Here’s the book trailer for Written In The Snow. Enjoy!
Today I’m happy to unveil the cover art of Written In The Snow. Enjoy your first look at Angel Ramirez (left) and Gabriel Green (right).
Written In The Snow will be out in November (exact date TBA). Enjoy the art and blurb, and I hope you enjoy Written In The Snow when it is released!
The year: 2238AD. In this prequel to Written In The Stars, the Culture Wars are in full swing, with the Freedom Alliance fighting the Moral League for control of Washington D.C., which now stands in ruins. The symbols of America have been looted and destroyed, but the war goes on for the P.R. campaign, with both sides trying to claim they have won the nation.
Gabriel Green, runaway from the League, joins the Alliance’s Ground Force to fight back against the persecution and oppression he has witnessed. Sent to the front in the midst of
a bitter winter, a mortar hits his position and he is wounded. He finds an unlikely savior in
the form of Angel Ramirez, a devoutly religious albino League medic with a heart of gold and a big secret.
Doubting the war they once both believed in, Gabriel and Angel trade the battlefield for exile on the neutral Melvana Colony, but Angel struggles to reconcile his religion with his feelings for another man. Torn between two sides of a war, Angel must find a middle ground between faith and love or risk losing both forever.
Chances are, if you hang out in the LGBT romance community, you’ve heard all about the controversial blog post that JesseWave posted on her review website yesterday. If you haven’t read it, her post has been taken down now. What it essentially boiled down to was an angry screed in which she accused authors of disrespecting their audiences by writing m/f in any m/m romance book.
I’m a big defender of the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression, even to the point where I will defend people’s right to speech that I don’t like. I think that to properly defend speech, you have to defend all speech and expression (but not physical violence, which is not a protected form of expression).
I wouldn’t have cared if Wave had simply said she didn’t care for m/f and wouldn’t accept it on her site. It’s her site, and I can exercise my right not to read it if I don’t want to.
Earlier this year she told me she wasn’t interested in reading my book Rainy Days because she assumed (incorrectly) there was on page m/f sex, but I got over that. Again, Reviews by Jessewave is her site, and it’s her right to read and review whatever the hell she likes.
What made me angry was that she told authors they were disrespecting readers by writing m/f scenes. Wave decided that because she doesn’t like to see such scenes that she had to stand up and tell the world not to write them because she’s bothered by on-page lady-parts. As if she spoke for the whole world and its needs from fiction.
I’m getting ticked off lately by a lot of this, and it’s not just in writing space but all over the Internet; people who are offended by certain creative expression and want it to go away. It’s a kind of censorship of shame – label something as sexist, racist or icky and hope the creator cans their project and makes something you would like instead. I don’t agree with any of it. I think that writers, artists, video game designers and all types of creative people need to make THEIR vision, not a watered down, neutered version of their creation because someone’s offended by a sexy woman character, or on-page lady parts, or something outside of their comfort zone. Creators should create for themselves first and foremost. It’s the only way that the act of creation remains honest and true to the human experience. Sometimes that means writing about rape, or torture, or other unpleasant acts.
Fiction SHOULD challenge us. It should make us think outside the box and break down the walls of our comfort zones. It should be able to evoke every emotion from desire to disgust. You have the right to love it or hate it as you please. Shout your hatred from the rooftops should you wish. You have that right.
Just don’t tell me what not to write. Don’t tell creators what not to create. If you have positive input on things you’d like to see, then mention it. Tell the world what you want from your creative mediums. Tell the world you think women are under-represented in video games and you’d love to see more female protagonists. Tell authors you’d love to see more diversity in fiction. I would love to see more positive articles on what people love, instead of people attacking the things they hate. I’m tired of anger and rage against the things that I love, creative mediums that have given me a lot of hope and comfort over the years just because someone stands up and claims to speak for everyone. Nobody can speak for everyone. We’re individuals with our own needs and expectations.
Don’t expect writers and creators to write-on-demand. Don’t try to censor works because they fall outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself instead to read/write/play outside your genre and see the world from a whole new angle. Sometimes it might make you uncomfortable, but that’s okay.
That’s what art is supposed to do.
The winner was picked by way of a random.org randomizer.
Thank you to all the people who entered and took part in the blog hop.
Today I’m posting on the Blog Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, where us authors and reviewers from GLBT book community are coming together to educate on hate and offer prizes. It’s all in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17th.
Dictionary.com defines ignorance as:
the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.
This is how I think of homophobia and transphobia. Both come about when people who don’t know the facts make judgements about our personal lives based on their assumptions and gut feelings.
It’s not a hard thing to learn about, and we all have something to learn. Perhaps you know a lot about gay men, but nothing about the trans* community. Perhaps you’re gay, but know little to nothing about what it means to be bisexual. Whether LGBT or a straight ally, we’re all capable of ignorance if we close our eyes.
I have to admit that when I came to the LGBT writing community, I knew little about the experience of being trans*. Thanks to reading the blog entries of some brave people who put themselves out there, I’ve learned a lot more about the challenges and trials that trans* people face. Opening my mind to new possibilities only helped me expand my understanding of the infinite combinations that love can take.
It’s never too late to learn about someone else’s lifestyle. When you do, perhaps you’ll realize you might have said something in the past that was rude/hurtful and you didn’t even know it. By taking the time to read a few webpages, you can remove that ignorance and perhaps make a positive comment that will make someone feel loved and respected as a human being. At the end of the day, on our most basic level, we all have that in common.
Here are some great links for learning about the LGBT community:
Embrace The Rainbow: Great site for learning about trans*, genderqueer and those questioning their identity. Make sure to check out their “Learning More” page, where some great blog posts explain the fundamentals of the trans* experience.
PFLAG has some friendly education pages including Straight For Equality, a program where straight allies can show their support for the GLBT community.
Myth and Reality: Some Facts about the LGBT Community A FAQ page that debunks some common myths about homosexuality.
BiNet USA To learn more about the bisexual community.
Now, for prizes! I’m giving away a digital copy of Written In The Stars, a space opera m/m romance set during a time of extreme ignorance and war. All you have to do to win is make a comment on this post that includes your e-mail address. The deadline for entries is 8 p.m. (EST) on May 27th. The winner will be chosen randomly and the results posted by May 30th.
I’m fresh off a two-hour tangent where I fell down a rabbit hole reading about physics.
Why, you ask? What could that possibly have to do with writing?
I love science fiction, as you may well know. Other planets, advanced technology… the principles of what we might learn and who we might become in the future fascinates me. But also, as a writer, when I write sci-fi, I feel I owe it to everyone to do some basic research.
Lately I’ve noticed a trend, especially in movies, where the facts become insanely diluted and delve so far into hand-waving that it literally takes me out of the fiction. Some rules are just rules. At a movie I saw this year featuring a popular action hero, I was shocked to see that he walked into Chernobyl wearing nothing but the clothing on his back and was completely unharmed by the experience. I simply know too much about how radiation works to believe that. It was a bad moment this year when I looked at a movie and said “this is dumb”. I turned to my husband and said “So where’s the epilogue where he dies of acute radiation poisoning?”
When it comes to my readers I never want to make bad science take them out of the fiction. Perhaps they’re mostly there for the romance and that’s not a problem, but they should at least be able to believe the story could happen, given a few advances in scientific and technological understanding.
I’m no genius. I didn’t go to college. Give me a page full of mathematic and algebraic equations and they’ll make a whooshing sound as they pass right over my head. But I do love to learn and understand the basic principles of how things work.
There are shortcuts that we all take. Sometimes it’s easy to look at TV and other media and work off of their understandings of how things work. Most fiction about space travel borrows from Star Trek’s warp drive and classic science fiction’s concepts of faster-than-light travel. I won’t say that my books don’t. Sometimes you need to get your character from Point A to Point B without inventing a while new method of space travel.
Yet there are also other times when learning about the actual science helps take the plot in a new, more realistic direction instead of borrowing ideas from media that has already distorted the science. I had an outline for the ending to the novel I was already working on, but something just didn’t seem right. When this happens, I usually go back to the science to make sure everything’s correct. Well, I was wrong in my beliefs about this specific concept. The truth about this particular phenomenon is highly distorted in fiction to the point that falsehoods have entered the culture as facts. In short, everything I believed is mostly incorrect.
Strangely, I’m happy about that. Why? I’ve thought up a whole new ending. One that keeps the core elements of the plan for my characters but sticks to the facts as we understand them. I have a few details to hammer out, but it’s a satisfying feeling to know that scientific fact is improving my book.
So that when you read it, you might just be able to believe not only the science, but the romance as well. For after all – what is love, if not a law of nature?
Alice Hartman dreams of becoming an actress. Fresh out of acting school, she searches for a job only to find she lacks connections and the size six body she needs to land a role as a movie star. Hearing a radio ad for a role in a stage play, she finds herself at the battered, run-down Delgrand Theater, where writer/actress Lucy Grady is staging the play of her dreams. She wants Alice to take the lead part, but the play is a lesbian tragic romance and Alice is straight… isn’t she?
Alice will find that acting can reveal the true nature of a person’s soul, stripped bare of society’s expectations as she becomes caught up in Lucy’s grand dream. But tragedy lies just around the corner. Is their fledgling love strong enough to survive their darkest hour, or will Alice find her greatest fears are stronger than her deepest love?
Rise From The Ashes is FREE. Download it today!
We’ve all been there. Your great new novel is coming out and you want to tell as many people as possible about it. However, if you do it wrong, you not only risk alienating potential customers, you risk becoming labeled as a spammer. So here are a few tips you might find useful:
Don’t post about your book on people’s personal Facebook walls.
Doesn’t matter if it’s a fellow author, former reader or work acquaintance. You wouldn’t want people plastering ads on your personal space, so why do you think it’s acceptable to do it to somebody else? Posting ads in this way is a huge no-no. Not only will the recipient not want to buy your book, they will more than likely tell others not to either.
What to do instead: Join a Facebook group dedicated to promoting books in your genre. There you can freely post your ad without interrupting anybody’s personal life. Don’t spam, though. Once is enough. Maybe once more when your book is actually released.
Don’t mass e-mail your address book about your novel.
You may have a list of friends you’ve built up over time, but it’s not appropriate to send promotional material to their e-mail address unless they specifically request it. Mass mailing will your get your email account blacklisted as a spammer.
What to do instead: Start a mailing list. When people sign up, you can send them a newsletter at regular intervals or when you have a new release. These people have consented to receiving your e-mail and will be more likely to read it. You can even run newsletter-only giveaways to reward your regular readers and promote your mailing list.
Don’t harass reviewers on review sites to read your book.
Reviewers are busy. Most will try to respond to your request for a review but they have no obligation to read and review your novel, or even answer your request. If you don’t get a response within a few weeks, assume the reviewer is not interested and move on. Don’t send them an angry email demanding to know why your book hasn’t been reviewed. Reviewers get thousands of requests and probably won’t even know who you are.
What to do instead: Post on an appropriate group or message board that you would be willing to give away free copies of your e-book in exchange for honest reviews. Or try submitting your book to smaller, less known review sites that are likely to receive fewer requests.
Don’t message people on Goodreads with a promo, or recommend your own book to them.
This is similar to the Facebook rule. A Goodreads account is somebody’s private space. Don’t violate or abuse it.
What to do instead: List a Goodreads giveaway. Giveaway entrants often add the book to their to-read shelf, and their friends will be able to see that they have done so, promoting both your giveaway and your book without being obnoxious.
Don’t complain about bad reviews or attack the reviewers who write them.
Not strictly promotion-related, but commenting on reviews can become a PR disaster. You would think this would be obvious, but the Internet is full of horror stories about authors behaving badly, stalking and harassing reviewers who dared to give a review of less than three stars. Of course it hurts, your book is your baby and somebody just told you it’s ugly. However, acting like this is unacceptable, unprofessional behavior that will make serious readers and fellow authors roll their eyes while adding your books to their not interested list.
What to do instead: If you can’t take the criticism, it’s best to avoid reading the reviews in the first place. If you absolutely can’t do that, suck it up like an adult. Once you get through the pain you might understand that they have a point. Or maybe they just hate your book, your writing style and your characters. Either way, get over it and move on. Not everybody is going to like every book, and they’re entitled to their opinion. Books are like food. Everybody has different tastes, and one person’s favorite food is no doubt repulsive to someone else.
Don’t pay people or enlist family members to write good reviews for your book.
It’s pretty obvious that somebody’s cheating when their completely unknown novel has half a dozen glowing but oddly vague reviews on Amazon. It’s fine to have family members comment on your book privately but just downright embarrassing to have your mom claim your book is so good it deserves six out of five stars. There’s nothing wrong with having an empty review page for a while until people have read your book and decided to comment on it.
What to do instead: Submit your novel to review sites so professional reviewers can take a look at it. These respected reviewers will garner more sales for your book than a review from Joe Average ever could. They will often cross-post their review to Goodreads as well so it affects your rating there.
If you have any ideas about things that should be added to the list, leave a comment! Is there any behavior you just can’t abhor from authors? What kind of promotions make you interested in trying a book?
I didn’t write much in the last few weeks. I either stayed in bed during my writing time or sat at the computer staring at a blank word processor screen. Not a single word would come out. I started to get a little scared, as I always do when this happens, as if my inspiration has ended our relationship, packed a suitcase and left. I should know by know that it always comes back, but I’m always scared that any time could be the last time. That any word could be my last word of fiction because this tenuous relationship between myself and my muse could end, leaving me high, dry and uninspired.
I get a lot of these small crises. I listen too much to the voice in the back of my head (not a literal voice, don’t lock me away!) that tells me that I’m not a very good writer, that I’ll never make it, that I’m just wasting my time and stroking my fragile ego.
But if I listen to that voice, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I never take the leap of faith required to keep writing novels, edit the hell out of them and release them to the wider world, I’ll never get better. Writing will remain an unpaid hobby. Which is fine, but I have a lot of hobbies. Writing five short stories a year isn’t going to help me improve. I need to take the plunge on novels and novellas more, taking risks on ideas even if that does mean I end up with a pile of unfinished half-manuscripts because the love runs dry. Even if a book doesn’t come across as well as I’d hoped, somebody out there will find something to love and that’s all that matters. Ignoring the worlds and people I see in my mind means I’m the only person who will ever get to enjoy them – and I think that’s a shame.
It’s true that when I look back at my previous free stories, some of them could really use work. I could rewrite them all, but I think the best thing to do at this point is just keep moving forward. Those stories are free, I never charged a dime for them because I understood I was still learning my craft. I’m still learning every time I sit at the computer and write. It’s true that I might look back in ten years and regret some of my novels or think my writing from this time is awful but you only learn from experience. I want to learn. I want to grow. I believe that the work I’m doing now is worth paying for, but I also understand that I’m still a work in progress. I don’t want to wait until I’m fifty and I think I’m at the height of my powers, put out one masterpiece and expire. Life is short, something I’m reminded of every day. I can’t let my lack of confidence get in the way of doing what I love.
Writing isn’t about ego, either. It’s easy to forget that when you’re required to write about writing and promote the hell out of your work in order to sell things. It’s easy to become a writer – that is, somebody who loves looking at their reviews and stats to see if the numbers have changed. Somebody who’s obsessed with their job title instead of the actual work. Writing has to be about the stories, the tales and the characters that are dying to get out. I have plenty of those inside of me. I can’t let the rest get in the way – not reviews, stats, marketing, writing for an audience or my own embattled self-esteem. Sometimes it does. I’ll confess that I’ve fallen into this trap. I need to limit my Goodreads and Facebook time. Both suck on my energy while offering little in return.
I’m getting back on track now. I just put down another 1200 words on a work-in-progress and I have that satisfied feeling that tells me I’m going in the right direction. I’m about to open another file, 3k that I put down on paper the other day and work on that for a while. I have a clear plan for this year that requires dedication and perseverance and I intend to see it through.
I’m guest posting today over at Guys Like Romance, Too! My post is all about first times. Check it out!