As some of you might know, I have a child that has reached that special age where I must teach them to drive. My kid, Sam, has already crashed our car and flipped it over. I say that takes talent. Every time I get into the car with her I think "I might die." This is a new experience for me.
When I was teaching my eldest to drive, we were still in Minnesota. When we would slip off the road, it was just into the ditch. There was large shoulders in Minnesota as well. It is not like that here in the mountains of Georgia. Here, if you fall off a road, you go down a mountain and you can die. Really. I find myself saying goodbye to my love ones before every driving lesson. At the same time, I feel brave for doing this. I know a lot of parents who don't have the courage to face their death over and over again and get into a car with someone who is dumber than rocks.
But I do it. And I keep doing it. I teach her because I don't want her to have to ask for rides for the rest of her life. I teach her so she can jet a job that is an hour away from home. She might not have a bus or a friend or a cab, and I want her to have her freedom.
So wish me luck. Another lesson is upon me and I must gather my wits and face my mortality.
People often talk about the "sub-genres" of Romance books. Fantasy Romance, Contemporary Romance, Sci-Fi Romance, Historical Romance... and as you know I write Dystopian Romance.
But here's the thing. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller - these are all genres in their own right. When I first started writing I had to get this all figured out. I had a hard time defining "Romance."
In the end I learned that there is no list of qualifications or characteristics that define a genre. Rather, the term is used to describe any body of literature that can be grouped by shared traits. Some of the traits are like setting, plot points, character tropes, structure, etc. And in a way it appears to me to be completely arbitrary.
Now Romance as a genre is defined by its narrative structure. Romance novels focus on the developing romantic relationship between two (or more) people, and the central tension of the story is whether they will get together and stay together. However, other genres are defined by things like aspects of the setting, such as time period (Historical, Contemporary) and speculative elements (Fantasy, Sci-Fi). Here would be where Dystopian would come in.
So, a novel can be Romance and also Historical Fiction or Contemporary Fiction because the time period and the plot structure are separate things. But a Historical Fiction book can't simultaneously be Contemporary Fiction because these settings contradict each other.
And then it gets a little more complicated. Mystery/Thriller, like Romance, is defined by a plot type - solving a puzzle or escaping a web of intrigue. Shouldn't it be incompatible with Romance, then?
Well, unlike Contemporary and Historical settings, romance plots and mystery plots don't directly contradict one another. A story can have multiple plots going at once, including a budding romance and a mystery. Integrating two different narrative structures does pose different writing challenges, however. Romantic Thriller authors typically have to be clear on which plot is the primary one. That ends up being the source of the central tension - in order for the novel to be effective.
I always stick to Romance as being the main theme. I might have some things for the characters to solve, or do, or chase, but in the end, love is what I write.
If you like that, you are in the correct place.
So this book is done but I just re-read some of the chapters so that I would have a firm idea of where I am for 4:05 a.m. I wanted to know where I left off with The Originals because I know that soon they will be making a move to take out the H.S.P.C.
Anyway, here is a small part of the story that I just reviewed. Cheers.
The kiss ended faster than she would’ve liked. As soon as Rourke lifted his head, she glanced around. No one appeared to be paying them any attention. The men and women simply kept dancing and singing. People did a lot more than she and Rourke. Another pair was in another net. She shoved Rourke’s arm out from under her shirt and then grabbed his bicep. She needed to be alone with her match. People might not be watching them right now, but she planned to get naked. Sex on the floor they would notice.
“Okay, baby, I probably shouldn’t have done that.”
“No, you should have. Correction, you should do even more.” Yanking Rourke behind her, Andi spotted a door to her left. She had no idea what was on the other side, but she didn’t care. Right this second, she needed her Conpar, and she would find a spot. When they made it to the door, Andi turned around and kissed Rourke again. Kissing him would never get dull. Her tongue speared into his mouth. As they kissed, she groped for the handle. With her mouth still latched to her match, she tossed the door open, and they tumbled into the other room.
“Andi,” Rourke growled as she shut the door with the heel of her boot. The room was pitch-black. The sounds of the party became muted.
As her hands tugged on Rourke’s coat, her back struck the light switch. The room was illuminated as she got Rourke’s jacket off his shoulders. She lifted her head from Rourke’s mouth long enough to look around. They were alone in a storage closet. To her left was a wall of folded towels. To the right, shelves of cleaning supplies and tall cabinets took up half the room.
No bed, but what the hey? She tossed Rourke’s coat over a low work table at the back of the walk-in closet and spun around. After she hiked up her skirt, she sat on the bench.
“Andi.” Rourke turned away from her and reached for the door. “I can’t do this.” He turned the handle and then stood there. “I know I keep hitting on you. I don’t know why I’m doing it. Really, we have to stop, all of this.” He yanked on the knob. “I can’t have a match right now.” He tugged again. The wood didn’t budge. Rourke dropped his head to the wall, and she stared at his back. His hand glided and then slapped against the wood. “It’s locked.”
Andi grinned. “I can unlock it when we’re done.”
“We have a train to catch.” Rourke turned around, and his eyes pleaded. He rubbed his palms on his pants. “What about that?”
“There is another train in the morning. Weber can wait.” Andi’s hands went to the buttons of her shirt. She slipped them out one by one. “Everyone can wait.”
I have a file on my computer for all the books I have started and never finished. Some of it I might bring back like a zombie... some of the work will stay dead.
When I first started writing, I wrote a book where the character was surprised to meet a man. There was a lot going on in that story and one of my friends asked me, why are women and men separated? That was the birth of the Ice Era Chronicles. I had to go to the very start...
Anyway, here is a piece of my oldest writing from my novel graveyard. This is just for fun and I don't know if this will ever be brought back to life or not. Only time will tell.
Lana looked back at the slightly open door and knew that El hadn’t left so, where was she? As if the answer was waiting in the air, Lana heard the shower turn on and turned to look at the door leading to the bathroom.
For a second Lana was indecisive. She knew she should just sit in the living room and wait until El got out of the shower, but a huge part of her was feeling impatient after what happened last night.
Moving closer to the door, she could hear water sloshing. If she remembered right this bathroom looked much like Lana’s had before she'd changed it. As she recalled it was a large tile room with a toilet and a sink right by the door. The shower was simply a large sunflower shower-head hooked to the ceiling in the corner with a drain directly under it. It would be no big a deal if Lana just took a tiny peek at El.
Lana’s impulsive side won out over her more cautious side, and she pushed her hair over her shoulder as she considered how hot it would be to see El in the shower.
Biting her bottom lip so she wouldn't make a sound, Lana pushed open the door to the bathroom and leaned in so she could see between the small crack she had made.
El had her back to the door so Lana got a great view of El’s muscular back and long, strong looking legs. She also got a very nice view of her very well put together ass.
Lana licked her lips and totally disregarding the idea that El had rebuffed her last night because she was embarrassed over her body. Lana watched El rinse the soap from her hair and the suds caught on her burly arms and shoulders before it made a lazy path down her thighs.
Lana’s heart start to beat a little faster and she was amazed that just looking at El could make her ache deep in her core. After seeing El naked, Lana could understand why someone would do the kind of drugs El had done. If Lana thought that drugs could make her look that good she would consider it herself.
Lana knew she was doing something wrong and her guilty conscience forced her to go. As she turned slightly, she noticed that part of El’s shirt was stuck in the door. She crouched and wiggled the fabric out so that the door would shut correctly.
As soon as the garment was free, Lana stood up and was struck dumb. Her shock was so strong that it rendered her completely frozen. El had turned to lean part way against the far wall. She had her face turned toward the water with her eyes closed. Lana only barely noticed that El’s eyes were closed because her full attention was on what was in between El’s legs.
El was touching between her legs, and at first Lana was sure that El was holding a flesh colored dildo, but as Lana’s eyes swept El’s body she knew she wasn’t looking at a woman. Something deep inside of her that was primitive and earthy demanded she acknowledge what she was seeing. The thought that El was a man whispered insidiously in her head and she couldn’t get it out.
Lana was a statue and she tried to do something, but her limbs refused to move. She contemplated that first she should call the H.S.P.C. or yell at El, but the more she thought about it the more she thought maybe she should strip naked and join this man in the shower.
Lana flipped her eyes up to El’s chest and realized he didn’t have any breasts. El had to be a man. It was the only thing that made any sense. El had a completely flat chest with only small flat nipples and as her eyes traveled over El’s body she noticed all the muscles of his stomach and down the front of his legs.
As if she couldn’t help it, her eyes traveled back to what El was holding in his hand. Lana watched transfixed as El ran his hand up and down over the part between his legs. He had what seemed to her a very tight grip and she could see his muscles flexing and jumping as he pumped.
Lana could see concentration etched on his face and his other hand began to slowly pet and tug on the sac hanging beneath that part in his hand. He moaned, but the sound was a strange mix of a woman’s pitch and a growl like she had never heard before.
Lana felt her whole body stirring to life as she watched him move his hips slightly to the rhythm he had created for himself. She felt her nipples harden to needy tips and her lower lips were slick as if just begging for whatever he had. Lana could tell her breathing had changed and it had become merely a swallow sound. She was having a hard time pulling her eyes away from what he was doing. Her eyes grew wide when he bucked his hips forward and a hiss escaped from his lips.
I often see my fellow authors publishing books. The feeling I get when I see another new book pass my feed is a mix of two things. I feel inspired to work harder. I think “Wow! They really are writing so much! I should get back to my story asap.” And then another feeling crowds in... “I will never be as good as… (Fill in the author).”
The funny thing about that last sentence is, I never started out to be like anyone. I don’t know why I get worried if my books aren’t like someone else’s story. Most authors I see and meet are working toward the goal of not working full-time at a job they hate. They want to be a full-time writer and make enough money to be at home writing. I don’t know what I’m complaining about… I have that now. I have the unique opportunity to be able to write every day and work with my better half, whom I love. I’m living the dream. So why do I get so worried? Sometimes I wish I could just hold on to that initial feeling of excitement when I see another author put out a book. I feel so pumped up to work on my manuscript. If I could bottle up that feeling and be able to drink it, I would suck it down every time I was feeling low. Maybe that’s why authors like Hemingway were alcoholics? Courage in a bottle?
I know. Put down the liquor and just write.
If you are interested in glancing at something else I'm working on... here is an excerpt from our In The Mountains Series. You can find this set of four stories on NovelCat, Dreame, and WebNovel.
“Gareth.” Simon grabbed Gareth’s arm before he would stride down the hall toward his room. “What’s the problem? The mountains are beautiful. The fresh air would do you good. Are you...?” Simon lifted his eyebrows. “Are you scared?”
“I’m not scared. This isn’t the first time I have been on the edge of a problem with clients. It happens with the kind of banking I do. I understand that.”
“Then why do you care so much? Why are you fighting this so hard?”
Gareth stopped walking and unclenched his jaw. He rubbed his temples before he glanced at Simon.
“When I was young, up until seventeen, I had to go to the mountains every summer to spend the three months with my cousin Dean.”
“Dean was Uncle Cletus’s son.” Simon nodded. “So you hated your cousin?”
“No, I…” Gareth didn’t know how to put his problem into words. Simon was the only one in the entire house who knew he was gay, but he still couldn’t say it out loud.
“In the mountains….” Gareth began. “I just hated it.”
Without saying anything more, Gareth started walking to his room. Blessedly, Simon let him go.
Happy Thanksgiving to all! Can you believe that Thanksgiving is already here? We hope that this is a restful week for you and your family.
November can be a busy time of year - for writers and for everyone - as we rush to accomplish our goals before the winter holidays. But it's important to pause and take a breath as well.
Spending time with family is what the holidays are all about, but you might need a bit of alone time to really feel rested and restored. If you are looking to sneak away with a book this Thanksgiving, consider a fun romance or something light to read. I know that this holiday I will be curled up with a book and take a short break from writing.
To you all, I hope you have lots to eat, lots of fun, and... of course... Cheers!
I was shopping in a mall because here in Georgia malls are kind of rare, so I ended up in one and found all the James Bond movies.
Naturally, the next step was to watch them all in order and rate which James Bond is the best. I’m a Rodger Moore fan, but I’ll be honest, it’s because he has a great last name. Anyway, about halfway through movie number four I got caught up on something I had never noticed before. Once I saw it, I couldn’t un-see it. After James Bond kills the main villain, he’s sitting around with a lady friend or what not and the main villain’s henchmen shows up to kill Mr. Bond. This happens a lot. Like a lot a lot.
Here is my thought.
If my boss dies… am I that devoted to the company that I’m going to work anyway? I mean if I’m a henchmen and my boss is killed by James Bond and my place of business is destroyed, do I love my boss so much that I go after his killer? This seems like the kind of intense friendship everyone is looking for in life. The kind of devotion to keep going after Bond, even if it means death and after you know he has killed so many in your organization… plus he might have destroyed your super cool hideout… well, that’s just kind of amazing.
And… if you are doing it for the money, who is paying you? If the henchmen kills James, who does he tell that he finished the job? Where does he collect his paycheck? I mean, if the evil mountain lair is now on fire, where is accounts payable?
I have not finished all the movies yet, but I plan to check and see if this is a running theme of devoted henchmen. In fact, I am starting to wonder what some of these guys get paid. The pay must be very good because they never run away even if everyone around them is dying. I have not decided how much money you would have to pay met to stay at work while people are getting murdered.
By the way, Bond kills like even the lab guys and scientists working. Just saying.
If you are visiting the site, you might notice my Alien Love Novels. I am working on some writing outside of my Ice Era Chronicles. I started with my alien books, but I have some outlines for other stuff too. This does not mean I will be leaving my Ice Era Chronicles to wave around in the wind. I have 3:05 a.m. finished and I just sent One Strong Gale to my beta readers. After that, I have work finished on Sky's The Limit and we have been chatting about what is going to happen in 4:05 a.m.
As for other works... I don't know yet. I might do a vampire... or another gay male love story... or a sweet romance set in a small town... or all of it. There is a quote I once read that says while writing you must kick away ideas. I am not kicking them away so much as I'm placing them in a bottle for later. The thing is, now becomes later. So I have been glancing at those bottles and aliens is where I started. I am published on Anystories and on NovelCat.
If you read anything by me, no matter what it is... Thank you. I appreciate your support.
Here it is. The end of 2020 and the start of the new year. I have seen TONS of post about this, so mine might be a little redundant.
If I'm honest with you, I always think I can't tell if something is good or bad until I see it in my rearview mirror. For example, presidents... Sometimes long after a president is dead historians look over their lives, and the overall state of the US and the world, and they say that they guy did okay. And other times, the history books highlight in glaring obvious detail how bad someone was at their job. But in the end, you never can tell until the dust settles.
That is how I feel about saying goodbye to 2020. I moved this year which might have been the best for me or terrible. We will see. I released a book and bought a truck and another car and I mourned the lost of some of my friends. I even said goodbye to my therapist and am trying out the world without her. It's a little scary.
I guess to put it in a nutshell, this might have been an amazing year or a crap one, but I wont know for a while.
Normally on New Year's eve I watch a movie set in the future (but not really the future just some directors idea of what that year would look like.) I didn't do that this year because I was driving, but I still might... just because I think it's funny. However you all are saved from listening to my movie thoughts. Soooo, I'm going to say that is a win for you. No matter how your 2020 went you were spared from my rambles on a lame B movie and so that's something. If you like the bright side, that is what I can offer.
Anyway, Cheers my friends! I hope 2021 is a great year for you or at least some facsimile of that.
Our Ice Era Chronicles in Order:
All future dates are subject to change.