Saturday, August 30, 2014

Coming out to my husband


Those who follow me on Facebook may be aware that I’m not “out” to my family.  Oh, I don’t mean in terms of my sexuality, I mean in the fact that I write.  They don’t know I write, and they definitely don’t know I write m/m romance.

It’s not that I’m ashamed of the “m/m” bit – although that will definitely be an awkward conversation for me to have with my mother – it’s more I don’t want the criticism and “helpful” advice from my family.  You see, I’m the youngest of nine children.  As such, it has been the lifetime role for me to “accept” advice from my siblings.  After all, they are much older and wiser than me. <cough cough>

When I first started writing, I had three reasons for keeping the writing a secret:
                1.  I didn’t wish to face the “I told you so’s” if my writing failed. 
                2.  I didn’t wish for the inevitable advice against being an author as a career.
                3.  I didn’t want 61 people telling me what to write.

(Yes – 61.  I counted.  When you add up all my siblings, their spouses, their children, their spouses and their children, I have 61 immediate family members on my side of the family.  My husband, in contrast, has four.)

So when I published my first book, #1 on the above list ceased to exist, but in its place was now the awkward conversation about writing m/m.  Never fear – I do plan to tell them.  Soon…(ish).  But just not yet.  I need some more courage, more confidence and perhaps another successful novel.


BUT – my husband does know, and I’m going to share the story of my “coming out” to him.
When I first started writing, it was usually a couple of hours a day while he was at work, and maybe an hour or two after the kids went to sleep.  I could’ve been playing solitaire on my computer for all hubby knew.  I’m sure I told him a couple of times in vague terms – “Oh, I’m writing a book” – but since the last book hubby read was when he was in Year 12 English, he just shrugged and walked away.

Once I’d submitted Loving Jay to the publisher, I told him, “I finished a novel and I’ve sent it off.”  He was happy for me.  But neither of us really expected it to be accepted.  When it was, I was in shock for three days before I managed to tell him.  He got really excited for me, but I needed bring him down to earth.  “Don’t expect it to make money.  I’m hoping for a couple of hundred, but that’s it.  I mean, how many people get lucky on a book like Harry Potter was?”

He asked me with eagerness, “Can I tell my parents?”

My reaction to the thought of
telling my in-laws
I looked horrified.  “Gosh, no!”  At this stage I couldn’t even admit to him about the m/m stuff.  Imagine telling his parents!  And imagine the horror of the book being released and rubbished to bits?

So I continued on my author journey without telling hubby anything apart from, “I got another contract.” And “I’m doing editing this week.”  I didn’t even tell him my pen name.  It’s not that I was deliberately hiding, it was just that he was goddamn happy for me, but not exactly interested in publishing, reading and writing.  We just didn’t discuss it.  Much the same as he doesn’t tell me about his work.  We both work, but prefer to talk about the kids or the house or other parts of our lives.

I was hiding so much, I didn’t even tell him the day it was released.  I kept it all inside me and only told my BFF.  She told me I had to tell him.  I knew I had to, but hubby is not really the “open mind” type of person.  I stewed and fretted for ages.

Then hubby told me he wanted to tell his best mate.  He was so proud of me that I was a “published author,” he wanted to brag about me.  I screwed up my courage, “You don’t want to do that, sweetie.”

“Why not?”

“Umm… Have you ever wondered about what I write?”

“No.  Not really.”

“You won’t like it.”

“Why not?”

I breathed deeply and said, “Okay.  I will tell you.  But I want you to just think about it for a while and then tomorrow you can ask me questions, alright?”

He agreed, so I pulled out the cover picture of Loving Jay.  He looked, but didn’t get it.  “Can I give you my honest opinion?” he asked.

“Of course.”

“They look a bit… gay.”

I hid a smile.  “They are.”

“Oh.”  He was silent for a while.  “Why did you write that?”

“Because that’s what I read.  Now do you see the reason I don’t want you telling people?”

“Yes.”

That was four months ago.  Since then I’ve tried to discuss the topic with him, but he’s not interested.  Oh, he’s supportive of my writing, and he likes the fact that I’m earning money, but he’s not comfortable with the “m/m” bit, so I allow him some slack and not push it.


So that is the story of my “coming out.”  Nothing terribly exciting, but nothing bad either.


Now if only my big confession to my family would be as non-eventive.  

How to contact Renae:




Twitter:  @renaekkaye

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dragon*Con Ahoy! :D


Well, it's that time of year again, and I am, of course, heading off to Dragon*Con (even though I feel like i just got back from AAD, which... wait, I did)!

For those who aren't familiar, Dragon*Con is a truly enormous Science Fiction and Fantasy convention held yearly in downtown Atlanta, and when i say "huge," I do mean HUGE. I think last year there were something like 50,000 registered attendees.

It's multi-media, with authors and actors, directors, makeup artists, computer folk, gamers, costumer, artists... you name it, there's someone there who's associated with those areas.

I've been going to Dragon*Con for probably 11 years now, and I alternately bless and curse the friend who got me started. It depends on the day, really. :P

So, why am I telling you this? Mostly because I hope to be here in two weeks with a con-report, and maybe some pictures.

Until then, I hope you all have fun, and if you're going to be at Dragon*Con and are so inclined, come find me. I'm always happy to meet new people and raise a glass to the Convention Gods!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ask Andrew - Condoms


Dear Andrew,

My question is regarding the use of condoms by gay men (or straights as well). How do you feel about men using condoms, even if they are in a committed relationship? Paraphrase of old adage: if you sleep with one you sleep with all previous lovers/partners. With all the risks out there and evil doers poking holes in condoms, how can you truly  be safe. What are your thoughts?

Rita
 
Dear Rita
 
You ask about using condoms in a committed relationship and the answer to that questions depends upon the couple and the relationship.  First, I'll go for the easy part of the answer. If a couple has been together for a while, has been tested and they're both negative, then they should sit down and have a discussion about their commitment to each other and possibly discontinuing the use of condoms.  This is what Dominic and I did a number of years ago as part of our commitment to each other.  This requires commitment and can be one of the ultimate signs of trust.
 
Now, if a couple has an open relationship, then that's a different story.  Having sexual relations outside of the actual relationship adds another level of concern.  The partners must sit down and determine what the rules are for that relationship, including the continued use of condoms within the relationship along with periodic testing. 
 
The purpose of condoms are to keep yourself and your partner safe and that should be important regardless of the type of relationship.  This is especially true if one of the partners is HIV positive, then condoms should be used throughout the relationship.  The partners should talk about continued prevention and testing. 
 
You can see my these developing I'm sure.  There isn't a one size fits all answer because couples and relationships are different.  But for most people, once you've decided to be exclusive, and you've each been tested to help wipe the 'sleeping with previous partners' slate clean, then deciding to 'go bare' can be an amazing experience, like the first time all over again.  The important thing is to open lines of communication and make decisions together about the kind of relationship you want and the use of condoms so you can play safe and happy. 
 
Hugs and Love
Andrew
 
Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to andrewgreybooks@comcast.net.  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

Please remember this is meant to be all in fun.  (I was going to say good, clean fun, but who wants that.)    So send me your questions and let's see what mischief we can get into.

Visit Andrew on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks  and you can join Andrew's fan group All The Way With Andrew Grey.

Follow him on Twitter:  @andrewgreybooks

Visit Andrew's web site:  www,andrewgreybooks.com
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Facebook Group by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday! Just a quick post today to let you know about a new Facebook group I started. I'm hoping for a place where interacting is easier than on a page and so far, it's been great. Plus, we voted on a fun name. You can join us here

Thanks to Janie Oor for the great cover!

Have a terrific week!

CC
www.cardenoc.com

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Who you are - writing ME


I have a theory.  This theory is simply my observation and is based on observing my family, so its accuracy could be skewed.  It's based on observing my female relations in their home environment.

My observation started with my mother: she must have a spotless kitchen.  She cannot leave the house in the morning without doing the dishes (including drying and putting away).  She cannot go to bed at night without doing the dishes.  Her kitchen is devoid of the clutter of papers, fruit bowls, lunchboxes, coffee mugs and all the other stuff that usually finds itself in my kitchen.  I know that when she visits me she often ends up doing my dishes – I think because she can’t stand the state of my kitchen.

My oldest sister, however, has the same urge about her bedroom.  I spent a lot of time at her house when I was a teenager. She had four small children, and there were toys and clothes and mess everywhere – but her bedroom was spotless.  Her first task in the morning was to always make her bed.  Her clothes were always hung up or away, and there was never any more than a single book on her bedside table.

Another sister has the same outlook on her formal lounge room.  Her kitchen is often a mess, and her bedroom is always untidy (rather like mine!), but her formal lounge room is a showcase. Another sister (yes, I have a lot of sisters!) couldn’t care less about the state of her house.  But her stables are clean, organised and perfect.

So I have a belief that every woman (and this probably extends to men as well) have something that is important to them that is their priority and that they keep spotless.  For me, it would be my bookcase.  It is perfectly ordered and neat as.

Last week I was straightening my linen cupboard and looking at the dozens of tablecloths I own – most given to me by my mother-in-law.  My MIL always has a perfect table.  It is always covered with perfect tablecloths, and usually has a perfect arrangement of flowers in the middle.  At dinnertime we have beautiful placemats and cutlery, serviette holders, salt and pepper… You get the picture.  I gazed at the pretty designs in my linen cupboard and wondered why I didn’t make more of an effort.  It was just a tablecloth.  I could bring it out and make my house look pretty.  I could impress my MIL instead of always having a bare table.

I pulled one out and smiled to myself – I could be like my MIL.

Several hours later my mother came for coffee and I spent most of my time straightening the cloth that kept skewing from our afternoon meeting.  My daughter nearly ripped the cloth off when she left the table and ended up slopping coffee as our mugs took a joyride on it.  That night my two children spilled their dinner over the cloth.  The next morning I discovered that one (or more!) of the cats had decided it was a nice place to sleep and had left cat hair and sand on the cloth.  The final straw came when I caught my children playing with it as a cape.

I suddenly remembered why I don’t have tablecloths.  It’s because I have children and pets.  And because of the most important reason – I am not my MIL.  I am me.

This thought has stayed with me for the last week.  There are so many websites out there that tell you the right way and wrong way to do things.  But unless it is a law (yes – you need to use your indicators on your car!  Hello!!), then sometimes these right and wrong ways to do things are not set in stone.  It is what works for that person and may not necessarily work for you.

Authors need to remember this too.  I’ve heard authors say, “I write in the style of {insert famous author’s name}” and I have to wonder how far that author can go by making themselves write like another.  I often have to remind myself to write like ME, and I hope most days I succeed.

Just like having a spotless kitchen wouldn’t work for me (because truthfully I’d rather keep the kids asleep than wake them up clanging pots around), writing the same stuff in the same way as another author is never going to work in the long term.

As many gay people can attest to, you can’t change who you are.  You can’t pray the gay away. Or you can’t be “straight-acting” if you are really a flamboyant character.  Why not write like you want to?

The point of my story?  My newest release, The ShearingGun, has just hit the Coming Soon pages of Dreamspinner.  I'm really excited about this book.  This is ME.  This is my HOME.  But then I look at the other covers of the other releases and realise that it's very different.  I mean – sheep? Really?

But I remind myself that I am ME.  I write what I know and in the style I like.  And you know what?  Some people seem to like that.  So I hope you enjoy my story of Hank and Elliot.  


How to contact Renae:




Twitter:  @renaekkaye

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ask Andrew - Professions


Dear Andrew
 
I've read a great many m/m romance novels, and if everything I knew about gay came only from what I read, I'd believe that the vast majority of gay men are attorneys, CEOs, firefighters/police officers/EMTs doctors or ranchers.  While I've occasionally encountered lead characters who are artists (mostly in your novels), I don't think I've ever read one where one of the central characters is a florist, hair stylist, decorator or fashion designer, and yet many gay men work in these fields.
 
Is there a reason that the writers of m/m romance novels avoid these careers for their main characters?

Liz

Dear Liz

Romance novels are for the most part about fantasy and in this case, as sexy a fantasy as possible.  I do know that there have been main characters in MM novels who have been florists, fashion designers, and many other professions.  However the authors quickly realize that those professions aren't considered "sexy"  Lawyers, doctors, EMTs, firemen, police officers, etc rate pretty high on the overall sexy scale.  So authors tend to choose those types of professions for their characters. 

I don't necessarily agree with that when I'm writing my stories and that isn't to say that there haven't been very successful MM romance stories where the characters are other professions, but the ones you mentioned instantly connect with readers.  I think that some professions carry a mystique.  Cowboys instantly bring up images of the Marlboro man.  Doctors, EMT's, firefighters, police officers, all put their lives on the line for their jobs.  Its that mystique and strength that tend to make them popular heroes for romance novels.  That isn't to say that other professions can't be used, they just aren't as glamorous.

Hugs and Love
Andrew

Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to andrewgreybooks@comcast.net.  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

Please remember this is meant to be all in fun.  (I was going to say good, clean fun, but who wants that.)    So send me your questions and let's see what mischief we can get into.

Visit Andrew on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks  and you can join Andrew's fan group All The Way With Andrew Grey.

Follow him on Twitter:  @andrewgreybooks

Visit Andrew's web site:  www,andrewgreybooks.com

Monday, August 18, 2014

McFarland's Farm Available for Amazon Pre-Order


Happy Monday! Amazon has unveiled a new feature where they allow books to be pre-ordered and I'm really excited to share a link to pre-order my new book, McFarland's Farm. I hope you enjoy it!


Description:

Wealthy, attractive Lucas Reika treats life like a party, moving from bar to bar and man to man. Thumbing his nose at his restaurateur father's demand that he earn his keep, Lucas instead seduces a valued employee in the kitchen of their flagship restaurant, earning himself an ultimatum: lose access to his father's money or stay in the middle of nowhere with a man he has secretly lusted over from afar. 

Quiet, hard-working Jared McFarland loves his farm on the outskirts of Hope, Arizona, but he aches to have someone to come home to at the end of the day. Jared agrees to take in his longtime crush as a favor. But when Lucas invades his heart in addition to his space, Jared has to decide how much of himself he's willing to risk and figure out if he can offer Lucas enough to keep him after his father's punishment is over.

CC
www.cardenoc.com

Heartwarming Stories. Strong Relationships. Forever Love. 


Saturday, August 16, 2014

I'm so excited


I’m so excited.  And I just can’t hide it.  I’m about to lose control and I think I like it…

Go on – admit it.  You just sang those words in your head?

Why am I excited?  I’m excited because 
A Taste Of Honey 
comes out in two days and that means another story by me published.  It was an unexpected bonus to my year, and it allowed me to achieve an aim that I set myself 18 months ago.

You see, I’ll take you back to January 2013, where a housewife and mummy was bored and clueless.  She was a miserable failure at a lot of things in life, but she had great imagination.  She had passed her Year 12 high school English Literature exam at only 52%, so she knew she wouldn’t be able to write a book.  But goddammit.  When people tell her she can’t do things, she gets angry.  So she made herself an aim to write a book.  It took her a while, but she wrote it.  And hey!  It wasn’t half-bad.

So it was April 2013 by now, and so she made herself another aim.  She would learn how to write.  She would practice.  She would keep at it.  And she would publish something.  She didn’t care what, but she made herself an aim that she would give it a good 24 months, and she aimed to get a contract of some sort.  Then she sat down and wrote the title:  Loving Jay.

Fast-forward to September 2013 and this silly little woman had herself a contract in her hand.  She was extremely amazed (really!  She cannot express the disbelief) at this, but it was there on her email.  She began to dream grand plans of being an author.  You know – a published author.  Not just a one-off.

So she made herself another plan.  She had to dream BIG this time.  Really really BIG!  Her dream was to get five books a year published.  It wasn’t just an arbitrary number.  No – she figured that she could practice writing to the point that one book would take her two months.  That would be six books a year, and giving herself a reject rate of one-in-six, she would try for five books a year.  She gave herself ten years to do this.  She had a goal!

By the time Loving Jay finally hit the public in April 2014, she had four contracts.  FOUR!  And all four would be published by the end of 2014.  So close to her goal.  But she wasn’t worried.  She’d given herself ten years.  But then something funny happened.  A short story.  A desperate cry of a fellow author that she answered and whipped up a short story for him. A subject she loved.  An opportunity she’d never considered. And a golden fifth contract.  But the BIGGEST surprise, was that while her books had to wait in line for their editing, her little short story jumped the queue and would be published in August 2014.

That would mean…  OMG!  She sat there in silence.  The power of speech taken from her.  Five…  Okay, she was cheating a little bit because her short story wasn’t really a book – it was part of a book – but it was close enough.  Her goal had been reached.





That bored and clueless housewife and mummy?  She’s no longer bored (she’s now flat out editing and writing!), but she will forever remain clueless.  She’s decided she needs to set herself tougher goals.  Winning the $70m Powerball lottery sounds like a good aim.
 
So in 48 hours, the Dreamspinner anthology, A Taste Of Honey hits the screaming fans (see!  I told you she had a great imagination!) and this counts as a publication.  So I’m taking it!  Five books in one year.  Goal reached.

(You can buy a pre-order from Dreamspinner here).


I’m also investing in two tickets in the Powerball.  It’s drawn Thursday night, so if you never hear from me again, you can imagine me living the high life on some private island…

How to contact Renae:




Twitter:  @renaekkaye

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ask Andrew - Casting


Dear Andrew

When you write a story, do you make a "casting"? For example, when you first wrote Geoff Laughton, did you cast as specific actor or a person you know to play his role, or was it only a face, a silhouette in your head? I ask because when you describe the appearance, the attitude, the expressions of a new character in a story, it very often reminds me of a particular actor or actress, and from then on, I see him/her as that person. I won't tell you who "my" Geoff is, since you and every reader probably have their own image in mind, that most probably doesn’t match mine.
Madeleine
 
Dear Madeleine
When I write a character I rarely cast a famous person.  The images of the character come from my imagination.  The inspiration for Geoff actually came from a man I knew in high school.  His image popped into my head when I was first writing Geoff.  Eli on the other hand resulted from a boy I saw during an a visit to an Amish bakery when I was 19.
When I'm describing a character I try to do it with broad enough strokes so that the reader and create their own image.  For me what's important when creating a character, especially describing their appearance isn't for me to get across what I want you to see, but to give the reader enough that their imagination will kick in and they can for their own image of the character.  There have been exceptions though.  In many of the gym stories, the guys were inspired by actual people at my gym.  I don't know how they felt about that and I didn't ask.  (For the record my nose and face are still in their proper place)
More often than not, what I end up doing when I create a character is pull attributes from various people and put them together in my head.  If you as the reader pull an image of an actor to fill that character then I did my job, because your imagination kicked in and that's what I was hoping for,
Hugs and love
Andrew
Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to andrewgreybooks@comcast.net.  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

Please remember this is meant to be all in fun.  (I was going to say good, clean fun, but who wants that.)    So send me your questions and let's see what mischief we can get into.

Visit Andrew on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks  and you can join Andrew's fan group All The Way With Andrew Grey.

Follow him on Twitter:  @andrewgreybooks

Visit Andrew's web site:  www,andrewgreybooks.com

 
 
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Puppy Pics by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday! I'm dedicating today's blog to my puppy and posting all her pics in one place. Enjoy!


































CC
www.cardenoc.com

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sex in those Dead Bedrooms


Today I’m going to talk about one of my favourite subjects – sex.

Yep!  You read right!  Sex.

Oh, don’t be shy and prudish.  We all talk about sex.  We all have sex – or at least wishing we were having sex.  This is Café Risque for goodness sake.  But I will let you in on a little secret – we don’t all have sex the way it’s portrayed in our books.

<GASP>

I know!  Terrible, isn’t it?

Yesterday I was talking to one of the guys at my local supermarket about sex.  Yes, that’s right.  We talked about it.  In public.  My mother would be hyperventilating if she heard me.  The point of the story is that I made this comment:  “I remember watching a video of Where Do I Come From? when I was nine and being astonished about the mechanics of the act.  Now look at me!”

Yes.  I write romance books.  And a part of romance is sex.  Have I astonished you again?  Romance and sex?  Together?  Yes.  It is my very firm opinion that one cannot happen without the other, although the other frequently happens without the one. 

My BFF is addicted to a Reddit site called “Dead Bedrooms.”  I admit that I haven’t checked it out because I’m more into sex than the lack of it, but the idea of the site is that people are confessing (ie complaining) that they're living together in a long term relationship without having sex.  For years.

It’s sad.

But truthfully, I think it happens a lot.  And it’s not because of the sex part of the relationship, it’s the romance.  People often get bogged down in the struggle to survive day-to-day and forget to nurture the romance of their relationship.  So, for all the people who have a dead bedroom and want to change it, I have two pieces of advice for you:
1.       Turn up the romance, the sex will follow.
2.       Forget about Hollywood (and porn).


Now, I have to admit that I am not a counsellor or therapist by any stretch of the imagination, but I am an observer of life.  I’ve listened, I’ve sympathised, I’ve asked questions.  And this is simply my opinion.

So for the first point, I have to expand and talk about real life.  In real life we have real jobs.  There is stress and pressure.  There are bills and housework.  There are kids and lack of sleep due to those kids.  None of these things are romantic.  None of these things are sexy.  And if this is all that is in your life, then I bet you aren’t wanting sex.  So you need to make an effort.  Remember trying to impress your new girlfriend/boyfriend?  Remember flowers and chocolates and romantic walks along the beach?

I remember those.  Those dates were usually rounded off with some hot, sweaty sex before the night was through.  Why?  Because when you’re with someone who enjoys being with you, you want to celebrate with the physical.  You sometimes can’t wait to get home, and find an unlit part of the car park to do these celebrations.  Sometimes you would rush home and fall into bed.  The romance part of your life drives the want and need of the sex part.  Sex is the part that keeps a couple together.  Romance is the lubrication.

And as writers and readers of m/m, we all know the importance of lubrication.

Contrast this to the tired mother who finally gets her two-year-old to sleep.  She picks up the bath towels and puts them away.  She reminds herself to sign the homework folder of the older child and that the middle child needs another appointment at the eye specialist.  Those bills still haven’t been paid, the dishes are unwashed and tomorrow she desperately needs  to go to the grocery store or else her family is going to starve.  Her husband is slumped tiredly in front of the TV.  He’s worked all day, the boss is on his back and he’s conscious that if he loses his job, he may not get another one.  His car is making a clunking sound that he needs to look at on the weekend, his mother is nagging him about coming over for dinner and his unmarried best mate had just posted pictures of the brand new boat he just bought on FB.

Sexy?  No.  Romantic?  Not even close.  But don’t be afraid.  It’s not the end of the marriage or their sex life.  It’s a hump that they need to get over.  The tired husband who posts on Reddit that he hasn’t had sex since his youngest child was conceived is not thinking about his partner.  The wife who complains her husband doesn’t find her sexy is not thinking about her lover.

Which brings me to the second point – sex doesn’t always happen like the movies and books.  Get over it.

I’m a firm believer that sex should be fun – but that’s me.  I like fun things like glow-in-the-dark condoms that brighten up my life.  I think fun is more sexy than perfect.  I have a friend who’s going (at great cost) under the knife in a few weeks for some work on her boobs and tummy.  She’s not even thirty, but three kids and yo-yo dieting has left her extremely unhappy with her body.  I can vaguely understand why she feels she “needs” to do this, but it’s sad.

We don’t all have bodies like they show on the porn movies. 

<GASP>

I know, I know.  Lightbulb moment again.  But it’s true.  Most of us (like 99%) don’t have those beautiful bodies we see on the screen.  And you shouldn’t expect your partner to have that either.

I’ve read a lot of m/m romance, and those books which mention dick sizes, usually have character whose dick is on the normal to larger end of the scale.  So – where are all the small dick characters who must be out there to make the average average?  For every huge dick, there should (theoretically) be a small dick.  

Our fiction is not representative of real life – and that’s okay.  Because it’s fiction.

I admit to being turned on by the sight of a gorgeous guy, or a perfect bum encased in tight leather, or that worked abdomen.  But, I also love the stories where the guys are not perfect.  Receding hairlines, overweight, hairy arses?  Not necessarily sexy – but real.  Like I’m real.  And I like being reminded of myself in characters – because a romance book is romantic, and usually comes with a happy ending.

So my advice to the Dead Bedroom complainers?  Rediscover the romance.  Buy flowers.  Go on a date.  Do the goddamn dishes for your wife.  Put on a pretty dress for once.  Stop worrying about your wrinkles.  Don’t worry about that rounded stomach.  Your dick is fine.  Your boobs are fine.  Buy a romance book and pick up some ideas.

Now, this wouldn’t be a good blog without chucking in some advertising somewhere.  So I’m reminding everyone that A Taste Of Honey is coming out soon.  Nine days and counting.  I’m hoping for some not-so-perfect romantic stories in the book and I’m on the edge of my seat in anticipation.  Fourteen short stories of yummy guys who are not perfect gym bods?  Some hot sex, romantic encounters and a bit of fun?  Count me in!


Available for pre-order at Dreamspinner.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ask Andrew - Vanilla and a Little Swirl


Dear Andrew

How do I help my partner loosen up and relax while we *wink* *wink* are in the bedroom?  He is a vanilla and I am more of a swirl of vanilla and sumptin sumptin.  When he starts to let go he freezes up.  It feels like he takes a step forward and than takes 3 steps back.  I am also wanting my husband to learn to be more of a DOM in the bedroom.  How?   I know baby steps but I have been baby stepping for about 3 years now. 

Shannon

Dear Shannon

In order to answer this question, I have to ask you one, have you talked to your husband about what you want?  It seems you have.  But has he agreed to take this journey with you?  I know you want something more than vanilla in the bedroom, but I have to ask if that's what he wants.  It doesn't sound like it to me.  Like with everything in life, we all have a comfort zone and some of us don't like to step outside of them.  This can be especially true in the bedroom. 

A true D/s relationship, or any kind of relationship for that matter, requires two willing partners that are both committed to one another and who care for one another.  Both partners need to be on the same page and understand each other.  This seems to be missing here.  It sounds as though the two of you are on different pages and its very possible that he isn't willing to go on the journey you are asking him to take.  I know I may be telling you something you don't want to hear, but its very possible he will not be able to give you what you want. 

What turns on one individual doesn't necessarily work for another.  While I understand that you want things more adventurous, he doesn't seem too, and my advice for you is to talk to him.  Be as plain and understanding as you can in telling him what you want.  However, you must be prepared for him to explain that he can't do that.  I wish I had a little trick or some piece of information that would turn your husband into exactly what you want, but I don't.  If I did, I could bottle it and make a fortune or at least write a book about it.  I do believe that most things, in and out of the bedroom, can be solved, or at least made better, through communication. 

I truly hope I've been helpful
Hugs and love
Andrew

Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to andrewgreybooks@comcast.net.  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

Please remember this is meant to be all in fun.  (I was going to say good, clean fun, but who wants that.)    So send me your questions and let's see what mischief we can get into.

Visit Andrew on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks  and you can join Andrew's fan group All The Way With Andrew Grey.

Follow him on Twitter:  @andrewgreybooks

Visit Andrew's web site:  www,andrewgreybooks.com

Monday, August 4, 2014

July by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday! Okay, now that that's out of the way, where did July go? Seriously. Where did it go? How is it August? Either it's my busy schedule or the hot weather or a lack of caffeine (pft!), but time is slipping by. Okay, enough of that, here's July's writing recap.

In Your Eyes, a standalone novel in my Mates series, was released
on July 14th. Releases are always fun but scary and this was no exception. For those of you who read the book, I hope you enjoyed it.

I've been working on edits for my contemporary novella, McFarland's Farm, a book in a new town called Hope Crossing. 

I've also been working on edits for The Half of Us, the next Family series book. It’ll be released on October 10th.

And last but not least, I'm finishing up a new wolf shifter book for what I hope will be a new shifter novella series.

Have a great week.

CC
www.cardenoc.com

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Looking After Joey Winner and Other Giveaway Goodness



My e-book giveaway winner from last week's David Pratt interview is Alaina! I'll be contacting you shortly about your prize. Check out his latest release, Looking After Joey, at Wilde City Press and Amazon.

Want more freebie opportunities? Have you signed up for my newsletter? I'll be giving away either a paperback or e-book with each new release, starting with tomorrow's launch of Stripped Away.

You can also win an e-book copy of Stripped Away over at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews. They're also giving away a copy of I Swear to You by my buddy Sloan Parker - I love this book. You'll love it too. Get yourself a copy.

It's been a loooong and tiring weekend so that's all I have for now. More later.

Happy reading,
Love, Ellis


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Getting to know Renae Kaye



Umm – Renae?

Yes?

It’s Saturday and you need to blog on Café Risque.

Oh, no!  I do?  What should I say?  What should I blog?  Oh no oh no oh no…

Calm down!  Jeez!  Why are writers always so emotional?  Look – how about you tell us about how you became a writer?  When did you start writing?

Oh.  Umm – I think I was five.  My teacher gave me a pencil and showed me how to write the first letter of the alphabet…

Do you realise I’m gritting my teeth in exasperation at the moment?

<cheeky grin>  Okay, okay.  The truth is just boring, that’s all.  I started writing my first novel in February 2013.  Once I finished that, I started writing Loving Jay.  It was accepted on its first submission, and that was it.

Wow.  You mean you’d never written before?  Why not?

I’ve grown up with a huge imagination.  I’m the youngest in my family, and thus I was ignored by my older siblings a lot (woe is me!), leaving me to make up my own games.  I created worlds and families and friends in my mind.  I also read a huge amount of books.

But in school I excelled at maths and science.  English was my weak subject, so I’ve always considered myself as a very poor candidate for a writer.  Then in January 2013, I got the crazy idea to write a novel - and it was an interesting challenge to me.  So I did it.  No fanfare.  No biggy.  Just did it.

So you think anyone can do it?

Yes – within reason.  First of all, you need to read and read and read.  There are a lot of technical help books, blogs and sites that can help with the different aspects of writing.  I’ve read them and can see that I instinctively do a lot of it – things like pacing and plots.  That comes from subconsciously absorbing all those books I’ve read.  Things like grammar can be assisted with editors.

But something that I think successful authors have that wanna-be authors lack?  Persistence and tenacity.  I’ve written six full-length novels to completion (and I’m not going to mention the 16+ others languishing in my computer).  In every single book I’ve written, there comes a point (and often more than one) where you either lose your steam, or you are unsure where to go.  There is a hump.  Wanna-be’s give up.  Authors push through.  They write when they don’t feel like it, they erase pages and try again, they sit on it and come back to it.  Whatever it takes – but they push through and make it to the end.  Then they revise revise revise.

How do you get inspiration?

Anywhere and everywhere!  One day I was driving through a suburb and saw a man walking two dogs down the path.  I only saw the guy from the back, but he had a blond plait that reached his bum.  That image stayed with me until I had to write him a story – why does he have such long hair?  If that story is published, you will meet him – long plait, walking his dogs down the road.

Most of my stories come from the questions “Why?” or “What if?”  Some of the inspirations for my unfinished manuscripts are:
 - what if you woke one morning and you were not only 200 years in the past, but a different country?
 - what if you had grown up living in the forest, and were put in a prison below ground?
 - what if your parents forgot about you one day and lost you?
 - why would you say no to a date with the most gorgeous man you’ve ever met?
 - why would a hot, young man pick an aging, boring person to fall in love with?

Can I ask a question about last week’s blog?  Were you joking about the spiders and snakes?

No.  Sorry.  We do have them here in Perth.

Really?  Do they come in your house every night?

The snakes – not really.  I live near a lake, so I see them around my house on an average of once a year.  Either tiger snakes or dugites – both are extremely venomous.  I have a good friend who is a snake catcher, and she and her husband would get about ten calls a week during the summer.  The snakes are around, but it is rare to get bitten.

The spiders are everywhere.  Only the redbacks are a worry for me (cousins to the black widow).  I would eradicate about fifty per year from my house and yard.  We don’t get funnelweb spiders in Perth (big, black scary MFs!!) – they only occur in the Eastern States of Australia.

Renae as a two-year-old, reading to her dolls
What about crocodiles?

Not in Perth.

Sharks? 

Yes.  Sorry.  But out of all the people who go swimming each year, you would have to be unlucky to be the shark victim.

That is not reassuring.

Oh.  Sorry.  How about if I tell you the weather is beautiful here?  Today (the middle of winter) was a sunny 19 degrees Celsius (about 65F).  We never get snow.

Oh that sounds magical!

Yes, I’ve spent the afternoon planting strawberries and rhubarb, and readying my veggie garden for spring planting.

Not writing?

Oh, whoops.  Shh!  Don’t tell anyone.

What are you going to blog about next week?


Oh, man!  Pushy, aren’t you?  Okay – I’ll think about it.  See you then.  <waving>


How to contact Renae:




Twitter:  @renaekkaye