I’m excited to announce that I’m taking part in the MM Class 19/20 Short Story Giveaway from the 15th – 26th June. It’s a giveaway that’s been set up to showcase some of the new authors who’ve started publishing since the start of 2019 and I’m delighted to be involved.
Each author as written a brand new short story that showcases their style and all of the are amazing! There’s something for everyone here too – we’ve got everything from fluffy contemporary to shifters and omegaverse to hurt/comfort goodness.
From me, you’ll get a sweet and sexy contemporary standalone short that’s full of pining, fake dating, bad eighties cop shows and there’s also a corgi called Toast. It’s called One More Night – here’s the blurb and the gorgeous cover from Natasha Snow:
Jack Griffin would be very happy if he never saw Harry Spencer again.
Except that’s not really possible when Harry turns up at his pub and Jack feels the all-too-familiar pangs of attraction. As his resolve crumbles, he finds himself agreeing to Harry’s proposition: Be his boyfriend for three days.
With his sister getting married, the pressure’s on Harry to turn up with a suitable partner. Someone rich. Someone from society. Someone who isn’t an ex-hookup named Jack…
But Jack’s not afraid of a little Spencer family frostiness if it means protecting Harry. After all, you can’t fall in love with someone in just three days.
Unless you never stopped loving them to begin with.
To kick of June, I have another fabulous Author Spotlight for you. This time, I’m thrilled to be joined by British author, A E Ryecart who’s here to tell us more about herself and her writing.
So, I’ll hand it over to Ali…
First things first, please introduce yourself! Hello, I’m A E Ryecart (Ali for short). I’m a London girl, through and through, which is why all but one of my books are set in the Big Bad City. I’ve been at this writing gig for five years now, and blame getting a Kindle for Christmas. I had no idea the MM world existed but, excited at getting to know Mr Kindle, I downloaded an MM shifter book, thinking what is this all about…? I was hooked and reeled in.
When I’m not writing you can usually find me drinking wine, eating cake, and thinking up new and ingenious ways to torture my poor boys. And not necessarily in that order.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style. Chaotic, in a word. But, I’m making valiant attempts to be more methodical and to plot and plan more. Of course I’ll be able to do it. I’m an optimistic glass-half-full type. Really.
The one thing I will never be cured of, and have no wish to be, is being an out of order writer. Many of my author friends run screaming for the hills when I tell them that. Chapters one – five in the bag. But then chapters 15, 17, and 21 call. Then I’ll hop over to chapters 8, 10, and 11. I think you can see where I’m going with this. Seriously, though, writing out of order works wonders for me as my brain starts to seize up like a rusty engine if I try to tie myself into writing in a linear fashion.
Describe your books in only three words. Challenging. Angsty. Emotional.
Can you tell us a little about your latest release? Funny you should ask me this, because I’ve just released Faking It. This is the second in my Rent Boys series but can absolutely be read as a stand alone, just as all my books can.
The fake boyfriend trope is very important but the book is about much more than the bogus relationship the leads, Toby and Ben, enter into for a family wedding. They are hugely attracted to each other but they back off and deny their feelings for – reasons you’ll need to read the book to find out about! Found family plays a key role, as does the idea that finding love leads to salvation and redemption. Oh, Toby is also very, very posh. I love a posh boy. If a posh boy is mentioned in a blurb it’s pretty much a one-click for me.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of? Tricky. If pressed, I’d have to say Perilous Hearts. This is the third in my Deviant Hearts series, which is romantic suspense.
I didn’t set out to write romantic suspense (remember what I said about being a chaotic writer?) but the first in the series, Captive Hearts, kind of went in that direction so I followed. I was pleased with the result and ramped up the suspense element in each of the subsequent two books. By the time I got to Perilous Hearts the suspense element was off the charts because it’s pretty much a psychological thriller wound around a friends-to-lovers romance. Honestly, I didn’t know I had it in me to be so nasty and cruel to my characters, scaring them half to death… Yep, I loved writing Perilous Hearts!
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? Layered, nuanced, and multifaceted are my three favourite words when it comes to writing, and I try my best to make these key to my stories and characters, particularly so in my heavier, more angsty books. I blame an author called Mary Renault.
Mary died some years ago, but I discovered her books in my teens and although styles of writing change over time, she’s my touchstone when it comes to my three favourite words because she achieved them every single time. She was an incredible author. If you’ve read and enjoyed the Captive Prince series, you will want to rush off and read Mary’s novel about Alexander the Great (fade to black because of the era in which she wrote). But that doesn’t matter because she always achieved layered, nuanced and multifaceted.
What inspired you to start writing? I read a book and it changed my life.
Be A Free Range Human by Marianne Cantwell sowed the seed that I could do something other than commute into London each day. I didn’t throw up my job, but the idea had been planted and gnawed away in the back of my head.
I’d always fancied the idea of writing but LIFE kind of got in the way, and I tucked the idea away. But, LIFE took an unexpected turn. My job was made redundant and the one thing I had in abundance all of a sudden was time. All those tamped-down thoughts came flooding back. I wrote my first book, Imperfect, in longhand. Yes, I used a pen and paper then typed it up. All 70,000 words. I did get a new job, but only stuck it for 6 months because by then I knew I’d found what it was I was meant to be – and that wasn’t a Human Resources Manager!
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”? I treat writing as a full-time job, so I get myself behind a desk and work harder than I ever did in a day job. My desk isn’t always at home, but sometimes at my favourite café, and I like that I can mix my working environment up.
On a typical day, when I open up my computer first thing, I have a large mug of coffee with me. It’s kind of become a ritual. And then I plunge in and dig away at the words. I don’t do sprints, i.e. fast and furious for 30 minutes, then take a break, I just plug away.
I write my first draft in Scrivener because it’s great for out of order writers like me, then transfer over to Word for editing. I used to start very early in the morning but now I find I’m generally more productive if I start a little later, some time between 8.30 am – 9.30 am.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters? Both, if that isn’t a cop-out answer. Often, I get a line of dialogue in my head and that will kick-start an idea and a character. That first line generally won’t make it into the finished book, but it’s the seed from which everything else grows.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written? Double tricky. If I’m going to pick from MM, it would have to be Regularly Scheduled Life by K. A. Mitchell. It’s a definite re-read for me, and an all-time favourite. Lots ‘n’ lots ‘n’ lots of lovely sexual tension!
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? Opposites attract because it’s so wide, providing lots of juicy opportunity. Narrowing it down a tad, I really like it when there’s a social disparity, where the main characters are at different ends of the spectrum, such as rich boy/poor boy which gets me every time.
What would be your three desert island books? Regularly Scheduled Life by K. A. Mitchell The Captive Prince trilogy (which I’m counting as one!) by C. S. Pascat Curfew by Phil Rickman – a creepy supernatural, because there are other genres besides MM. Allegedly.
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast? Perilous Hearts because it would make great late night viewing with a drink and the lights turned low.
Freddie Fox for Jamie, the character who’s being stalked and gaslighted, but for his friend Ed… hmmm… I really don’t know. He’d have to be a tough, no nonsense type. And hot. Very hot. Can you tell I don’t watch TV or films much???
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about? In more normal times, I love spin classes and swimming. I used to do a lot of glass painting which I’ve rather neglected recently even though it was something I really enjoyed. I’ve also got a keen interest in wine and have taken a few courses in the past, and have a fair few books on the subject. The only trouble is, I just end up drinking too much of the stuff because I don’t believe in not swallowing.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? No contest. Winosaurous, closely followed by Cakeosaurous.
I used to tell my stories to myself. Now I tell them to the world. The stories I only ever told myself were set in a world where boy met boy, where best friends became more, where the hero rescued not the damsel but the hot guy he’d been secretly crushing on. I wanted to read those stories. I craved to read those stories. But those stories weren’t out there. Or that’s what I thought, until one Christmas, when I unwrapped a shiny new e-reader. All it took was a few clicks, and my world changed forever. I found my tribe. But there is life outside of MM & gay romantic fiction in all its configurations. Allegedly. When I’m forced to switch off the trusty, faithful word machine, there’s a husband to feed and talk to, pubs to drink in, and cake to eat. I love to do all those things and more, before I rush back to write all the words. I’m a Londoner, born and bred, but I now live just outside the big bad city but close enough to hop on a train so I can get my regular metropolitan fix.
Since we’re at the end of May already, I thought I’d do a quick post to tell you about all the amazing things that are coming up this summer!
This is just an overview, and I’ll reveal more details about each project closer to their release dates, so keep an eye on my social media and the website for more updates.
This Saturday, 30th May, I’ll be sending out a bonus scene for Jordan and Félix as part of my newsletter. It’s funny, steamy and you’ll get to find out how Félix got arrested for public indecency (Jordan thinks it’s hilarious). If you’re not signed up for the newsletter, either click this link or fill in the form at the bottom of the page.
You’ll be able to download a brand new FREE short story as part of the MM class 19/20 giveaway. It’s got hookups to lovers, pining, fake dating and there’s only one bed… Look out for more details, and a full list of participating authors, coming soon.
At the start of July, I’ll be releasing the collected volume of Screens Apart with a new bonus epilogue too. It’s had a bit of a scrub and polish, and it’ll be getting a shiny new cover too. So if you missed this sexy serial the first time around, you’ll be able to get the whole story on Kindle and KU.
This is a little more of a rough date, as it depends on how everything goes with edits, but I’m hoping to have my just finished WIP with you by the end of August/start of September. I’ll have more details soon but it’s a new, contemporary story with an anxious nerd who owns a bookstore, a grumpy florist, tattoos, Dungeons & Dragons, secret flower language bouquets and very spoilt Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Angie!
That’s it for now, but I promise to share more news and details soon. I’m so excited to share this stories with you!
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Today I’m starting a brand new feature: Author Spotlight Interviews! These interviews will give you a chance to get to know more about your favourite MM romance authors, and find out more about their writing, their inspiration and what they’re working on.
I’m delighted to welcome bestseller author Amy Bellows to the blog to kick off this series, and I’m excited to hear more about her writing.
So, without further ado, take it away Amy…
First things first, please introduce yourself! I’m Amy. I live in Utah with my wife, daughter, and our two huge dogs. Tell us a little bit about your writing style. My books tend to be fast-paced and shorter, with a lot of heat and a bit of humor mixed in. I primarily write MPreg books set in the omegaverse.
Describe your books in only three words. Sweet, kinky, snarky.
What are you working on right now? Currently, I’m working on A Mate for Lu, book four in my Alaskan Pebble Gifters series. AKA, the penguin shifter books. A Mate for Lu is a sweet and angsty story about two single fathers who fall in love while working on a children’s book together. It has a chubby alpha who’s portrayed in a very body-positive way and plenty of cameos from characters in the previous books.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of? The Bond-Cut Omega.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? Probably A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. It made me fall in love with a voicey first person style of writing.
What inspired you to start writing? I started writing romance because some of my slash Harry Potter fan fiction was popular, and my friend recommended that I try writing mm romance professionally.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”? I write every day. Most days I work with a sprint group, and do a lot of my writing thirty minutes at time with them. I start early in the morning, and work until about five at night. Sometimes later.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters? Most of the time my books start with a concept. For instance, I wrote The Bookmobile Baby because I wanted to write a sex scene in a bookmobile. I wrote A Pebble for Lewis because I thought the idea of a penguin shifter accepting a pebble from his mate was cute.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written? Want Me by Neve Wilder
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? Best friends to lovers. I love all of the mutual pining and emotional intimacy that comes with falling in love with your best friend.
What would be your three desert island books? Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins, and Blankets by Craig Thompson.
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast? It would be fun to see my Nerds Who Knot series become a film. I don’t know many actor names, so I’m not sure who I’d cast.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about? I like to bake and listen to audiobooks. I also play a lot of games with my wife. We love word games like Bananagrams and strategy games like Ticket to Ride.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? This is clearly the most important question. T-Rex, for sure. Because of all of the tiny arm memes. And the YouTube videos of people doing strange things wearing a T-Rex costume. That will never get old for me.
AMY BELLOWS is a best-selling author of queer romance. She’s best known for her Nerds Who Knot and Alaskan Pebble Gifters series. When she’s not telling her friends bad jokes or trying to wrangle her Great Dane puppy, she works part-time as a librarian. She lives with her wife and daughter in Utah.
If you’ve been reading my newsletter serial, Screens Apart, you’ll be familiar with the gorgeous panty and lingerie blogger, Simon, and I couldn’t resist getting some art made of him in all his glory! I absolutely love it and I cannot stop staring. In fact, I’m going to get a print made so I can hang it in my office and stare at his perfect, peachy butt!
The artist for this is the fabulous Soushiyo! I had so much fun working with them and I adored the way they bough Simon to life. You can find them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SoushiyoX and I’d highly recommend their sexy m/f webcomic Familiar as well.
If you haven’t read Screens Apart, there’s still time to catch up before the final part is released at the end of March. Just sign up to the newsletter. Or you can download Part One right now, from Prolific Works.
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Happy New Year everyone! I can’t believe I’ve been interviewing authors for nearly a yearand I can’t wait to chat to more of them about their amazing books throughout 2020.
Kicking off this year is the fabulous Alie Nolan, who’s here to talk in about her new book Being Enough, the second in her Portland Piranhas series, which is out today!
1. What inspired you to write Being Enough? Can you tell us a little more about the story? Being Enough is an enemies to lovers story between an NFL coach and player, who are forced to work together at a kids summer camp. I think the main thing that inspired me to write Being Enough was Eli and Colton themselves. I knew while writing the first chapter of His Favorite Player (the first Portland Piranhas book) that I wanted Colton to get his HEA, but I didn’t know what his story would be at the time… and then I wrote Eli, and knew they were meant to be together.
2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb? The side characters are always a fun part of my books for me that aren’t included in the blurb. I tend to fall as in love with the side characters as I do the main characters. My favourite side character in Being Enough (besides some appearances from Ryan and Alec, from book one) is Eli’s great aunt, Mimi. I love writing supportive family/friends for my MCs, and Mimi is exactly that. Also, Mason. Mason is a side character, who briefly appeared in His Favorite Player, and is back in Being Enough… I have plans for him!
3. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit? I’m not really one for editing things out. I usually stop myself from including unimportant scenes before I write them.
4. What came first with Being Enough, the characters or the plot? Is that the same for all your books? The characters. I knew I wanted Colton and Eli to end up together, but I had no idea how or what the plot of their book would be until I started writing it.
5. If we made Being Enough into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Eli and Colton? Not a clue. That’s a really hard question that I don’t have an answer to.
6. Being Enough is the second book in the Portland Piranhas series, do you have any more books planned or are you planning something new? I do have plans for more Portland Piranhas books… *cough* Mason *cough*. That book will hopefully be out at some point in 2020. Right now though, I’m working on the first book in a new series, Little Hollow. Which is about Alec’s family from His Favorite Player.
7. What inspired you to start writing? I’ve always been a storyteller. As a kid, I drew and wrote stories, as a teenager I filmed stories, and in my early twenties, I animated stories. I’ve always had stories floating around in my head that I needed to share with people. A couple of years ago, when I left my animation job and moved back to my hometown for a year, I did nothing but read all day, every day, for several months to distract me from being in a place I hated. One day I just decided that I’d like to try writing a book like the ones I was reading, and fell instantly in love with it.
8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? So many things have influenced me as a writer. The books I read, people I meet, situations I’ve been in. (My husband read these answers for me, to make sure I wasn’t rambling, and he insisted that he be listed as an influence too lol)
9. This is your second book, how did publishing your first change your writing process? Do you have any advice or tips for first time authors? When I published my first book I was convinced that no one would ever read it, let alone want to read a second book from me… so when they did, I guess that changed my writing process somewhat. I had more confidence going into writing Being Enough, because I’d done it once, I could do it again. That being said, knowing that people were actually anticipating this book was terrifying, and pressure that I didn’t have the first time around.
My advice to first time authors is advice I give myself all the time… just write a book that you want to read. If you’d want to read it, then someone else will too!
10. What is your favourite childhood book? The first book that came to mind was The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. I read that book so many times when I was a kid. I still relate to Mildred Hubble’s clumsiness on a deep level.
11. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about? If I’m not writing or reading, then I’m probably painting my nails. I’ve been doing nail art as a hobby since 2012. I have a nail Instagram account and blog under my real name.
12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? Apatosaurus.
Thanks for helping me kick of 2020, I can’t wait to read Colton and Eli’s story!Also I love The Worst Witch too – I definitely relate to Mildred! You can download Being Enough right now.
Alie Nolan is an author of sweet and fluffy MM romance novels. She lives in the UK with her husband and dog, neither of whom share her love of reading. She drinks an absurd amount of decaf coffee, adores aquatic animals, is a huge fan of the New Orleans Saints, and exists with a book/kindle in her hand.
2019 has been an absolutely amazing year. I’ve achieved so much more than I could have imagined, and I’ve had some truly fantastic experiences along the way.
At this point last year, I hadn’t finished the first draft of Breakaway and although I knew I wanted to publish it, I had no idea what that would entail. I certainly didn’t think I’d have published two books in five months and have a serial in progress, or that I’d have met so many amazing people and friends. And yet I have, and I’m so proud of everything that I’ve achieved.
Next year is just going to be even better! So far my plans for 2020 are:
Write and publish Final Score This will be the last book in the Off the Pitch series and it’ll be Jordan’s story. He deserves his own happily ever after and I can’t wait to share it with you. I’m hoping this will be out during the Spring.
Finish Screens Apart This will either have five or six parts depending on how the story fits together! I’m also looking at collecting it together at the end, and that would be during the Summer, so newsletter readers have a chance to finish reading it first!
Start a new series I have an idea for a new series taking place in my brain, and I already have several stories planned! This will be sweet, fun, sexy and British, and filled with lots of my favourite tropes and things I haven’t had a chance to explore yet including: fake dating, there’s only one bed, enemies to lovers and nerd/jock, plus a few others. If I do start this then I’m hoping to have the first book out in the Summer, with a second next Autumn/Winter.
A potential standalone? I have this plot bunny that won’t leave me alone and since it doesn’t fit in with any of my series plans, I may have to write it as potential standalone. Although I say that and it will inevitably end up as a series… In fact, make that two potential stand alone ideas!
Attend shiMMer and UK Meet I’ll be attending my very first author events in 2020 too. Firstly shiMMer in Birmingham in February, and secondly UK Meet in Southampton in September. I can’t wait to meet lots of authors and readers alike!
My overall goal is to publish 3 new novels and Screens Apart. I think that’s definitely achievable for me, and who knows, there might be some additional surprises along the way!
In terms of personal things, 2019 has been a good year for that too. I started a new day job, bought my first house with my husband, did my first pole dance showcase, visited America and made some great friends! My aims for next year are to decorate my office (finally), get a dog (because I am STILL without a pooch) and maybe try and get to Disneyland too!
Overall, I’m aiming just to keep on being my fabulous self, ignoring my self-doubt and doing my very best!
Today the amazing Baylin Crow is here to talk about her fabulous new Sugar Land Saints novel, Recovered Fumble, which is out now!
1. What inspired you to write Recovered Fumble? Can you tell us a little more about the story? I’m a huge college football fan. After one of my teams won last season, I decided I was going to create my own team. All the characters are tied together in some way throughout the series. And while I was writing book one, Quarterback Sneak, I already knew Rendon and Nash would get their own book and I couldn’t wait to write it.
2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb? I’ll share a secondary character you’ll meet when you read the story. Tristan is Rendon’s quirky roommate and I had so much fun writing him. He adds an element of humor to the story and I honestly couldn’t imagine the book without him in it.
3. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit? This book was supposed to be a novella, 45K words max. It sits at 94K words. I’m not sure I left anything out. Though, if it had fit into the storyline, I’d have loved to add a cameo of Rush and Torin from Quarterback Sneak. While they are briefly heard over the phone, I wanted to drag them back to Sugar Land.
4. What came first with Recovered Fumble, the characters or the plot? Is that the same for all your books? Characters 100%. All of my books are character driven. I wouldn’t know how to start a story for characters I haven’t “met” yet.
5. If we made Recovered Fumble into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Rendon and Nash? I have sat on this question for days. But honestly, I can’t think of a single actor that would fit either of them, especially Nash.
6. Recovered Fumble is the third book in the Sugar Land Saints series, do you have any more books planned or are you planning something new? *zips lips*
7. What inspired you to start writing? I actually won an award for a Bare Book competition in… I think it was about the 5th grade—cheesiest story ever. And I think that planted a seed that I buried for a few decades as I took on the business world. I’ve always been a reader, but I started reading a minimum of one book a day years ago. It seemed I was always finding myself looking for a specific book and when I couldn’t find it, I was bummed. So one day I decided I’d write those books. Of course there are similar books, but sometimes there’s just something you need in there. And that’s how it started.
8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? I don’t think there has been anything that has influenced me most. It’s a little bit of everything I read, whether it be other romances or craft books, every day events, past events and important moments in my life, encouragement and constructive criticism. I’m not sure where the influence starts or stops.
9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out? The advice is ever changing and constant. Even experienced authors are always on a loop of change and learning. But one thing I didn’t know going into this whole writing thing was how important social media is. I didn’t even join FB until my second book released. I’m sure that leaves me on an island all my own but social media should become your best friend. Treat it well.
10. What is your favourite childhood book? Oooh an easy answer! About time! Amelia Bedelia!!! I can’t tell you how worn those pages were and I smiled every single time I read it.
11. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about? I read of course and during college football season, you have a good chance of finding me yelling at the TV on Saturdays.
12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? Little Foot
Thanks for answering all my questions Baylin! I can’t wait to read about Rendon and Nash! Recovered Fumble is out now.
Here’s what Baylin has to say about herself: Bios are challenging. I don’t have a clue how to write about myself. Fictional characters? Sure! Me? Not so much. It’s the reason my author bio stayed practically blank until after I finished my second novel. Who am I? Well, I guess I should start by telling you that I write MM romance and I love what I do. I fell in love with writing during elementary school with my first “Bare Book” but honestly never thought I’d become an author. It always seemed to be something I dreamed of and not something I could make a reality. Now that I have, I can’t picture myself doing anything else. I live in Texas where the heat and I don’t get along. One day I hope to call Northeast USA home. I’m a wife and mother of 2 ridiculously cute kids. I have 2 dogs and 1 cat, the latter of which is a spoiled brat, but she’s my spoiled brat. Spending the day under a fluffy blanket reading or writing away on my laptop with a mountain of coffee is my idea of time well spent. I get to live so many lives through books that I consider myself genuinely lucky to call myself an avid reader. Books, whether I’m reading or writing them, make up a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m so excited because today we have the fabulous Rhys Lawless here to talk about his new urban fantasy romance, Killer Heart, and it sounds so good! Plus look at that gorgeous cover!!
1. What inspired you to write Killer Heart? Can you tell us a little more about the story? Killer Heart was inspired by three words. A long time ago I asked my friends on Facebook to give me 3 words and I would write a story inspired by them. A friend gave me blade, dust and rain. I never used them, but I knew I wanted to do something with them. I just wasn’t sure what.
Then in 2016, after a business trip to NYC, I ended up in the hospital and my time there was quite lonely. I needed an escape and I wanted to write something… magical. That’s how I came up with the main concept of the book. Spells are crystals that leave dust residue, blades are those who hunt the witches and rain… well, you won’t see much rain in the book, but you get the picture haha. The story went through a lot of revisions, some very severe ones, and finally I started writing it this year. I think it came about from me watching the Mortal Instruments TV Show, but I can’t quite remember. I’ve always wanted to write paranormal/urban fantasy but something always didn’t click. This year, it did. And here we are.
2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb? Wade is cursed to never feel love. Whenever he starts developing romantic feelings for someone, his killer instinct takes over. He’s been cursed since he was 12 and so was his brother at age 9.
Caleb is one of those people who falls in love far too easily and who gets invested quickly. And he’s taken the brunt of that major character flaw. He’s had way too many heartbreaks for a normal human being (which he isn’t), but he’s still grieving his first serious relationship, an Incubus named Jin who stole his heart and made him into the man he is today.
Naturally, these two people meet, born enemies, but there’s something they both want that the other can give. And that creates most of the conflict in the book. It’s equal parts urban fantasy and romance (and quite the killer romance if I may say so myself).
3. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit? I don’t think I edited anything out. I don’t usually have parts that I remove from my books as I’m very meticulous with my planning and plotting. There’s definitely loads of backstory I wish I could put into the book, but it wasn’t that kind of book and I didn’t want to make it about the past. If you read until the end, you’ll know why.
4. What came first with Killer Heart, the characters or the plot? Is that the same for all your books? The characters, for sure. I didn’t have much of a plot initially. I think from the very original idea the only thing that survived was that Caleb is a witch and that Wade is addicted to spell dust. Everything else has changed. The major plot of this book came about in a writer’s workshop 2 years ago. The deal the two characters make changed the dynamic completely and made this my favourite book to write, to date. Although book 2, Demon Heart, isn’t that far behind.
5. If we made Killer Heart into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Caleb and Wade? Oh, dear, I don’t know. I have two pictures that inspired the character’s looks and I think they would be perfect together if it was to become a film. Caleb would be played by Lucky Blue Smith (@luckybsmith on Instagram) and Wade would be played by Ed Skrein (@edskrein).
6. Killer Heart is the first book in the Blade & Dust series, can you tell us a little about what you have planned next? More adventures for Caleb and Wade? Killer Heart is book 1 out of 3. All books feature Caleb and Wade and how their relationship grows, and with that, their responsibilities within the magical community.
After that, it’s all up in the air at the moment. I’ve got lots of ideas for where to take the two men next, but I also have lots and lots of plot bunnies from side characters that crept up while writing. I think I’d like to write Winston and Hew’s story next (Winston is Wade’s brother and Hew is a familiar, what shifters are called in this universe), but once the first three are out, I’ll just have to re-evaluate. I’ll tell you what though. All books end with a happy for now and a slight clue as to what’s to come and the third book will give Wade and Caleb their happy ever after (of course until I decide to bug them again with more adventures).
7. What inspired you to start writing? Reading Harry Potter at age 11. I’d always written before that, but JK Rowling inspired me to come up with my own world and learn to inhabit it in a different way.
8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? My teenage years, certainly. My relationship with myself and others growing up in a homophobic Greece. Moving to London on my own. Meeting and befriending like-minded people. My university years. Everything and anything really.
9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out? Know your audience. It was a piece of advice I always ignored and I paid the price for it. Know who you’re writing for and what they expect from the books they love. Writing is an art, but it’s also a business, so if you want to make a career out of it, that is the first step to taking your writing further.
10. What is your favourite childhood book? It’s silly, but whenever someone asks me this, I always think of this one fairy tale I used to love when I was 5 (and which still lives in my dad’s shed). It’s written by a renowned Greek children’s author and it’s about a duck who didn’t like his feet and set about the world to try and change them. What stuck with me at the time was that in the end, he did change his feet. It wasn’t all magically resolved and he realised his feet are fine as they were. I think it spoke to me at the time because I always struggled to fit in and it gave me the confidence that it’s okay to stand out and be the duck that changed his feet because his real ones were boring and didn’t truly feel like his.
11. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about? It’s sad but I have too many hobbies. I take something up passionately and then a week or month later I’ve moved on to the next thing. I do want to start doing other stuff though. I’ve always loved yoga and climbing so it’s something I’m looking to take up next.
12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? Triceratops. FTW.
Thank you so much Rhys! I can’t wait to read. Plus, yay, a fellow Shadowhunters fan. Killer Heart is available now.
Rhys writes gay romance. He has been writing since the tender age of 11 and hasn’t really stopped since. He publishes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the pen name Rhys Lawless and contemporary sweet and steamy romances under Rhys Everly. Rhys currently lives in London, UK with his husband and their 12-year-old puppy. You can find out more about him and his works-in-progress by joining his Newsletter at http://bit.ly/2MVzfLI or visiting his website rhyswritesromance.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bookbub and you can join his Facebook group too: Rhys Everly After.
Happy Sunday everyone! Today we have the fabulous writing duo of Andi James and Lila Wilde here to chat about their amazing new book, Tony & His Tiger. It’s book three in their Oh My! Series and it’s out now!
1. What’s your process of co-writing? Do you each take a POV, or do you both write different chapters, or is it more of a blend? Do you Skype or work on a collab document? AndiJames [A]: All of the above? LOL. We do sort of each take a POV, but inevitably we’ll end up writing from the other POV as well. Sometimes it depends on what the scene is, sometimes we split chapters, sometimes we’ll each write two chapters in a row. Whatever works, really. Lila Wilde [L]: Yup. We’ve even worked on stuff real-time together, each adding sentences to paragraphs. It just depends on what works best for the situation and story. A: We tend to work in Google docs, then switch to Word when the MS is done. No Skype, but lots of messages and phone calls.
2. What inspired you to write Tony and His Tiger? A: When we started planning the Oh My! Series, we knew we wanted to write a trilogy. Both Tony and Jason, the main characters of Tony & His Tiger, were introduced in book one (Teddy & His Bear), which came out just over a year ago. So these characters have been with us for a while now, and we definitely wanted them to get their HEA! L: We like to flip expectations, so we knew from the start Tony wouldn’t be a typical tall, muscular, brooding Dom. (Well, he is kind of brooding.) And Jason is a former pro football player, so not someone you might expect to identify as submissive. I love challenging expectations, highlighting that people aren’t always who you might assume they are.
3. What came first: the plot or the characters? Was it the same with all your books? A: Definitely the characters for this one. We had some inklings of a plot, but that didn’t truly come together until after the characters had already been established.
4. What’s your favourite thing about the friends to lovers trope? A: For me, it’s witnessing the relationship change and reach the next level and all of the emotions that go along with that. And I kind of love a slow burn, which I think a lot of friends-to-lovers stories turn out to be.
5. Apart from the friends to lovers trope, do you have another favourite trope or kink that you’ve been able to write about in this book? A: Puppy play! This book has a little bit of other kink in it too, but I was excited to explore puppy play in this one. That kink can be a lot of things, and for Tony and Jason it turned out to be really sweet and fun, and funny at times too. L: Is bratty bottom a trope? Because it should be.
6. What behind-the-scene tidbit (about the characters, plot or writing process) would probably surprise your readers the most? A: Oh where to start. Haha. How about this: We probably went through ten outlines for this book before finding one that would stick. These characters were by far our most stubborn! L: No joke. Like ten COMPLETELY different storylines for these two. They refused to cooperate!
7. If you have to describe Jason and Tony in three words each, what would they be? A: Hmm. For Jason, I’d go with outgoing, bratty, and giving. For Tony, pragmatic, private, and loyal.
8. What’s your favourite thing about writing together? A: All of it. Having someone to talk ideas through with, to cheer for you, to give you instant feedback, to help with all the non-writing stuff… Lila is an amazing co-author and friend, and I’m so grateful we get to write together. L: All of that. Also, having someone to hold you accountable can be so helpful. I have half a dozen unfinished manuscripts I started long ago and dropped because writing is hard! When I try that now, Andi gives me sympathy and commiserate before she says “I know it’s hard… do it anyway.” Sometimes that kick in the pants is what I need to get going again.
9. Do you have any advice to other authors about writing collaboratively? A: I’d say make sure your writing styles mesh well. We completely lucked out in that regard — neither of us even looked at a writing sample from the other before jumping into our first book. While it ended up working out for us, I don’t recommend doing that LOL. And be willing to compromise! L: OMG, yes. Kids at home, do not do what we did.
10. Your Oh My! series has been amazing, will you be collaborating again? A: Thank you! And yes, definitely. We already have our next book under way, and many more planned.
Thank you so much for dropping in! I can’t wait to read this and to see what sweet, kinky goodness you write next! Tony & His Tiger is out now.
Andi James has been in love with books and words her entire life. She writes about people finding things — themselves, happiness, love — and edits all kinds of stories. Her two dogs and three cats are her favorite co-workers. She adores coffee, the night sky, and horror movies. You can find Andi on Facebook, Instagram and Amazon.
Lila Wilde writes books about people who fall in love with other people. She is obsessed with unicorns and glitter and cupcakes and has accepted the fact that her dog is smarter than she is. You can find Lila on Facebook, Instagram and Amazon.