m publisher I discovered when I started getting into this genre, so that one’s a double punch in the gut.

One of the great things about this rejection, though, is how positive everyone has been about it. I posted on Twitter and Facebook about it, and I have received so many “welcome to the club” sentiments and back-pats and encouraging words (from published authors!), I can’t even be a little bit sad (okay I can but I’m not letting it get to meI AM NOT LETTING IT GET TO ME I AM NOT).

I said when I started this blog that I wanted it to be a bit of a road map to publication. First stop was Dreamspinner and they rejected me. Next I make my meandering way down the list. I struggle because my book is lengthy (140,000ish words) and a few romance publishers seem to cap it at 120k. I’m disqualified from even attempting there. I am reluctant to try the really small presses after seeing longstanding ones flop. I am further limiting it if I look at the publisher’s Twitter page and they never post.

My list consists of three choices right now. I think they all allow simultaneous submissions (Dreamspinner doesn’t), so over the next couple weeks I’ll be putting together materials to ship Stray off to all of them at once. Might as well just rip off the band-aid. Let the rejections pour in upon me like a plague of frogs from heaven.

What I Love About Writing

You know how sometimes in life, there’s a thing, and for the most part it’s commonplace and you take it for granted, but then occasionally you think, “…Wow, this is actually really fucking awesome. Literally a mind-blowing cause of awe. Like woah.”

Examples: airplanes. cell phones. the internet. THAT SHIT IS SO COOL. HOW DOES IT WORK? I KNOW THERE’S SCIENCE INVOLVED BUT TO ME IT SEEMS LIKE WITCHCRAFT.

That happens to me with writing sometimes. I write every day, and I have been writing every day for years. Plotting, character development, revision, all of that is commonplace in my life. Maybe it is in yours, too.

But every once in a while, I have this moment of delirious awe about writing. Here I am with this pile of words–87,000 in my current WIP–that are strung together to tell a story. This story ONLY EXISTS because I wanted it to. Because I decided to take the time and devote the energy to birthing it. Sometimes, things in that story need to be changed, but others need to stay the same, so you start cutting great swathes of words out of your draft and adding different words in, and you weave these two separate parts back together in the loom of your mind, with the thread of your words, and no one else could do this the same as you. No one else would write this exactly like you will.

What really blows my mind is when you need to tweak things–remove a minor character, or combine a couple minor characters into one, or rearrange a scene so that the same events happen but at a different location. And YOU CAN DO THAT. You can just magically POOF, shift some words around and BAM, no more George, or BAM, suddenly George and Gloria have combined to form Georgia, a new and better and more efficient character, or BAM, suddenly that dinner scene in Chapter 4 is at a classy Italian restaurant instead of a character’s dining room.

And no one knows! You just changed the fabric of reality! You just DELETED A PERSON’S EXISTENCE. You just lifted characters out of their house and plopped them into an eatery and they continued having the same conversation they were having back at their scuffed up dining room table. And no one will have any idea because you go taka taka taka, and then that’s just how it is.

It’s just really cool.

What’s your favorite thing about writing? Or, for my non-writer followers, is there anything commonplace in your life that just occasionally blows your mind? Drop me a comment!

Featured image credit: Tatyana Chaiko

Music and Writing – The Chicken or the Egg?

Every week, I do my best to participate in as many writing-related Twitter chats as I can. They’re fun, interactive, and they get my brain moving in different directions. A recent #writerspatch chat focused on playlists for writing. Questions included things like “How does music affect your writing process?” and “What is your favorite genre of music to listen to while writing, and why?” My favorite question was probably “Will your playlist affect your story, or will your story affect your playlist?”

For me, the answer is the latter. I listen to music almost constantly–probably around 12 hours a day. What I listen to depends on what I’m writing. When I wrote the first draft of Stray, over four years ago, I had just discovered Maroon 5, and I listened to their Hands All Over and Overexposed albums on a loop for months. Nothing else. No other bands. Nothing. When I first drafted the sequel to Stray, I listened to Bastille’s Bad Blood album on loop so many times I have flashbacks anytime I hear Dan Smith’s voice.

Since then, I’ve moved on to individualized playlists for characters. When I’m creating new characters, one of the first things I do for them is build a themed playlist. Andrew’s playlist is Fitz & the Tantrums, OK Go, Kongos, and Foster the People. Trystin gets classic rock and solo piano instrumentals. It helps me get into their heads. When I was pre-writing for NaNoWriMo, I spent an entire day at work switching between Pandora stations trying to figure out what my MC would listen to. After much station-hopping, I stumbled upon Milky Chance, Radical Face, The Head and the Heart, and The Decemberists, and knew I had found his home.

I’ve noticed recently that when I am working on a certain set of characters, my brain automatically craves the music I associate with them. Even if I’m not physically writing at the moment, if I’m at work or driving or just doing chores around the house, my brain (always writing in the background, let’s be real) just feels like listening to Ok Go. Or Mozart. Or Bastille. When I shift gears to work on a different WIP, whether I am consciously deciding or not, I suddenly crave a different kind of music.

What do you guys listen to when you write? Do you find that your playlists differ depending on the characters, or do you listen to music more for the overall ambience of a scene? Or does it even matter?

Rainbow Snippet – 1/14/17 – Andrew

Happy Saturday everyone! Here’s my Rainbow Snippet for the week!

This is Andrew’s POV. Trystin has come to visit him in the hospital…



“I have a spare bedroom. It’s yours if you take my job offer.”

It took a second for the words to sink in, and when they did, I had no idea how to respond. My mouth hung open as I stared at him.

“You look surprised.”

“Yeah,” I said. Here was a millionaire, or billionaire, I didn’t know, offering me a job and a place to live. I knew virtually nothing about him, and he knew even less about me.



 

Thanks for reading!!!

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!

Becoming A Writer

Earlier this week, I read parts of a discussion on Josh Lanyon’s facebook page about changes in the writing/publishing world over the past few years (perhaps this is specific to the m/m romance genre, but perhaps not). Basically, Josh has noticed a trend of people going from readers to read-and-reviewers and then to writers themselves–the idea being that self-publishing and the internet have made it a lot easier for anyone to try their hand at the “writing” game.

I thought this was interesting. It made me think of how many different “paths” there are to become a writer, so I thought this week I would share an abbreviated history of myself as a writer.

When I was a wee sprite of a thing, I used to draw cartoons and tell stories on construction paper. These stories always featured Sonic the Hedgehog and his pals. I have no idea what the plots were, but since I was 4-5 years old, I imagine they were deeply introspective and profound. My mother still has these wonderful pieces of literature in a box in her basement. If anyone is interested, I’ll ask her to drag them out and scan me a few pages to share.

In second grade, I wrote stories in school for a project (the whole class did). I recall getting a compliment on one. It was about a fox. I also wrote one about a jellyfish whose kitchen cabinets were haunted, I think.

Fast forward to age 11, when I discovered anime.

…Need I say more? I think a lot of people in my age group have similar origin stories.

Within two days of discovering Dragonball Z, I wrote my first Dragonball Z fanfic. Things spiralled out from there. I wrote and published on fanfiction.net . The stories are still there. Don’t ask me for my screen name because I will take that secret to my grave.

The point to all this is that, for me, writing has always been in me. I enjoy reading, yes. If there is a writer in existence who does not enjoy reading, I feel sorry for them. But writing has been my first and foremost passion since I was old enough to string letters into words on paper. Writing is ingrained in the very fibers of my being. I write for myself and no one else–I have never cared if I have an audience, never cared if people liked my writing, never felt the need to seek validation from the opinions of others. It’s just something I do. Eat, sleep, write. I write, therefore I am. Or perhaps, I am, therefore I write?

But I know a lot of people don’t function that way. Not everyone has been writing since they could hold a crayon. A lot of people make that reader-to-writer transformation. A lot of people have an idea in their head for twenty years but never write a word.

So I’m curious. For those of you who write, how did you end up on this path? Are you a lifelong writer, or fairly new to the process? What nudged you to finally put words on the page for that idea you’ve been harboring? Let me know in the comments!

Rainbow Snippet 2 – Andrew

Happy Saturday everyone, and happy holidays! Here’s my Rainbow Snippet for the week!

POV SWITCH! This is first-person POV from Andrew, the man Trystin was thinking about in last week’s snippet. Andrew has a tough life. Poor guy.



I looked at the man’s reflection as he looked at me. His slouchy presence looked wrong there, next to the clean tile walls and sleek black countertops. On the outside, I looked right—I cleaned up well—but my insides were a turbulent sea. Alcohol made it easy for me to kiss strangers, go home with strangers. Alcohol naturally made me more physical. But nothing ever quelled the fear and guilt that came from stealing.



 

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out the group at the link above to find snips from other authors! Check back next week for more.

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!