Sunday Small Talk

So I was lucky enough to get in on Dreamspinner’s Kiss a Ginger sale. Temple, one of my three demon hunters in 1930s Pittsburgh is a lovely redheaded bisexual (who sadly has some big trust issues among other things like PTSD not that they had that word for it in 1930). Not only is the sale going well for that one but also for the other Soldiers of the Sun series books. In fact DSP is having a 30% off sale on top of this one so now is a great time to get something of mine!

soldiers-of-the-sun
Here’s the blurb to Soldiers of the Sun (which you can find at that link)

BlurbCaleb Davies and Agni Pradesh are worried about their teammate and lover, Temple Chevalier. Not only has he lost his long-time partner, Fu Li, but he nearly died fighting a demon himself. Also, Temple isn’t sure he’s ready for a new teammate after Li. Caleb and Agni are even more concerned that their three-way relationship with Temple exists less because he loves them and more because he’s hiding from the pain of Li’s loss.

1932 shapes up to be a terrible year for the Soldiers as they welcome the New Year fighting demons and then end up investigating a case that pairs them up with the Knights Templar. This would normally be a good thing, but it forces Temple to face his painful past. Worse yet, the case leads right to Astaroth, a Prince of Hell, who might prove to be an unbeatable foe.

I’ve started looking at some of my finished short stories and novellas as I try to find them homes. The first time I opened the one set in Cassadaga I found it was shorter than I thought but upon reopening it today either I had found a very old version or Word glitched. It’s not 12K but 21K which means it’s long enough for a few things. I might send it off to an anthology looking for summer heat (it is in Florida). Unfortunately the solarpunk anthology is very specifically winter and my story hinges on it being autumn. Ah well, the search continues. The deadwood one is just under 15K

And here’s the thing, I don’t see me expanding them to novella length to sell on their own. I actually DID that with Cassadaga when people were asking for 20K to be the lower limit but now it’s 30K. These stories would probably just end up being bloated and not up to snuff if I tried expanding them (also mentally it’s hard to expand something that feels DONE. So I’m on the lookout for solarpunk, shifter and urban fantasy/paranormal open calls.

I appreciate that DSP has their Christmas open call already up. It’s snowing as I type and that put me in the mood way better than I’d be if this was June like half the holiday open calls are. I think I’ll take another stab at that. Wish me luck.

And now some writing links Hopefully I hadn’t shared all of these before (Bookbaby is definitely recycling links at this point)

Things I Wish I Had Known Before Self-Publishing My Book

Words That Carry Maximum Weight: Tropes In Storytelling

The Importance of Setting In Your Story
I’m big on this one

Five Things You Need As You Begin A Career As A Self-Published Author

How To Read, Edit, and Evaluate Your Writing With Fresh Eyes

New Novelist? Plan Your 2019

Author Incomes: Not Great, Now or Then

Rest for Success & Why Busy is Seriously Overrated

Want Authorly Superpowers? Build a Street Team!

4 Things You Should Know Before You Quit Writing Your Novel

The Different Types of Editing Explained

Six Reasons the Fire Nation Is Such a Good Villain This is good!

Six Common Wordcraft Mistakes in Manuscripts guilty so guilty

PODCAST
204 – Bad Wordcraft Devices
Soldiers of the Sun

Rainbow Snippet

Survived week one of work but still no signs of whether or not I have my sabbatical for next year.

Here’s a little more of my WIP These Haunted Hills It’s more of Brendan’s conversation with his ex, Kristen.

In spite of his protestations about being good, he could still hear the worry and pain in her tone. “I can do that. Besides we might be going ghost hunting at night soon anyhow.”

“I can almost picture you bouncing around like a little boy.”

At that his heart clenched. Kristen went silent, no doubt feeling the same pain. If it was this bad for him he could only guess at the pain she felt losing the son she had sheltered inside her body.

He forced a smile into his voice. “I am. Joshua and I even went looking for foxes in the woods around my cabin.”

She laughed. “You in the woods? I still can’t picture it. What brought that on?”

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

Sunday Small Talk

A few years back I was talking with Shira Anthony at a conference and she said something along the lines of writing contemporary LGBT romances allowed her to write the genre SF/F/UF sorts (I should mention this was an anime con and all of us there are obviously genre fans).

For me this was a few novels ago and didn’t quite have the experience yet to appreciate that statement. I do now, though the reality of it makes me a little sad. For example, Blood Red Roulette (urban fantasy, vampires) took me years, I poured my heart into it. I wish I could say it is selling like gangbusters but it’s not where I’d like it to be (I’m surprised a little by it given the gorgeous cover and that vampires tend to be popular). On the other hand, Purrfect Holiday, my contemporary short story is selling very well.

That statement from the con reverberates in my head. Contemporary romance is what sells. Granted I knew this but it has taken a long while for me to realize just how much better it sells. That’s where my sadness comes in. Unlike some of my genre-loving friends, I don’t also like contemporary fiction much.

There is an old writing chestnut that we’ve all heard of ‘write what you know’ which most of us have changed to ‘write what you love’ (because if you love it, you’ll research it and then you’ll know it). This is where my problem begins. I don’t love contemporary romance so it makes it hard for me.

It’s difficult to write a contemporary romance to give you something in the bank while you write your genre novel when you don’t love it. Short stories are easy enough but to do something longer, you have to love it or it will show.

It’s an uncomfortable feeling for me. I wish I could be easier with writing contemporary fiction, that I could learn to like it more. I’ve tried. I’ve read it by my favorite genre authors but even liking the author hasn’t helped. It’s just not in my field of interest.

So I guess that just leaves me one avenue: to write what I love and to buy and help promote what I love so the other authors who write it can have a little more success of their own.

And maybe from the contemporary shorts I do write, maybe I’ll find readers who will be willing to take a chance on my genres down the road.

In the meantime, have some writing links
The Significance of Setting (I’ve talked about this one myself)

17 Literary Podcasts to Ease Your Commute

My 20-Step Plan to Writing a Book: Part 1 (Steps 1-10) (I’ve noticed that Bookbaby is starting to recycle their links a lot so I don’t have that many new ones to share)

And from my friend:

How to Promote Your Book for Free (much of it is newsletter related but I’m not so sure that works well. I honestly don’t read 90% of the ones I get).

Writer Jay Odjick with some words of advice to his 19-year-old self

The Inner/Outer Balance

Questions to Consider When Plotting a Scene I really like this one.

Trends For Authors And Creative Goal Setting 2019

A Field Guide to Six Infectious YA Clichés

Rainbow Snippets

Now that the holidays are over maybe I won’t be rushing at the last minute to read everyone’s stuff.

Cross your fingers for me. I might get the chance to be on the author panels at the Steampunk Symposium this year. It would be such fun.

I’m picking back up with my WIP because I need to get inspired to finish it. It’s These Haunted Hills which I haven’t shared from since Sept. It’s a paranormal story set near where I live in Ohio. Josh is a professor at a local college studying foxes and is a ghost hunter in his spare time. Brendan is a world famous author who lose his son to cancer and is just now tiptoeing back out into the world and is researching ghost hunting for his new novel.

This is set the evening of Brendan’s first big ghost hunt and he’s checking in with his ex, Kirsten. She’s worried about his mental state (i.e. running off to a cabin in the deep woods). In spite of their break up they remain close friends (they couldn’t make it work after losing their son).

“Brendan, how are you?”

“Pretty fantastic. Josh took me to a haunted hotel, the abandoned one I’m using as the inspiration for the book.”

“You went crawling through an abandoned building? Is that safe?”

“No, I’m sure it’s not but it was a wild ride!” He mixed a load of garlic into his ground meat along with cheddar. “A ghost threw a board at us.”

“Are you high?”

“No, well we shared a bottle of wine but I’m dead serious. We have it on recording, Kristen. It was like the best episode of Ghost Hunter ever!”

The pause on her end stretched a bit too long. “You can’t be serious. Brendan, do we need to set you up to see Dr. Potter again.”

“I don’t need the psychiatrist,” he replied, more crossly than necessary.

“It’s just that you never believed in that sort of thing and now you sound…well over the moon. Really it’s good to hear you this excited but ghosts?”

Brendan could picture her face as she said that. Her face crinkled up in such a cute way. She meant it to be stern but Kristen’s fine features just couldn’t pull it off. “I know, I know but seriously it was such an adrenaline rush. Swear to God, I thought I was going to crap myself when the door slammed shut and wouldn’t open!” He could almost taste his terror again remembering it, shocked that he wanted more of the same, so much more of it.

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

Guest Post -Always Forward! Never Straight

Hello and Happy New Year!
Thank you, Jana, for having me to celebrate the start of 2019 and the release of my latest MM Romance!

Bryan, the main character in Always Forward! Never Straight, is a nerd. That’s what he calls himself, anyway. To the rest of the world (the story world!) he’s a tech whiz hermit, so I had to give him something cool to invent. Every tech start-up has to have an idea, a spark that sets them apart from the others. But I’m no tech whiz (although I do love tech toys!) so I went through a few ideas before deciding which one would be BaxCo’s signature, their golden ticket to start-upsville. Here are two of those, deleted from early drafts, as described by Bryan.

“My Voice” app that filters your voice with the press of a button. Actually, it’s a sliding scale. You drag your finger between “male: young” and “female: young” and the other scale drags between “male: mature” and “female: mature”. There’s a setting for everyone on “MyVoice” and you can have more than one pre-set too, to cover you no matter who you’re talking with.

“Just Friends” app matching LGBTQIA+ users for things like concerts and movie nights, all without actually outing anyone who wanted (or needed) to stay on the d-l. (Oh. My. God. You didn’t just think that. You’re too old for expressions like “on the downlow”. You don’t even know if it’s all one word or hyphenated.)

Obviously, I’d buy either of those in a hot minute!
Now here’s an excerpt where he ponders the tech toy that made the cut and is featured in the story. Stick around after the excerpt and comment about an app or a tech toy you’d like to see invented. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter!

Sponsors got to park in a special lot, so once I navigated the traffic—thick even by Portland standards for a Saturday morning—it wasn’t much of a walk to get to the starting line. The usual crowd had gathered: serious runners who looked like a half marathon would be a cakewalk, slightly doughy folks like me who seemed as spooked as I felt, and people wearing regular street clothes, whose plan aligned with what mine would have been a year ago—listening to the music and avoiding the exercise portion of the day.

Children ran around laughing, wearing new and often matching running gear. No teenagers I could see, which was disappointing. Teenagers were an untapped demographic for my—or rather, BaxCo’s—drone butler, Alfred. His main function was to patrol the perimeter of a property, but he could hover over a pot of boiling water or watch a driveway for parents to arrive if that’s what you needed him to do. Alfred could watch just about anything you didn’t have time to watch yourself.

Ugh, I’m playing BaxCo’s YouTube commercials in my head; that’s gotta be a new low.

I walked along the race course to the first stage, where my sponsorship dollars proudly proclaimed that BaxCo cared about the environment.

We didn’t draw the best location, but maybe that wouldn’t matter. Some of the crowd had come for the music and not the exercise—hopefully they would spend enough time at the first stage to recycle something. The green and black logo had been designed for optimal marketing impact—brand recognition—it was boring and generic and, in my opinion, didn’t say anything at all. I caught the negativity of my internal monologue and resolved not to think about BaxCo for the rest of the day. While I stood there, bemoaning the placement of three glorified garbage cans with the company’s logo, the race started.

After the serious runners passed me, I began to run. Okay, jog. I intended to make a real effort to participate in the race. I’d trained and psyched myself up for weeks—promotional opportunity aside. I casually scoped all the runners, not actually looking for anyone, content to do some people-watching. I snickered at myself because secretly I hoped to hook up with one of the men blowing past me, to have their slender, muscled bodies pressed against mine, their lung capacity put to good use—

I almost swallowed my tongue when a tall, striking man pulled up alongside me. His arm brushed against mine, and even though skin didn’t touch skin—he wore a long-sleeved shirt, no doubt a technologically advanced fiber meant to wick the sweat away from his skin, probably as it gave him a massage and helped combat climate change—I felt an electric shock at the contact. It actually crackled.

He turned, one eyebrow raised, and smiled. “Did you feel that?”

“Um, yeah.” I tried to keep up, even though men like him—svelte athletic types who can pull off trendy shaved-on-the-side-and-longer-on-top haircuts—didn’t usually notice plain, out-of-shape nerds like me.

His handsome face creasing in concern. “Sorry. If the spark came from me.”

Fuck, he’s hot.

“N-no problem. No harm done. It was probably me.”

I shocked myself all the time—literally, not figuratively. I led the most boring life imaginable and rarely left my apartment unless forced. Pavement doesn’t exactly possess the same properties that make carpet and wool socks generate static electricity, but it still could have been me. Just looking at this man gave me a charge.

He seemed like he wanted to say something else, but he smiled instead. His blue eyes held as much flash as the actual static that had passed between us.

“Cay.” He held out his hand, and we shook.

“Bryan.” The breathless quality of my voice had little to do with the running. Or at least that’s what it felt like. “Kay, as in Sir Kay, the knight?” I don’t know how I was able to grin at him, but I did.

“No.” He chuckled. The rich sound of his voice set something alight inside me I hadn’t heard from in years. “C-A-Y. As in Cayman. Like the islands.”

He gave me a look, and it took a moment to realize he was serious. Luckily, that happened before I tripped on anything or ran into anyone. “So, is your sister’s name Aruba?”

“No. That’s my brother.” He turned to face forward for a few paces and then shot me a wink.

That wink made me stumble. I’m in trouble.

Always Forward final.jpg

Media Kit: Always Forward! Never Straight by Charley Descoteaux

Blurb:

Love isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Baxter Bryan is the nerdy half of BaxCo, a start-up in Portland’s Silicon Forest creating cutting-edge high-tech toys. He’s also a hermit. When BaxCo sponsors the Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon, Bryan decides to break out of his comfort zone and do more than listen to the music with a beer in hand. The race has barely started when he bumps into a fit, handsome man, causing sparks to fly. But the long hours needed to make BaxCo a success aren’t the only reason Bryan spends most of his time alone in his apartment.

Cay Nissen runs every day to stay in shape. He would love to run away from his job in a Silicon Forest cube farm, but keeps returning to support his teenaged daughter. His true love is music. Cay writes songs for the band he helped form in high school but doesn’t see any way to turn music into a career. The half marathon seemed like a decent way to pass a Saturday, make his boss happy, and catch a performance of his old band all at the same time. When he meets a man who sparks his interest, the safety of his cubicle isn’t the only part of his life that’s in jeopardy of changing.

Buy Always Forward! Never Straight or read free on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Universal Link: mybook.to/AlwaysForward

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43096991-always-forward-never-straight?from_search=true

Rafflecopter Giveaway $5 Amazon Gift Card, runs 1/1/19 – 1/1119
: a Rafflecopter giveaway
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About the Author:

Charley Descoteaux is the author of the Buchanan House Love Stories. Book One was a USA Today Must-Read Romance.

Charley has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through a single day without stories.

Rattle Charley’s cages:

Newsletter: https://my.sendinblue.com/users/subscribe/js_id/2m34r/id/2

Blog: http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/CharleyDescoteauxAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/aqe7g7r

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/

e-mail: c.descoteauxwrites@gmail.com

Publisher: CeeTwo Publications
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Pages: 86

Cover Artist: Rainbow Danger Designs