Saturday, April 30, 2016

The joys and frustrations of writing about children, by Renae Kaye



I asked my Facebook friends for some topics to blog about to promo my new book, Safe in His Heart (Safe #2) and Susan Lynn suggested this (above topic) for me.  First I looked at it and said, “No – there’s nothing to write about this,” but I’ve thought about it longer, and you know what?  I think there are things to say.



I have to admit that a small part of me liking M/M Romance is that it “takes out the uterus.”  Now, let me explain this comment.  I read M/F Romance for years, and one of the things that I got annoyed at is that having children always seemed to be a part of the equation.  No romance story seemed to be complete without having the requisite boy/girl set of twins at the end.  As if to say that a love story is not “true” without producing twin babies exactly nine months after the wedding.

I often think to myself on whether the love comes first, or the discussion of children in these types of books.  Even when you have a strong female lead in a romance, who often says she doesn’t want kids because she prefers her career, the author will have to discuss the possibility of the husband staying home and raising the children.  It’s as if the uterus in the relationship is more important than the heart.

My own experience in life tells me that a child is not necessary to complete a relationship.  My best friend told me when she was sixteen that she didn’t want children.  Over twenty years later, she has never, ever wavered from this path.  She’s been with her partner since she was eighteen, and they are more than happy not to have children.

There seems to be a plethora of M/M Romance involving babies and children lately.  I think it is a combination of factors.  For a start there are so many M/M Romance books out there now – the genre has exploded – so there is more of everything.  We’re also seeing how writers are reflecting in our fiction the changes of our laws.  Many more countries have same-sex marriage laws, and with it often come adoption and surrogacy laws.  Society is evolving and the laws are changing to keep up.

Here in Australia, we are actually in a spot of bother when it comes to gay men becoming fathers.  Sean Kennedy and I have often discussed it over coffee.  We have no same-sex marriage laws for a start (although we recognise same-sex defacto relationships).  Adoption is all but out of the question, especially newborn adoption.  There are no laws banning same-sex couples from adopting, but it seems as if the adoption agencies will choose straight couples over gay couples.  Unlike America where there seems to be a lot of parents signing away their rights to their children, who are then placed in foster care that hopefully leads to adoption, Australian fostering and adoption is a lot harder and the parental rights held in the highest regard.  Adopting newborns or even older children who were born in Australia is rare.

But to put another hurdle in the way of gay couples who wish to have children, commercial surrogacy is against the law in Australia.  Our laws are very strict.  Most people wanting some sort of surrogacy arrangement went overseas to Indonesia, India and Thailand.  In the past 18 months there were a few cases of Australian couples doing some terrible things in relation to surrogacy (like abandoning their children in the foreign country if they are born with a disability), and as a result of outrage when the public found out, these countries have closed their commercial operations.

So you would think that I would actually never write about children in my M/M Romance novels, right?  With gay men unable to adopt or obtain surrogacy permission in Australia, and the fact I’m a little derisive of trite endings?

Wrong.

For one simple fact.  Children occur in life.  All of my books have contained children or pregnancy in them.  Brothers and sisters, or friends of the MC getting pregnant and having children is pretty usual in a gay man’s life.  And Renae Kaye loves writing her realistic stories with flaws and all.


I love to write about children because they are often innocent.  They love their uncle for being him, not because he’s gay or not gay, strong or not strong, handsome or not.  Being an uncle or aunt you often get the best of both worlds because you get to have fun with the kids, but hand them back to their parents for the tricky part.  Children can also provide comic relief in a story that is getting a little heavy.

The frustration about writing children into a book is that not everyone wants to read about the hum-drum, normal, tiring part of parenting.  And by being a parent myself, I know that 95% of parenting can be the boring bits.  It’s like looking in a photo album – you have photos of birthday parties, Christmas, that zoo trip, and the day that Little Penelope put blue cake in her hair.  You don’t open up the album and find pictures that are labelled, “4th of May, Little Johnnie. Had cornflakes for breakfast and only spilled some of them.  Had to change his red shirt for a blue one.”

In The Blinding Light (The Tav #1), Jake and Patrick have the opportunity to adopt a child at the end of the story.  But you never see the ins and outs of parenting, because it occurs at the end.  In the second book in this series, You Are the Reason (The Tav #2), the story moves onto Dave and Lee.  There are a couple of scenes where you see a peek at Jake and Patrick’s new life, but never the full picture. 

It was my own short-sighted self who didn’t realise that Paul would get his own book that created a need to heavily involve children in Safe in His Heart (Safe #2).  In Safe #1, I created Paul, and he was in love with a married man who had children.  So when I attempted to write Paul and Andrew’s story, I was constrained by the relationship I had already created.  Andrew had two small children who he loved and it would break his heart to leave.

And bound by that, I wrote Safe #2.  It was a joy to write about Andrew’s love for his children.  Just because a man is gay, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t long for children.  Andrew’s children are the most important thing in his life.  But it also meant the story needed to get into the nitty-gritty of child care arrangements.  No matter how much I wanted it to, I just couldn’t have Andrew constantly leaving his children with a conveniently available babysitter while he went off on dates with Paul.  So, by necessity, Paul spends a lot of time in Andrew’s house… with Andrew’s children.

It brings a whole new element into the story, because now the focus isn’t just on the two main characters, the focus has expanded to include two more characters whose needs are fundamental in the relationship.  Scenes will involve all of them.  And the opinions, behaviour, and needs of these extra characters provide extra complexity to the storyline.

That being said, I never once shied away from putting Lilah and Germy in the story.  The joy of children much outweigh the frustration.


Excerpt, Safe in His Heart

Paul smiled at him again. He really was a cute little kid, and his resemblance to Andrew made Paul’s heart melt. He was going to be a handsome boy, like his daddy. He was dressed in wrinkled blue shorts and a matching short-sleeved jacket that had a picture of a snoring dragon on it. The blue shorts were stretched around an obviously full nappy.

“Hello,” Paul tried again. “What’s your name?”

The boy removed the finger from his mouth so he could speak. “Germy.” He popped the finger straight back in, allowing a flow of drool to trickle from the corner of his lips. Drool was nothing new to Paul.

“Germy?” he asked. The boy nodded, and Paul finally remembered his name was Jeremy. Going by the drool, perhaps Germy was a better one.

“Well, Germy. Is your daddy awake yet?” Jeremy shook his head solemnly. So Paul said, “What about your sister?” Jeremy solemnly shook his head and looked sad. Playing alone was evidently a disappointment for a two-year-old. He sighed. “All righty, then. I guess it’s only us who are up with the larks. Or is that the sparrows? I never remember. Since I have no idea what a lark looks like, I guess I’m not up with them. What do you think?”

Jeremy blinked once but didn’t answer. Paul laughed and reached out to ruffle his hair. “Sorry, buddy. A bit beyond you. I know. I’m Paul, by the way. I’m a friend of your daddy. How about you show me where the toilet is, because I need to go really badly, and then we can go and see if we can get Daddy up. Hmm?”



Safe in His Heart, by Renae Kaye.  Released 2 May 2016.
eBook links

Thursday, April 28, 2016

More than just romance by Riley Hart


I'm a romance addict. There is no two ways about it. I love reading romance. I love writing romance. I love real life romantic stories. My heart turns to mush and my eyes well with tears. I believe love can change people's lives...maybe change the world. I've realized something about my writing lately though. Yes, I am a romance author but I also seem to write about family relationships a lot in my books. Whether it's relationships between parents or siblings, or children, family often plays a major role in the books I write. In some says, I guess I just enjoy writing about relationships--no matter what kind they are?

Relationships are messy. Family is messy. There are so many possibilities and different relationships to explore.

Do you enjoy books with family themes?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ask Andrew - Characters in the Bedroom


Dear Andrew

How do you decide what type of character you'll develop.  I've heard you say that in addition to the general character traits, you also develop 'bedroom' traits.  How do you decide?

Martha

Dear Martha

Developing character is one of the most important components of writing a romance because the stories are very much character driven.  As an author, we develop all of the traits for each of the characters in our stories.  As you alluded to, my favorite part of that process is developing the bedroom character traits.  And I like there to be some surprises.  For example, the bug guy in the story, may be the bottom in the bedroom.  There's an old saying.  The bigger they are the more helium in the hells.  :)

Characters may have quirks in the bedroom.  One character may like to have his toes sucked while another will have sensitive nipples, or just the opposite.  A character may be a complete dynamo of energy in life, but in the bedroom, can be shy and much more quiet.  As long as there is a justification for the behavior so it seems believable to the reader, the sky is the limit.  And that's what makes it fun.  People are individuals so our characters must be the same and we all have things we like and don't like in and out of the bedroom.  Not everyone is a good kisser or a good lover, but think of the heat that could be generated by lessons in loving.  (Oh there's a title)

The important thing is to make characters interesting, different, fun, and feeling real.  We all have strengths and weakness, and so should the characters we create.

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Covers with BA, Julia, Kiernan and Sean


We were all at RT one week, then had to take the next to get back into the swing of things and to catch back up with all the little and big things there are to do. So today we thought we'd each share a cover with you. 







Got a topic you'd like us to tackle? Let us know!

You can find us on Twitter at @seanmichael09, @juliatalbot, @batortuga and @KiernanKelly

Kiernan's is www.KiernanKelly.com

Facebook:


Sean
smut fixes everything
where the naughty boys come... and play

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Safe in His Heart, first excerpts, by Renae Kaye




My new release Safe in His Heart (Safe #2) comes out next week.  In nine days.  I’ll be exhausted by then.  I’ve been busily writing blogs and burning the midnight oil.  But that’s okay.  I will wait for the dust to settle before I emerge and see if my readers like my new book or not.


Safe #2 is about a man hiding his sexual orientation.  He entered into a marriage of convenience in order to fool his family and friends.  They had two children to complete the image, but neither of them considers fidelity to be a part of their deal.  Here, in this excerpt, Andrew explains:



Andrew tried hard to be straight. He tried to please his father. He consciously ignored his sinful urges and married a woman like the Bible told him to. He used his seed to bring children into his marriage, and that was about the best damn thing he’d already done in his life.

His children were the only good thing about his marriage to Kristy. The day he stood in front of the altar of Kristy’s church and promised to love and honor her, he lied. He felt sick at the time because he made that vow in front of God, and knew that he would break it. But the church hadn’t fallen in like he dreaded. He looked Kristy in the eye and lied, and she looked him in the eye and lied right back.



Things fall apart for Andrew though, when his wife leaves and he no longer has her as a screen to hide his “other” life that he sometimes leads.  Andrew turns to Paul for support.  But it’s dangerous.




Blurb


Andrew and Paul learned about God and Jesus in different churches and realize their views of spirituality are worlds apart.

Andrew was raised Catholic and was told his homosexuality was a sin. For his entire life, he hid the truth. He married and had children to present a façade to the world—that of a straight man. It’s not until he has an affair with Paul, who shows him a different side of Jesus, that Andrew realizes he can be gay and still believe in God. Paul’s Jesus is one of acceptance and love, and in Paul’s church, being gay is not a problem.

For Paul and Andrew, falling in love is the easy part of their journey. They must make it through the fires of cheating, being discovered, Andrew’s wife leaving, the necessities of childcare and family life, the demands of their jobs, and working on their commitment to each other. Only then can they be safe in each other’s heart.

You can pre-order Safe in His Heart here:
How to contact Renae:
Twitter:  @renaekkaye




Friday, April 22, 2016

New Beginnings, or How I Finally Cleaned my Refrigerator by Felice Stevens


I have talked about it often enough these past weeks, but tonight is the start of the Passover holiday. Passover celebrates the freedom of the Jewish people from slavery under the Egyptians, and requires the eating of only unleavened bread or matzoh.

Now that may sound good to those who don't have to eat it, but after eight days of it, come talk to me.... yeah right.

This is not my favorite holiday because it requires changing all my dishes, my cutlery, and cleaning my kitchen, to make it free of all bread products. But the  one thing I do enjoy is cleaning out my refrigerator. You see, I've talked about my son who, though he's ben away at school this year, loves to cook and has left me with the lovely present of a refrigerator stocked up with all kinds of bottle filled with sauces he likes to cook with. 

Tonight, after I cooked my brisket and chicken soup, I took a garbage pail and one by one, gleefully tossed out the half-filled bottle and jars filled with liquids, some of which looked like a science experiment from years past. It was almost fun discovering items shoved in the back of the shelves that hadn't seen the light of day since last Passover cleaning.

So you may hear me complain, but come eight days from now, I will have a nice, newly clean refrigerator.....

Just in time for when my son comes home from his first year of college on May 2...

By the way, in case you have a road trip planned this weekend, two the books in my Breakfast Club series are now out on audio and whispersynched if you have it already on your Kindle. You can find them both on Tantor media or at Audible:




http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_pd_Fictio_c2_1_auth?searchAuthor=Felice+Stevens

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ask Andrew - Buildings and Layout


Dear Andrew

When you are writing about structures (houses, shops, workplaces, etc) do you have a picture or visual reference or can you picture the space, and the objects in it in your mind? Basically, how do you deal with structures, furniture and the 'flow' of the space?

Sarah

Dear Sarah

When I'm writing about structures, I have a definite picture in my head.  I'll let you in on a little secret.  When I'm writing about various buildings I picture ones I know as a model.  For example, I have used the homes of various friends for some of their homes or places they visit.  For a while I watched some of those real estate shows on television and I use the buildings they tour.  In the story I'm writing now, I'm using Dominic's mother's kitchen as the place where my character and his mother have their conversation about relationships. 

I do the same thing with businesses.  I may transplant the buildings to various parts of the country, but I use ones I know as models and shift them around.  I do that for the restaurants and shops in the Carlisle Cops as well as the Taste of Love stories.  I do make changes and modifications to the buildings as I need to, but this technique allows me to start with the building that I know well and make the modifications needed in my head. 

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, April 18, 2016

Walk With Me Sale & Fun Interview by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday! If you haven't read Walk With Me, now is the time because it's on sale at Kobo for 30% off with this code: 30APR!

And instead of a traditional blog post, I'm going to point you to an interview I did with Alphas Do It Better. They're a great group of readers/bloggers and I had fun chatting with them.

Have a wonderful week.

CC
www.cardenoc.com 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Safe in His Heart, by Renae Kaye



As an author, I often see the world differently.  And I know this, because I view the world differently today than I did four years ago.  Four years ago I was normal and just went about my life without thinking too hard.  That changed when I gave myself the tag of “author.”  Because now I’ve given myself permission to view the world differently.

People I meet are dissected and parts of them removed for future use in a story.  It’s very cannibalistic.  I also like to hear people speak about why they did things, because what makes them tick is interesting to me and I want to reuse it in a book.

Which brings me to the point of this blog.  Most people know it.  Most people will sit there and go – yeah, of course.  But I ask you, dear reader, to try to think about it a little more, because you may find you are doing it without realising.  And I have to raise my guilty hand at this – because I’m aware of it, and I still do it.

Here it is.

The big revelation.

Authors are not their characters.

**gasp**

I’ve read discourses about this that say that authors are probably very much like the first character they ever created, and I have to admit that many of my characters share traits with me, but that is just a small sliver of character.   But it bears repeating.  Authors are not their characters.

I was speaking to an author once who writes BDSM-type novels, and she was telling me about some of the dirty emails she gets sometimes.   Men (I only remember her mentioning men, but it could’ve been women too) who mistook her for her (male!) character and wrote to her wanting sexual play.  She confessed that she didn’t use BDSM practices in her real life, only in books, and was a bit perturbed about these emails.

I have to admit to making assumptions about authors too.  **hangs guilty head**  I tend to picture them as their cover model, or at least feminine versions of their cover models, and then I always pore over photos from conferences and laugh about how wrong I was about them.  One author I was speaking to has an avatar of a red-headed cartoon figure.  She told me she was invited to join a red-heads only club, just because of her avatar.  She’s not a red-head and was banned from the club when they found out.

So logically we know that authors are not their characters, so why do we assume characters have the same beliefs and ideologies as their creators?

Once upon time, back when I was poor and just getting into M/M Romance reading, I borrowed every single M/M book that the libraries in my state held.  One was set in America and featured a character who worked in politics.  Now, I’m just an ignorant Australian, so I didn’t get all of the nuances of this book, but I pushed through to the end.  I was doing some googling about the book later to try and understand the problems the characters faced (ie from different political parties), and I found an interview with the author about it, where she admitted that this character was hard for her to write.  She said he was the opposite party to what she supported, but the story wouldn’t work without him being this particular party supporter and so she wrote him.

Intrigued, I went searching for reviews on Goodreads about this book and I was astonished.  Instead of focusing on the book and the love story between two political opposites, they were focused on fact that they could never like a character who supported XX party.  Admittedly politics is one of the things people get all het up about, but they were taking it out on the author.  For writing about a character.  Who, as it turns out, has a different political stance to her anyway.

Acceptance.  That’s the big buzz word that flies around at the moment.  Accept that people are gay.  Accept that people are Muslim.  Accept that people are trans.  Accept that people have mental health issues.  Accept that people are a different skin colour to you.  Accept.  If you study the statistics about how many M/M Romance readers are female, you will understand that women can read about men and empathise with the main character.  You will understand that straight women and read about gay men and empathise.  95% of my readership is outside Australia (probably more).  So those people can read about Australians and empathise.  We can read about someone different from us and still enjoy the story, empathise with the character, and celebrate their happy ending.

My upcoming release talks about two trigger points that may send readers screaming, running for the hills and googling hitmen to take me out.  Cheating and religion.  I admit that they are in there. I’ve spelled it out carefully in the blurb so that people won’t send me voodoo dolls and horse heads in the mail.  But I want to make something very clear – authors are not their characters.  If you’re a reader who can’t bear to read about an Amish character because you’re not Amish, then that’s fine.  And there’s also no offense taken if you can’t pick up my book that has two characters who identify as Catholic and Anglican.  If you can’t read about a desperately closeted man who entered into a marriage of convenience to hide his homosexuality, then that’s okay.  I don’t mind.  I’d rather hear readers say, “You know what?  I just can’t read that one” than readers get upset with me.

Because, I have to apologise if it's distasteful, but it’s something that is present in our society, no matter how much you like to think all LGBT people are welcome out of the closet.  I’m in the business of writing realistic characters.  For me, Andrew is real.  His parents are very Catholic and he’s been told his whole life to turn away from the sin of homosexuality.  Unable to bear the shame and hurt his family with his gay side, he marries a woman and has children.

Safe in His Heart is a journey of one man’s acceptance of himself.  Raised in the Catholic Church, Andrew has a belief in God that cannot be erased, just because the Bible says he’s a sinner.  Andrew’s life is in turmoil.  He cannot see any way that he will be accepted out of the closet, so he lies and cheats and desperate holds that closet door closed.

Then he meets Paul – a man that was supposed to be a once-off hookup.  Paul and Andrew are drawn together.  Paul doesn’t think too highly of Andrew’s life either, but there’s something that keeps bringing him back to this closeted, married, cheating man.  Technically Andrew’s wife gives him permission to cheat, but does that make it right? 

And yes, as an author who needed to explore her character, there is religion mentioned in this book.  Andrew wants to hold onto his belief in God, so he has to explore his feelings on this, so the reader has to follow Andrew’s thoughts about the Bible.

My own personal beliefs of cheating and religion lie somewhere other than Andrew or Paul’s opinions.  I’d probably be un-baptised if I set them out.  But that’s okay.  Because I’m an author and my own beliefs don’t appear in print.  I’m in the business of creating characters.  And sometimes characters do things that are not-so-nice.  Just like real people do.

I have a hope.  A goal.  A wish.  It’s very egotistical, and I’m a little ashamed to admit it.  But one day, I hope that someone who’s struggling with his own sexuality  picks up one of my books and is helped by what’s inside it.  I usually visualise a young man of around seventeen who isn’t sure about who he is, browsing the shelves in a library and finding the book, then taking it home to pore over.  I hope he finds the answers within the pages.  I hope he sees that there’s nothing wrong with him. That gay is okay. That LGBT people can have happy, normal lives too.  And if someone is struggling with their belief in God, I hope that they maybe be able to follow Andrew’s journey and see how Andrew had his “ah-ha!” moment.

I look forward to you picking up my book and following Andrew’s journey.  It’s not an easy one.  People do get hurt.  Sometimes people do things with good intentions that fail.  Sometimes people unintentionally hurt others.  And sometimes it’s just bloody hard work in order to get a measure of happiness.  Life is never going to be easy for Andrew, but I do guarantee he gets a HEA with Paul.  Love is the only thing that is going to be easy.

eBook links


Andrew and Paul learned about God and Jesus in different churches and realize their views of spirituality are worlds apart.

Andrew was raised Catholic and was told his homosexuality was a sin. For his entire life, he hid the truth. He married and had children to present a façade to the world—that of a straight man. It’s not until he has an affair with Paul, who shows him a different side of Jesus, that Andrew realizes he can be gay and still believe in God. Paul’s Jesus is one of acceptance and love, and in Paul’s church, being gay is not a problem.

For Paul and Andrew, falling in love is the easy part of their journey. They must make it through the fires of cheating, being discovered, Andrew’s wife leaving, the necessities of childcare and family life, the demands of their jobs, and working on their commitment to each other. Only then can they be safe in each other’s heart.




How to contact Renae
Twitter:  @renaekkaye







Friday, April 15, 2016

My First RT


Here we will go through my first experience at RT, the Romantic Times Convention, held this year in Las Vegas.

Oh Boy

There are over 3000 people here and it is overwhelming to say the  least. The sheer number of authors and readers who are attending this event are mind-boggling. I've seen some of the biggest names in contemporary romance, historical romance and paranormal romance. I've met with people in the bookselling industry, such as librarians and bookstore owners and managers.  However for me, the highlight of this convention has been meeting the authors whom I've only known on social media and the readers I've grown to love.
To me, we all feel like one big family, so it was a little like coming home.

Saturday is the big book signing day and I'm looking forward to meeting more fantastic readers and other authors. I'm not sure if I'll be going next year, but this has been a time I'll never forget.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Movie Favorites with BA, Julia, Kiernan and Sean


Today we are talking Movie Favorites, a baker's dozen questions.:

What's your favorite zombie movie?
BA: Night of the Living Dead. They're coming to get you, Barbara.
Julia: Shaun of the Dead 
Kiernan: Night of the Living Dead (original in b/w). Still gives me the creeps.
Sean: Shaun of the Dead (favorite zombie thing ever is The Walking Dead)


What's your favorite horror movie (non-zombie)?
BA: Poltergeist -- the original. Do not TALK to me about the remake.
Julia: Hmmm. I do love monster movies. I tend to like adventure hybrids. How about deep blue sea 
Kiernan: Cabin in the Woods (although it does have zombies in it, they're not the main focus).
Sean: I'm not good at horror films usually - 7 left me waking up in the middle of the night too scared to go to the en suite washroom, but Deep Blue Sea is one that was fun and I've seen more than once.


What's your favorite western movie?
BA: Tombstone - "I got lots of friends." "I don't."
Julia: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 
Kiernan: The Cowboys (an oldie with John Wayne).
Sean: Young Guns

What's your favorite comedy movie?
BA: Shaun of the Dead :D
Julia: I tend not to like what people expect me to find funny. We'll go with  Clue
Kiernan: The Birdcage
Sean: The Pirates of the Carribean (what, it's hilarious)

What's your favorite sci-fi or fantasy movie?
BA: Labyrinth because David Bowie
Julia: Beastmaster 
Kiernan: Labyrinth
Sean: Oh I love Labyrinth. And I love the Star Wars movies, and The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek (some of them) Okay, so I'm a fantasy and sci-fi junkie and can't possibly pick a favorite, or even a favorite for now.


What's your favorite action movie?
BA: Gladiator. Men in skirts, baybee.
Julia: The Mummy 
Kiernan: Die Hard with a Vengeance
Sean: Thor


What's your favorite black and white movie?
BA: Young Frankenstein
Julia: Red River with John Wayne.  
Kiernan: Psycho (or the first ten minutes of The Wizard of Oz).
Sean: Casablance


What's your favorite drama movie?
BA: A Lion in Winter (again, the original. I don't do remakes.)
Julia: Gladiator
Kiernan: The Godfather
Sean: Chariots of Fire


What's your favorite animated movie?
BA: Beauty and the Beast
Julia: Little Mermaid 
Kiernan: Beauty and the Beast
Sean: Big Hero Six


What's your favorite buddy movie?
BA: Jaws
Julia: Sahara
Kiernan: Some Like it Hot
Sean: The Fellowship of the Ring


What's your favorite guilty pleasure movie?
BA: Conan the Barbarian. Beastmaster. Sword and Sorcery. Pick one.
Julia: Why be guilty? I already admitted to liking beast master. Maybe the 13th Warrior 
Kiernan: Jaws 3D
Sean: A Knight's Tale


What movie have you seen the most times?
BA: The Wizard of Oz
Julia: Toss up between the mummy and Indiana jones 
Kiernan: The Wizard of Oz
Sean: Star Wars (A New Hope)

What little known/underrated movie do you absolutely love?
BA: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. DO NOT JUDGE.
Julia: Alex and Emma
Kiernan:  Little Voice
Sean: The Island 


BA adds: I want to know why the musical genre was so desperately underrepresented here. Seriously. MUSICALS. M. U. S. I. C. A. L. S.  Moulin Rouge, Jesus Chris Superstar, White Christmas, Hair, Tommy, Rent, The King and I, Sound of Music, What the fuck?

Sean replies: because I didn't think of the category when I made up the questions? we're also missing favorite sports movie, favorite foreign film... oh look, the beginnings of another post ;)


Got a topic you'd like us to tackle? Let us know!

You can find us on Twitter at @seanmichael09, @juliatalbot, @batortuga and @KiernanKelly

Sean’s website is http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com
Julia’s is http://www.juliatalbot.com
BA’s is http://www.batortuga.com
Kiernan's is www.KiernanKelly.com

Facebook:
Sean -- https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites
Julia -- https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor
BA -- https://www.facebook.com/batortuga
Kiernan -- https://www.facebook.com/kiernan.kelly


Sean
smut fixes everything

where the naughty boys come... and play

Monday, April 11, 2016

My Wonderful Facebook Group by Cardeno C.



Happy Monday! I have a wonderful group on Facebook where readers come together to chat about all sorts of things and to help me with ideas/suggestions. Today, I'll tell you a little about the group because if you're a Facebooker and it sounds fun, we'd love to have you join us! 

Every day a member or two post a discussion topic of their choosing - something insightful, something funny, something helpful (example: I'm painting my stairs, give me ideas!), or whatever. We also share book recommendations and get book suggestions. And finally, this is the place I go when I need advice from readers about anything related to the book writing/publishing process. I've asked my group for book topic ideas, quotes for marketing, places where I should sell my books, and even this very blog post topic. 

I love this group of friendly, helpful, fun readers and I'm endlessly grateful for their advice and help. If you want to join us, we're at Cardeno C.'s Cinderfuckingrellas on Facebook. 

Have a terrific week.

CC

www.cardenoc.com

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Renae Kaye interviews Sean Kennedy


My good friend, Sean Kennedy, has recently published a novel, and I asked him to do an interview about it.  People have been asking ME about the book, and so I bribed Sean with chippies and drew him out of his writing cave.

Name of book:  The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson (Get Out Book 1)
Date Published: 
7th April 2016
I can't wait!

Blurb
Get Out: Book One

Micah Johnson is out of options.

Following a stint as a runaway after the cruel revelation of his sexual orientation, Micah vows to get his life back on the right track. But there are roadblocks between him and his goal of making the national draft and having a shot at becoming an AFL player, including struggles with other students both on and off the football field. Hiding behind sarcasm will only protect him from so much, and Micah knows just making it to graduation will be an epic battle. If only Micah could find a fraction of the faith that his mentor, Declan Tyler, has in him, but he can’t seem to see what Declan does.

Micah is trying to reform, but the end of the road is a long way off, and it’s clear the process is ongoing.


Buy links: 
Dreamspinner
Amazon
ARe


THE INTERVIEW

When did you start writing this book? 

Directly after finishing Tigers on the Run.  Micah was just yelling out that he wanted his story to continue.  And I found myself wanting to continue it as well.

What gave you the inspiration for the story? 

In Tigers on the Run Simon and Dec point out that while Dec was the first out AFL player, Micah will be the first one out from the very beginning of his career.  It just kept coming back to me and I wanted to see how that would affect him.

What was the working title? 

It was originally The Reformation of Micah Johnson.  But as I was writing it, it became apparent that Micah’s reformation was an ongoing one with many steps back as well.  Hence the change.

Where did the title of the book come from? 

I sometimes see reviews that criticise Simon for being too unlikeable, which I really don’t understand personally, but I thought ‘well, if they think that about Simon, what the hell would they think about Micah?’.  So the title was to reflect that Micah was growing up a little and would be different to the more troubled version seen in Tigers on the Run.

What challenges did you face with writing this?

Simon is a snarky, defensive adult; Micah is a snarky defensive teen.  They are very similar, so I didn’t want them sounding that similar.  It was hard to go from first person narrative to third.  I’m so used to writing Simon it’s almost second nature.  I struggled finding Micah’s voice at the start.

Tell us about Micah – where did the inspiration come for him? 

Tigers on the Run sees Simon and Dec talking more seriously about starting a family, although Simon has his reservations.  Micah was developed to show what Simon and Dec could be like raising an unruly child and to see if they were ready for it.  And everybody expects Simon to be terrible at it, but he turns out to be pretty empathetic, seeing a lot of himself in Micah.

Is there anything special that happens in the story that you think readers would like to know about? 

It’s a bildungsroman where Micah learns to grow up and think about other people and their pain as well as his own.  But he’s not perfect.  And there’s one character in this book that was only meant to be in one scene but has now become a vital part of the ongoing series.

 Do you plan a follow up story? 

There will be at least four in the series.  There’s a story arc that I want to play out.  The second book focuses on Micah again, but the third will shift to Emma.  That doesn’t mean they don’t all appear in each other’s books, however!  In fact I was just writing a scene in Book 3 with Sim (redacted by author)

Bonus question:  Declan Tyler is mentioned in the blurb – does that mean we get to see more of his and Simon’s romance? 

Dec and Simon were really only meant to be cameos in each book, but in Micah’s book they tend to turn up often – and Dec came to be quite an important character and appear in a lot more scenes than I originally intended.  It was interesting to write him away from Simon’s perspective and show that they’re not always attached at the hip.  We see a lot of Simon in his day job etc. in Tigers but never really Dec.  He gets to come out of the shadows a little bit.

Thank you Sean for sharing chippies and doing this interview.  You can find Sean... well.  Not in a lot of places.  Best google him, email him, and hope for the best.  Or you can send me a message and I'll hide it in the bottom of the chippy container when I drop the next packet off.




How to contact Renae:
Twitter:  @renaekkaye


Friday, April 8, 2016

Cover Reveal and a taste of Learning to Love by Felice Stevens


One of the most exciting things about writing a book is, if you're like me, getting the email with your new cover from your cover artist.

Learning to Love is a different book for me; it is my first book written in first person and though I thought it would be difficult, I knew right from the start it couldn't be any other way. Gideon Marks spoke to me like no other character of mine has and I knew his story would be different than any other I have written.

Both of my characters are Jewish and though I've written Jewish characters before, this might be my most "Jewish book." It originally was written as a Chanukah story but evolved into so much more, once I revised and expanded it. If you know my books, many of my characters are Jewish; it is an integral part of who I am and I enjoy introducing people to the religion and culture.

One thing that is very important in Jewish holidays is the food. In Learning to Love, Gideon is a chef and he makes many of the meals I grew up with. I decided to give some of my recipes for some of my favorite meals in the book itself. Today, along with the cover I will give you my mother's recipe for the chicken soup that we had with our dinners on Friday night.


1 chicken, cut into eighths. I use a pullet.
7 cups of water
1 large onion, chopped roughly
1 parsnip cut in half length-wise
1 turnip cut in half
4 carrots, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 TBS salt
1/2 tsp pepper
handful of dill

Bring cold water to a boil in a large, deep stockpot. Add the chicken pieces then lower the heat to a simmer. Skim the fat as it bubbles up. Keep at  low simmer for 1/2 hour, then add the vegetables. Cover the pot half way and keep at a simmer for another hour or until the carrots are soft. Remove the parsnip and turnip. Take out the chicken, remove the skin and shred the meat, then add it back to the soup and add the dill. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Wait until the dill wilts, then serve.

Oh and here is my gorgeous cover for Learning to Love. I think it's my favorite yet.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ask Andrew - The Settings


Dear Andrew

When you write your stories with all these places in mind, have you ever been to most of them or is it mostly research? If you have been to places you write about, where all have you traveled? Has Dominic ever went with you? Some places like,  Accompanied By a Waltz, would be someplace I would love to go just because of the beautiful way you described the country. Or the scenery in the Rodeo series. 

Tammy

Dear Tammy

I have bene or lived in many of the places that I use as settings for my books.  It makes writing about a place much easier if you've actually been there and are able to convey not only how a place looks, but what it feels like.   Dominic has accompanied me on much of my travels, though some like Australia and The Netherlands have been for the evil day job I no longer have.  

Dominic and I travelled to Vienna a number of years ago and it was that trip and the things I saw that I included in Accompanied by a Waltz.  It is impossible to visit that city and not hear or see people dancing.  The Waltz is part of the fabric of life there and the entire place seems to flow right along with the dance.  As for the rodeo series, I have visited Texas a number of times and I have friends who serve as a source of additional inspiration. 

There have bene location I have use that I haven't been to.  As an example I have never been to Syria or to Liberia.  I used Syria as the location for Crossing Divides and Liberia for A Spirit Without Borders.  For those locations I relied on research and talking to people who have been there. 

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Zombie Apocalypse question with BA, Julia, Kiernan and Sean


Dawn Roberto gave us our question today - thank you, Dawn, we had a lot of fun with this one.

If the zombie apocalypse happens what five items would you all have with you to survive it?

BA Tortuga

  1.  Hydroelectric generator.
  2. 10 cases of peanut butter
  3. Size 6 metal knitting needles
  4. A loaded tool box
  5. My daddy.

Julia Talbot

Five things, huh? 
  1. Do my bassets count as one? I'll say yes. Sadie, especially, would turn into a ninja assassin basset and kill. 
  2. My wife. BA is KICK ASS and I would put her up against any zombie any day
  3. A cricket bat, because it worked so well for Shaun of the dead...
  4. and unlimited supply of fresh water
  5. a fully and perpetually charged Kindle with an endless supply of books
What? You didn't say there were rules...


Kiernan
  1. Shovel. Shovels are incredibly useful tools during a zombie apocalypse. You can bash in zombie skulls with the broad side, decapitate with the edge, and dig a hole to put all the decaying corpses in once you're done. Or, you know, plant flowers, in case the zombies turn out to be friendly.
  2. Ramen. It has a half-life of a billion years, and you can survive on it. Sort of. You can also crumble it on the ground and use it as an early warning system in case zombies breach your first line of defense. This way, zombies can't sneak up on you. Because zombies are like that, you know. They tiptoe. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
  3. Bottled water. Duh. Need it to make the Ramen. Also, because tap water is just nasty.
  4. Air freshener. Because...ew. Zombies stink. At least the juicy ones do.
  5. Rubber squeaky brain toy.  A necessary addition to the zombie fighting arsenal, used for distraction purposes. Scenario:  "Here boy!" *squeaks rubber brain toy* "Who wants the brain? You want this, huh?" *throws brain toy * "Okay, go get it!" When the zombie runs off to fetch the rubber squeaky brain toy, you run like hell in the other direction. What? They're zombies, not rocket scientists. Unless they actually were rocket scientists before they were zombified, in which case, break out the shovel.

Sean
  1. Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead, with his bow
  2. Thor, with his hammer
  3. Hawkeye, also with his bow
  4. John McLean, with his explosions
  5. Dwayne Johnson, no weapons needed....


Got a topic you'd like us to tackle? Let us know!

You can find us on Twitter at @seanmichael09, @juliatalbot, @batortuga and @KiernanKelly

Kiernan's is www.KiernanKelly.com

Facebook:


Sean
smut fixes everything
where the naughty boys come... and play

Monday, April 4, 2016

SoundCloud Audio Book Snippets by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday! I have a couple of reader-suggested snippets from my new audiobooks and so I'm sharing audio book clips from Sound Cloud. If you're an audio reader/listener and have suggestions of fun clips from any of my audio books, let me know and I'll create them for my SoundCloud page.








(Sidenote: I am way too proud of myself for figuring out how to put clips here so don't tell me if they don't work. Kidding. Tell me. I'll only cry a little.)

Have a great week!

CC
www.cardenoc.com