Happy Solstice; Fuck 2016

Hello readers! I’ve been wondering how to make this post. Truth be told, I disappeared off most social media early this semester, and now that I’m no longer doing work for school (though still working on other things), I’ve not been sure how to negotiate my absence.

Isn’t that the way it always is with blogs, though? Most contain at least one post of ‘oh, sorry, it’s been so long…’ it’s practically a writing prompt. And the thing is, I also don’t want to apologize for disappearing because I had good reasons (oh so many good reasons) and there’s no shame in leaving online space for the ‘real world’ every so often. But negotiating that space–the space of normalcy and then when something changes, and the distance between those two points–becomes difficult as time stretches out. The more I say I don’t want to call attention to absence, the more I call attention to it.

And then I write two paragraphs on it.

So as my title implies, 2016 has been hard. Really, really hard. I didn’t want to join the chorus at first that this year was out-right bad, no good, rotten year… until maybe June. By then I was done my comprehensive exams, my teaching, and I’d gotten back from the Bisexual Book Awards (sadly, no award in hand but I had a blast), and then… nothing. I had absolutely nothing to distract myself, and as most people in my life have quite aptly said, I’m a workaholic. And so when I’m not working, oh shit, feelings happen.

I hit a wall. Family issues that I’d ignored or dealt with the best I could for as long as I could came to the surface and I suddenly had words to describe what my life had been like. Most of this happened because I’d started to work with a queer writer that summer, thanks to a mentorship I’d won, and he put into context some very interesting things about creative non-fiction writing, vulnerability, and telling stories. So after meeting him for coffee in Toronto, I read half his book in the mall before realizing I needed to buy it, and then read it all in a blur. I tried writing my own story down–which I’d done before, of course, in some way–but I tried to do it from that place of vulnerability he coveted in his fiction and nonfiction, and those capital F Feelings hit me at once.

I’d always been used to hiding. I’d always been used to speaking in code or through metaphors or through some other kind of life. My fiction–what I worked on so voraciously for so long–was my blanket and I’d built forts. I’d keep writing and writing, not thinking anything of these events or characters or anything because they weren’t real. When I tried to write creative non-fiction, a memoir essentially, I couldn’t chalk instances up to ‘imagination’ or characters being fickle. In a way, I approached my life and my upbringing from an outsiders perspective, and I was shocked at what I found because I had to take it seriously. More memories came up, and yada yada.

You all know this story. Trauma is universal, and everyone’s had these helicopter moments where you finally take yourself out of the narrative itself and see it from above. I’d had many in my life before then and I’d moved on from them. Which was partly why, when I was suddenly going through all of this, I was shocked. I’d thought I’d finished this type of emotional groundwork or whatever you want to call it. But I hadn’t, and I wasn’t done, so I decided to take a break from writing. Take a break from everything, honestly, because the moment I stopped writing fiction, other signs kept appearing telling me that I needed to slow down and stop, because ignoring the bigger issue at heart was going to destroy everything I’d tried to build. I also started listening to a lot of Bright Eyes again, especially the album Cassadaga, and the song ‘Lime Tree’ seemed to summarize a lot of what I had to work through–whether I wanted to or not.

So I stopped. I took a break. For the summer and the next semester, I didn’t write–only edited, only promo’d when I needed to, and I got a job at a bar. Go figure. I don’t drink, but now I can bartend, so that was an interesting learning experience the first few weeks. But it got me out of my house, in the world again, talking to different people who weren’t all academics in my field, and the world seemed brighter for a bit. Even when bad things kept happening (and yes, I know I’m being vague but it’s better to keep the ‘bad things’ as dark shadows right now), I started to feel like I could handle myself a lot more.

Which is the sliver lining in all of this, I suppose. I feel better than I have in years in spite of also being sad at moments, like I am right now and I look at my website and neglected Twitter. I’m left wondering, in spite of feeling mostly better, how I come out of this type of absence without calling too much attention to something that’s personal. Publishing is weird, because it essentially means going public, and right now I’m still enjoying my silence. I still have several works coming out because I had a lot on the backlog, but I don’t know if I’ll be blogging much in 2017. And that’s okay, because I feel okay…

But I still wanted to leave some kind of message, in case, you know, someone else wanders by. There’s something so upsetting and eerie about a webpage that hasn’t been updated. Like a ghosttown in the wild west, Roanoke, or some other strange disappearing city. There’s never a final word about the person on the site, whether they’re okay or they’re just gone into the ether of cyberspace. So here’s something, and hopefully’s it’s not been too cryptic.

Happy Solstice, Christmas, Festivus, or whatever you celebrate. Fuck 2016, and let’s hope 2017 is more forgiving.

New Release + Blog Tour

Hello readers! I hope everyone had a safe and happy Valentine’s day, whether you were alone, with your significant other, or friends. I was out seeing Deadpool, so I was definitely happy.

Speaking of comics–my next release from Dreamspinner Press is about a comic artist. And the cover is *gorgeous.*

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I actually had such a hard time choosing a final cover because the artist (AngsyG) did such a good job taking the main themes of the story and representing them. So, as you can see, the main character is a comic book nerd complete with Clark Kent thick-rimmed glasses–but there’s also another side of the story that doesn’t typically go with comic books: cowboys. The horses on the cover are meant to represent one of the main love interests, Charlie, a tall brooding stranger with a green cowboy hat, and the setting of the story as the Calgary Stampede. Here’s the buy blurb to entice a little more:

Trevor Dunn has never gone to the Calgary Stampede, in spite of living in the city all his life. He would much rather listen to music and draw comics in his basement than hang out with a bunch of cowboys. When his sister drags him to the Stampede’s opening parade anyway, Trevor is drawn to a cowboy sporting a green hat.

Charlie opens Trevor’s mind to the world of country music and country boys. But then an old flame appears in the middle of the festival and Trevor is torn. He adores Charlie, but Mathieu—a punk singer turned acoustic crooner—was Trevor’s first love, but Trevor lost him by being too afraid to chase the dreams they shared.

Except after the Stampede ends, Charlie will go back to Toronto, Mathieu will go back on tour, and Trevor will go back to his basement. Realizing that’s not what he wants, Trevor enters a mechanical bull-riding contest in hopes of winning the heart of his true love—or maybe both of them. This time, fear won’t stop him from going after what he wants.

 

I keep referring to this story as my cowboy goes punk or punk and cowboys novel, because that’s kind of what’s going on. It’s an M/M/M title and both love interests split Trevor in all sorts of different directions he’d never considered before. I don’t want to give too much away, especially since I’ll be chatting it up with anyone willing to listen/read in the first few weeks of March as I do a blog tour. Here are my dates so far:

March 4 – Guest post at MM Good Book Reviews
March 10 – Guest post with Oh My Shelves
March 11 – Guest post with My Fiction Nook 
March 11 – Guest post with Open Skye Book Reviews
March 15 – Guest post with The Novel Approach
March 18 – Guest post with Prism Book Alliance

 

The book comes out on March 13th 2016, but you can pre-order it over here! In both e-book and print. I’m super excited about this title, but also endlessly working towards getting more out in 2016. So far, I’ve release two titles in January: the short Invisibles and the longer Cracks in The Pavement.

My sci-fi romp Homesick at Space Camp will be out next week, followed by The Taste of Ink with Dreampsinner Press in March, and The Life and Death of Eli & Jay the last week of March. I’m also in the middle of edits with JMS Books for my steampunk romp called Surrender To Destiny, which is an expanded edition of the short I released with a different publisher. Finally,  I should have an upcoming novel release with Less Than Three soon enough–so keep out an ear for that.

I also have a Twitter now. Which is new. An odd. I feel older than I really am navigating new technology, but I’ll get the hang of it. Thanks again for reading!

Happy 2016!

So… December disappeared. All of a sudden I was studying for my exams, then I wrote the three I needed to do, and then it was the holidays, and I was driving somewhere. Star Wars happened. I got very little sleep, then all I did was sleep, and I rang in the New Year while playing a game of Super Dungeon Explore.

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Have you played this game?? It’s so incredible and complex! We started to play at 10 and didn’t stop until 2am and we weren’t even done. And yes, I definitely made the dad-joke of “Oh, come on guys, we need to wrap this up. We’ve been playing this game since last year!” I would apologize for the bad joke, but I’m not that sorry. Okay, maybe a little.

So–back to book things–because I have a lot of stuff going on! I had one release earlier this week called The Invisibles:

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I was about to describe this book as “the one where I geek out about comics” and then I realized, oh come one. This is–and will be–far from the only one. Either way, it’s my sweet YA title that is wrapped up in nostalgia. It starts off a bit heavy, but I assure you, the tone gets lighter and happy ending is guaranteed. Oh, and there may be a sequel soon. Haven’t signed the contract yet, but the draft of the next story is complete.

On Sunday, I have another release called Cracks In The Pavement:

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When professors Stephanie and Lee rent out a room, Joe, a singer for a local band, moves in and becomes more than they bargained for. While Stephanie insists her attraction is not a mid-life crisis, Lee falls hard for Joe and longs to help him start his music career. Before anything can happen between them, Stephanie and Lee realize they must the ones to take the first step towards change. 

 

The blurb is above, but I refer to this one as my “poly punk professor story” since two profs are the main couple (Lee & Stephanie). They rent out their room to Joe, a punk guy from a band. They spend a lot of time being poly and adorable and in love. Part of this could be considered a New Romance, of sorts, since all three characters talk about leaving hometowns (which makes it sound like a pop punk song, and I’m totally okay with that). I had a lot of fun writing this and I hope people enjoy it.

 

I also have two new listings on LT3 for upcoming stories in Feb & March. The first is Homesick at Space Camp, a sci-fi romp that’s part summer camp narrative about robots and AIs. Oh, and dancing. Have I mentioned how much I love this story (and the cover??? Natasha Snow did such a good job!) because I had so. much. fun. writing this one.

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The planet Zaffre is known for two things: blue sand deserts and the fact it’s number one in robots mechanics and AI software development. Eastyn Ptolemy, a human worker from Earth, patrols Zaffre’s main loading docks during his night shifts. Ever since coming to Zaffre with his sister, Genna, his life has been easier—but also far too quiet.

To break up the monotony on one of his shifts, Eastyn listens to the local radio station where DJ Milo does all-night requests. After many late nights spent with Milo on the phone, Eastyn realizes he is actually Milo Struthers, former guitarist and backing vocalist of the band Lightning Years. Only now, after a bad accident, Milo has been reduced to a sophisticated AI that runs the radio station, struggling for a proper body and autonomy… 

 

The next one from LT3 in March is for their Solitary Traveler’s collection, about asexual and aromantic queer identities. As soon as I saw the prompt, I knew I had to write something for it. So behold The Life and Death of Eli and Jay:

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Eli and Jay have known one another since they were children. Their life on the Star Belt government reserve in Saskatchewan isn’t great, but the people—like Tantoo, Eli’s grandmother, Jay’s sisters and grandmother Buffy—have always made life tolerable.

Until the day Jay kisses Eli, only to be rejected, and a moment of misunderstanding drives the two friends apart for years. When tragedy strikes, Eli wonders if the event will be enough to draw the two together once more.

Another gorgeous cover by Natasha Snow. The title & blurb may seem a bit heavy, but I assure you, there are happy endings. I can’t talk about what the title actually means without spoiling it, so trust me on this! I’m really excited to share this story because it’s about an ace character (Eli), which is awesome, and because both Eli and Jay are Native. The Star Belt reserve I discuss in the story is fictional, but many of the stories Eli and Jay have (especially some conversations they have at a party) are based on stories my friend Janette has told me. She’s as hilarious as she is critical, so I hope I’ve managed to create the same kind of energy with the character Jay.

I have a few other releases & covers coming for the first half of 2016, but I’ll hold off on those for now. Now I’m off to take a nap, because really, I’m still recovering from December. I hope you all had a safe & healthy New Years and continue that trend for 2016. 🙂

A Winter Blog Hop

I have three releases this December. Three! That’s a big thing to celebrate, along with all the other work I’ve had come out, so I hope you’ll entertain me a little while longer with a blog tour. Starting December 1st and ending 22nd, I’ll be visiting 5 blogs and discussing all three of my releases. Check out the upcoming schedule and the release days below.

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December 1st: Love Bytes Review blog post on favourite tropes in romance for The Good Guys, plus a giveaway.

December 16th: Tempeste O’Rily’s blog will host me for a talk about favourite Christmas music (especially punk covers) with a focus on the sequel to How To Make A Carrot Cake called The Boyfriend Rule.

December 18th: NJ Nielsen will host me and I’ll chat about my favourite Christmas films, the more unorthodox the better.

December 21st: Love Bytes Review will host me again, where I’ll talk about favourite Christmas recipes, like the ones used in The Boyfriend Rule. Plus a giveaway package for both books!

December 22nd: I’ll hop by All Romance Reviews and talk about both The Boyfriend Rule and The Cost of Doing Business and planning the holiday season.

I hope to see you there and good luck for those entering giveaways! If you can’t wait, see the buy info for my December releases here (1 / 2 / 3).

 

A few soundtracks…

Because I was hanging out on Dreamspinner’s Facebook feed today, I was able to upload and complete some soundtracks! Now all my novels have one! I’ll talk more in depth about the playlist for A Winter In Rome soon, but for now, check out the one I made for Fearful Symmetry.

  1. When I Grow Up by Fever Ray
  2. White Foxes by Susan Sunfor
  3. No Trace by MS MR
  4. What Kind of Man by Florence and The Machine
  5. The Beast by Austra
  6. Blood Like by Lovedrug
  7. Passive by A Perfect Circle
  8. Moan by Trentmoller
  9. Daniel in The Den by Bastille
  10. Bird of Prey by The Editors
  11. Thieving by Lovedrug
  12. The Deer by Woodkid
  13. Three Doors by VAST
  14. Daydream by Smashing Pumpkins
  15. King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men
  16. I Saw A Light by Bat For Lashes

Big thanks to some readers for helping me pick some songs! The MS MR, Bastille, Of Monsters and Men, and Florence songs are all from their suggestions. I hope it conveys the mood of the story without spoiling it! The link is right here.

I also updated a draft version I had of my How to Make a Carrot Cake story. Check out that playlist here, and the tracklisting as such:

  1. The Sound Of Settling by Death Cab For Cutie
  2. In Between Days by The Cure
  3. Dance Anthem of the 1980s by Regina Spektor
  4. Sweetness by Jimmy Eat World
  5. By Tonight by Say Anything
  6. Wanderlust by Metric (Feat. Lou Reed)
  7. Recycled Air by The Postal Service
  8. Paper Bag by Fiona Apple
  9. Now, Now by St. Vincent
  10. The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot by Brand New
  11. What Sarah Said by Death Cab For Cutie
  12. Guernica by Brand New
  13. Carry You by Jimmy Eat World
  14. At The Hop by Devendra Banhart and Jana Hunter

I hope you enjoy these songs! Many are by my favourite bands. Listen to Carrot Cake’s playlist here.

Finally, don’t forget that I have a lot of titles on sale right now at LT3! Now I’m off to spend the rest of my Thanksgiving weekend doing homework… 🙂

Big Sale!

For 5 weeks, LT3 is hosting their “Celebrate The Spectrum” sale. Lesbian and f/f titles were first to be promoted, and now gay and m/m titles are the focus. This means that all of the six books I have with them are discounted in some way!

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Follow this link to see all books by me there, and this link to see all books that are on special. The following weeks will see more deals–but only for some of my titles. See their post here for more details.

This is a great opportunity to pick up something you weren’t sure about before–be it mine or someone else’s. I know I’ve already added several titles to my cart and will soon have brand new reading material when I go on vacation at the end of the month. 🙂

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Blog Tour Schedule

Since I have so many releases coming out within the next three months of 2015, I’ve organized a pretty extensive blog hop. Here’s a full list of my schedule, topics, and what book I’ll be promoting. Right now, the tour will start in early October and end mid-November, then kick right back up again in December for my upcoming holiday releases.

The first title up is Fearful Symmetry, which will be released October 7th 2015.

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October 6th: On Charlie Cochet’s Blog,  I’ll talk about film influences for the story.

October 7th: On J.P. Barnaby’s site, I’ll discuss how music influences my writing.

October 9th: Anna Butler’s blog will host me and I’ll discuss my favourite parts of fairy tales.

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October 9th: Next I’ll jump to Queer Sci-Fi, where they’ll be an excerpt.

October 10th: Dreamspinner’s Facebook will host me for a live chat!

October 13th: Garrett Leigh’s blog is up next and will feature another excerpt of the story. .

October 20th: Cate Ashwood will interview me for her blog.

October 27th: Next up is Anne Barwell’s blog, where I’ll discuss William Blake’s poetry and the influence on the title Fearful Symmetry.

October 30th: The day before Halloween will find me with Elizabeth Noble’s blog, where I’ll discuss writing conflicts and villains.

November 1st: Coffee Time Romance will host me for another interview, this time with Tory Richards.

Phew! In November, it’ll be time to promote A Winter In Rome from LT3’s Interwined collection, which releases on November 11th 2015.

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November 4th: I’ll stop by Charlie Cochet‘s yet again, this time with an excerpt and giveaway.

November 5th: The Novel Approach will host me and my post about writing a genderqueer character.

November 10th: I’ll hit up Anne Barwell’s blog again where I’ll talk about writing poly romance and the importance of communication & labels.

November 11th: Cate Ashwood will host me again–this time, I’ll talk about my music choices for this story and include a playlist for readers.

November 13: I’ll be on Garrett Leigh’s blog once again, with a new excerpt and brief discussion on happily (for now) endings.

Phew–again! I’m still in the midst of scheduling more blog hops and promos for some of my other titles (including Plato for Plumbers & Love and The Undead, along with my numerous holiday titles) but  I will update that soon enough. For now, these are enough dates to remember!