Wooo it’s September, and that means it’s nearly Autumn! Autumn is my absolutely favourite season because it means I can go back to wearing snuggly jumpers and drinking hot chocolate and pumpkin spice lattes. Plus it means the nights are drawing in and lots of extra time for curling up under blankets and reading.
August was a complete whirlwind for me, especially because I had a four-day work trip that was fun, but also gave me flu so I spent the week afterwards in a blanket fortress feeling generally horrible and sorry for myself. But I did also manage to get up to some super cool stuff too!
1. I went to my first football match! We went to see Tottenham Hotspur playing Inter Milan in a pre-season friendly, and it was a lot of fun. The stadium was huge and the atmosphere was incredible – it gave me so much inspiration and by the time we got to the second half I really wished I had a laptop with me lol! I also got to watch the players warming up close to where we were sat and they are definitely as handsome in real life.
2. I wrote a massive 41,000 words, finished the first draft of Extra Time and wrote the short story, “Hat Trick” (which you can get if you sign up to my newsletter). I’m still a little stunned that I managed to write that much, but it’s proof that I can. I also managed to get the first draft of Extra Time done in about nine weeks, which is amazing and also proves that plotting definitely works for me!
3. I’ve also started a secret project, which I’ll be releasing more details for soon. It’s a standalone that’s not connected to my Off the Pitch series, and I’m mostly writing it for fun. So far I’m having a blast and I can’t wait to share it.
4. Got to interview the fabulous E.M Denning and Kate Hawthorne about their new book, Future Ex Enemy, which I really enjoyed as well!
5. Released the paperback version of Breakaway which you can now get on Amazon! Natasha Snow did a fabulous job with the wrap around cover and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
That was about it for my August! My plans for September are to get my first draft of Extra Time edited and sent off to beta readers, and to progress my secret project. My husband and I are also in the process of hopefully adopting a rescue dog, so I really, really hope that works out. I’ve got two weeks off from my day job at the end of the month, so fingers crossed I’ll have lots of writing and editing time, and hopefully, a few days out too!
Today I’m super excited to be joined by the lovely JJ Harper, who’s hear to chat about her fabulous new release, Your Kind of Man, which you can get your hands on right now!
1. What inspired you to write Your Kind of Man? Can you tell us a little more about the story? Haha! Um, I think I can safely say Tumblr, Pinterest and a bunch of sexy gender-fluid books. The story is about Jem and Nate finding the one person they never knew they needed or wanted. But more so about finding themselves. Their insecurities as well as the strengths, it’s quite a roller coaster of will they, won’t they make it. Jem has to learn how to trust again, making him act out sometimes, Nate learns how to love after a lifetime being a Dom.
2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb? I’m not sure if saying too much will ruin it. I’m always cagey about how much to give away. I will say it’s great to see Mikey and Callum (from My Kind Of Man) again.
3. What was the hardest scene to write? The Safeword scene. I cry at my books all the time but that one was hard, I wasn’t sure where the story would go after that.
4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit? There was a whole chapter on Jem’s business trip and a character that was going to cause trouble for all the HeavyLoad! men. It may turn up as an added extra in my blog or possibly in the next book.
5. What came first with Your Kind of Man, the characters or the plot? Is that the same for all your books? Absolutely the characters, after the brief mention of Nate’s one that got away in book one, I knew then that it would be those two men that were the next to have their private life made public. lol.
6. If we made Your Kind of Man into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Nate and Jem? Ooh! Now that’s an interesting thought. I’m going to have to research this one, I’m not one to watch many films, or even TV. Runs off to google hot young actors! Back now and out of breath! So, it’s a tough choice for Nate, I’m going with Tom Hardy, damn that man can smoulder, if not him the Bradley Cooper. Jem is trickier, I think Lucky Blue Smith is perfect for him, but there’s Machine Gun Kelly that has the edginess of Jem. I know they’re not actors but they fit.
7. What inspired you to start writing? I had to stop working due to a long-term illness and hit Kindle in a big way, back when books were only 77c/p. It wasn’t so much an inspiration, more a suggestion from Mr H, after I was disappointed in a couple of books I’d read, said Why don’t you write one? I started with M/F and ending up writing a four books series. I still love it and have the fifth started but my love lies in MM now, I can’t see myself changing.
8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? I think, many indie authors have EL James to thank for inspiring women to read, via Kindle, and consequently write what they want. But I don’t think anyone has exactly influenced me, there are some authors I admire and love to talk to and get their ideas and opinions. Nora Phoenix is an amazing woman and knows the industry so well. We, the MM writers, are a tight knit team and like to help each other out. I think it’s the positivity of our community is probably the greatest influence on me.
9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out? First, write with your gut, then your head and then with your heart. Trust your ideas, if you like it the chances are there are plenty of other people who will, too. Secondly, spend as much as you can realistically spend on a cover and editor. Fiverr has some amazing editors and cover artists there, look there, read the reviews, and start there, you may not have to, you may have made a budget plan and great read who edited or designed the authors you love the most and contact them. Build up a newsletter, right from the start this is something I disregarded and have had to build up slowly. Join groups, talk to authors, we’re nice people and love to talk shop.
10. What is your favourite childhood book? The Narnia Chronicles and still read them every now and again. Voyage of the Dawntreader is my favourite, The Horse and His Boy is second.
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? Haha! I write full time, I don’t have time to have a hobby. Luckily, I love my job. I love meeting up with my friends for a night away. Cocktails and dancing are always fun. I have trouble staying asleep so I tend to catch up on my reading at stupid o’clock. I don’t watch tv but do binge on Netflix on my laptop. I have a very boring life and live vicariously through my imaginary men, lol
12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? The Doyouthinkshesaus, the one my dogs turn into when they’ve dug up the garden!!!!
Thanks for having me!
Thank you for dropping in and answering all my questions! I am so excited to read about Nate and Jem, and I definitely think Tumblr has inspired quite a few of us. You can download Your Kind of Man right now.
About JJ Harper You will normally find her in the living room—typing away—with her dog, Maud. As a hopeless romantic, JJ dives into her stories, always falling in love with her men, making sure they get the happy ever after they deserves, even if they do have to work hard for it. As a bona fide bookaholic, coffee-addicted, wine-drinking and swear-like-a-sailor type of girl, she has yet to work out how to act her age!! LOL. And she has no intentions of growing up or growing old gracefully. JJ lives in a small, very quiet, village in Lincolnshire, UK, with her husband and dog, and spends all day dreaming up stories full of really hot men.
Given that it’s already August, I’m really starting to wonder where this year has gone! July seemed to pass in a blur, albeit a fun one, and I’m really looking forward to the next couple of months and all the cool things I’ve got coming up. 2019 has been a pretty great year so far!
Here are the things I got up to last month:
Published Breakaway! My debut romance is now out in the world and it’s been amazing to see the response and hear so many of you say lovely things about it. It still doesn’t feel entirely real, but I’m sure it will as the months go on. If you’re looking for a sweet second chance romance with first times, football fun and a LEGO Millennium Falcon then this might be the book for you.
Wrote over 27,000 words, and over 24,000 of those were on Extra Time. It’s coming on so well and I’m loving telling this story. Plus it meant I smashed my 25K Camp NaNo goal too. One day my goal is to write 30K in a month and that might be sooner than I think if I can keep this up.
Interviewed the lovely Ana Newfolk and Isabelle Adler about their new releases – if you haven’t read their interviews yet, they’re definitely worth checking out and I can’t wait to read both of their books.
Got to celebrate my birthday (and anniversary) with a super fun day at the zoo, plus lots of cake and good food too. I also got to go to Germany for my cousin’s wedding and hang out with my sister in London too! My weekends were a little crazy, but I had so much fun it was worth it.
As part of my launch I did some great interviews and guest posts as part of a blog tour, and I got to do lots of Facebook takeovers and meet lots of awesome people. I truly love chatting to readers and they make everything worthwhile. You’re awesome!
That’s all for July, but it was a pretty hectic month. I’m kinda hoping August won’t be as all over the place, but I’m not convinced… still, if I can get some more words done then I’ll be happy. Plus I’ve already got some great books on my TBR and some fabulous authors dropping in as well.
Did you have a great July? What are you looking forward to in August?
I am super excited because Kate Hawthorne and E.M. Denning’s are here to chat about their brand new novel, Future Ex Enemy, and I have been DYING to read this since they announced it! Enemies to lovers, there’s only one bed and florists in one book? Get on my Kindle right now! And you can download Future Ex Enemyright now too.
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? Kate Hawthorne [K]: It’s all terribly scientific. I write one character and she writes another. We write in Google Docs so we go back and forth that way, one chapter at a time. Once we’re done writing, we both take a look over it and make small changes to each others chapters, mostly with phrasing and stuff to mold our styles together a little more cohesively. E.M. Denning [E]: What she said. And it’s just the way we work. We didn’t really have to plan a strategy, or go through a lot of failed attempts to find what worked for us. It just happened naturally.
2. What inspired you to write Future Ex Enemy? E: Kate inspired it actually. She’s wanted to write an enemies to lovers for a long time (because hate sex). The idea for their characters came out of a desire to write two people who didn’t get along well, and I forget who it was, but one of us (probably Kate) came up with the idea for florists. We spent a few weeks hashing out ideas before we actually got going on this one. K: I freaking have been waiting FOREVER to write hate sex. I’m so glad Luis and David obliged. The whole reason they’re florists was because one of us (probably EM) spouted off an idea about spanking someone with a long stem, thorny rose. We didn’t get that on this cut, but maybe a bonus scene 😉 E: OMG can we?!?! Luis needs a spanking. 😀 David has been DYING to spank his adorable ass.
3. What came first: the plot or the characters? K: With this one, it was definitely the characters. We had a lot of fun writing the first one and we left Ryan with this very ambiguous conversation in the end of Future Fake Husband and were like, let’s see this through. At first, we were going to do them as dueling NYE freebies. We wrote the same chapter from differing points of view, but then we had so much fun with Ryan and Darian we decided they deserved their own book. E: The trope came first. LOL Then the characters. The plot sort of fell into place after that. K: That’s actually more right. Haha. We knew we wanted it to be enemies to lovers, so we birthed Luis and David into the world, full of rage and spite and improperly tied bow ties. E: I effing love the bow ties.
4. What’s your favourite thing about the enemies to lovers trope? E: I love the banter and the hate sex. I love that, because it’s a romance, you know they’re going to end up together eventually. And I just love the animosity and the sexual tension. K: The potential for angry wall sex, mostly.
5. Apart from the enemies to lovers trope, do you have another favourite trope or kink that you’ve been able to write about in this book? K: One thing that’s a lot of fun about this series at Mallory Vineyard is we really write them all TO the tropes. So Future Ex Enemy is enemies to lovers, forced proximity, and there’s definitely only one bed. There’s only one bed is quickly becoming one of my new favorites. We used it in Future Fake Husband, too. E: I love there’s only one bed.
6. What behind-the-scene tidbit (about the characters, plot or writing process) would probably surprise your readers the most? E: Because Kate and I have a very similar writing style, sometimes I get confused about who wrote what when I see a line out of context. K: We don’t plot. Even when we collab. We sort of loosely talk out how things get started and we just go from there. We both always kind of have the same vision for the story arc, so we can predict what the other is going to write in their chapter and work the story through total pantser style.
7. If you have to describe David and Luis in three words each, what would they be? K: Luis is proud, stubborn, and self assured I think David is traditional, soft, and proud. So, two proud men does much conflict make. Hehe.
8. What was your favourite thing about writing together? E: I just love Kate to pieces. I adore talking to her and brainstorming ideas with her. It’s great to have her as a partner because whenever I’m stuck she always has a solution. We always have the best time, it’s just a lot of fun, from start to finish. Even when the books are done and out in the world, we still have this great connection through our boys. K: I love me to pieces too. I mean, EM. I love being able to tell stories with her. I think EM is super talented, and even though we’re both very involved in each other’s solo projects, I love being able to make something WITH her.
9. Do you have any advice to other authors about writing collaboratively? K: I think it’s important to write with someone who thinks a lot like you do. EM and I have a lot of the same ideas, even though (and no one will believe this) she comes up with way more screwed up things than me, so it’s one thing I don’t need to worry about when we’re writing. If you’re writing with someone who doesn’t align as closely as her and I do, I’d definitely suggest plotting. Also, on a boring technical side, make sure you understand the financial and legal implications associated with doing a collab project and work with someone you trust. E: Trust is a huge factor. I can trust Kate with my brain and my pocketbook. I can trust her to be honest with me and tell me when something is brilliant or terrible. We had a great relationship before we started writing together and collaborating has only improved it. On that note, I’d probably recommend working with someone you want to collaborate with on the level of alpha readers before you jump into co-writing. It was because Kate and I had worked closely on our own projects that we knew we’d probably work very well together on a book. We read each other’s work, chapter by chapter and offered input, ideas, and feedback. I feel that the ease with which we moved into a collaboration was fostered by that existing dynamic.
10. It’s been amazing to see you work together, will you be collaborating again? E: Try and stop us! Hahhaaha K: Never. Just kidding, I mean, who says we aren’t right now??
Thank you for dropping in and answering all my questions! Safe to say I can’t wait to see what you two create next. You can download Future Ex Enemy right now.
Born and raised in Southern California, Kate Hawthorne woke up one day and realized she had stories worth sharing. Now existing on a steady diet of wine and coffee, Kate writes stories about complicated men in love that are sometimes dirty, but always sweet. She enjoys crafting hard-fought and well deserved happy endings with just the right amount of angst and kink. From estate sale shopping to shoe worship, there’s something in at least one of her books that’ll tickle your fancy. You can find her on her website, Facebook and Amazon.
E. M. Denning is a writer from British Columbia. She loves her family and animals, and anything cute and fuzzy. She writes romance for the 18+ plus crowd because she’s both a hopeless romantic and a dirty old woman. You can find her on Amazon, Facebook or join her Facebook Group, Denning’s Darlings.
Hello lovely people! It’s time for another author interview and today we have the fabulous Isabelle Adler here to chat about her new novelette, The Exile Prince, which is available now from NineStar Press.
A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.
1. What inspired you to write The Exile Prince? Can you tell us a little more about the story? The inspiration for The Castaway Prince, the first story in the series, came when I saw a submission call from NineStar Press, my publisher, for stories featuring crossdressing. I wanted to write a story where the crossdressing aspect would be featured as part of a grand, dangerous adventure, while portraying it as sensitively and respectfully as I could as being an important part of the character’s identity. This idea continues in The Exile Prince, which follows the heroes’ adventures and delves more deeply into what crossdressing means to the main character. As in the first story, Stephan’s ability and desire to outwardly present as a woman (all the while identifying as male), is a major part of the plot, one which plays to the heroes’ advantage when they find themselves in a dangerous situation and must once again run for their lives.
2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb? The blurb is intentionally vague, but I can reveal that Prince Stephan’s family is not willing to let him slip away as easily as he’d hoped. He is still a royal, and as such, poses a potential threat to his older brother’s rule – a threat that the new king will go to great lengths to eliminate.
3. What was the hardest scene to write? I always find the sex scenes the hardest to write! The Exile Prince contains two very explicit scenes, and it was important to me to show the characters’ emotional bond grow stronger with each one while also advancing the story, as opposed to slowing it down to allow the heroes some sexy times.
4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit? Actually, there wasn’t anything I edited out of the story, but I did add something that wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. The scene in the epilogue where we get a glimpse of Robert, Stephan’s older brother and his adversary, was added on a stroke of inspiration almost at the last minute, but I think it serves to segue the story into the next instalment and piquing the readers’ interest.
5. Stephan and Warren’s story is the second part of your The Castaway Prince Series, do you have any plans for more stories in this series or are you planning something new? The Castaway Prince series is planned as a trilogy of novelettes, and I’m currently working on the third and final instalment. It does not have a title yet, but it will deal with Stephan’s connection to his family and his homeland, which he will no longer be able to ignore, and, of course, follow his romantic relationship with Warren.
There are several other projects I’m currently working on, notably the third and final book in my sci-fi series, Staying Afloat; a standalone fantasy novel, The Wolf and the Sparrow (coming out December 2019); and a new F/F mystery series set in an alternative 1880s New York.
6. If we made The Exile Prince into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Stephan and Warren? This is such a hard question! I really don’t want my vision of the characters to interfere with how the readers imagine them, but if I had to choose my absolute dream casting, I’d pick Jaco van den Hoven for Stephan (if he even decided to go into acting in addition to being a model), and Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Warren. I must say that having The Exile Prince made into a movie would be the ultimate goal!
7. What inspired you to start writing? I’ve dreamed about being a writer from a very early age. I remember trying to write adventure stories when I was about six, just like those I’ve read in all my favourite books, but I’ve never finished them. It wasn’t until I was much, much older that I’ve decided to give that long-forgotten dream another go, following some drastic (and not always positive) changes in my life. Writing definitely helped me deal with a lot of the struggles I was facing, and I’m glad I gave my life-long dream a shot of becoming a reality.
8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? I used to read a lot of science-fiction and fantasy growing up, and when I was older, I discovered LGBTQ fiction, which was a huge impact on the development of my writer’s imagination. Fanfiction was also a major influence, though I was never a big part of any fandom.
9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out? An important lesson I’ve learned recently was to finish publishing one series before starting another. Having long time gaps between books in the same series leads to readers losing interest, which makes the books so much harder to market. Hold off that shining new idea until you’re finished with the current one.
10. What is your favourite childhood book? The Lord of the Rings.
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? Unfortunately, with small children to take care of, there isn’t much free time left in the day for other hobbies! When I’m not working or spending time with my family, I try to write as much as I can, and when I just want to rest, unwind, or recharge, I read or binge-watch mystery series on Netflix. When I was younger, I had other creative pursuits, such as drawing, but now I devote all my creative energy to writing and coming up with new stories.
12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? Brontosaurus!
Thank you so much for dropping in Isabelle! Remember you can get your hands on The Exile Princeright now.
It’s finally July and summer is here! Today I’m very excited because the wonderful Ana Newfolk has dropped by to talk about Made in Lisbon, the fifth book in her ‘Made In’ series, which you can download right now!
1. What inspired you to write Made in Lisbon? Can you tell us a little more about the story Made In Lisbon is the book that reveals what happened to Vítor, the long lost brother of one of the characters in Made In Portugal. It’s funny how when you’re writing a series the secondary characters sometimes evolve into future main characters. When I was writing Made In Manhattan I knew Tiago needed his HEA, after all the poor guy had been searching for his missing brother since Made In Portugal. As I was thinking of Vítor’s I realised Tiago was his perfect match and so Made In Lisbon was, well… made.
2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb? In Made In Lisbon, Vítor and Tiago take five-year-old Filipe to the zoo. It’s the cutest scene ever and I absolutely adore Filipe. He’s also in Made In Manhattan briefly so if you’re a sucker for kids in books check it out.
3. What was the hardest scene to write? When Tiago shares some personal stuff with Vítor after their trip to the zoo. That was such a hard scene because it was only as I was writing it that I found out what really happened to him in the past and why his brother was missing. It was heartbreaking and I had to remind myself that he was going to have his HEA and everything would be okay.
4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit? I write in order so most of what I write stays in. It gets tweaked during edits but I don’t really have a scene I took out completely. What I didn’t write but wanted to was about Portugal. Made In Portugal has a strong sense of place and it really takes readers on a literal journey. I wanted to do the same for Made In Lisbon but I didn’t want to repeat what was already in previous books so I reigned myself in on the descriptions of locations unless they were new to the reader.
5. Vítor and Tiago’s story is the fifth in your Made in Series, do you have any plans for more stories in this series or are you planning something new? I have just finished something new that will be out in October. I’m now excited to go back to my Portuguese world one last time. It will be a Christmas novel that will bring everyone back together. I’ll leave readers to guess who gets the HEA this Christmas.
6. If we made Made in Lisbon into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Tiago and Vítor? The guys I had as inspiration for Vítor and Tiago are actually two Portuguese actors, Afonso Vilela and Diogo Morgado. If Made In Lisbon was made into a movie and these guys played Vítor and Tiago I’d die the best death ever!
7. What inspired you to start writing? I think deep down I always wanted to be a writer. I devoured books as a child. For years I used to go to my grandparents’ house after school because the library was on the way to their house. Books were always top of my wish list and I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t read. It wasn’t until I read my first MM book that I considered taking the step from reader to writer. I can’t even tell the moment things shifted but once I voiced it out loud somehow I just made it happen.
8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? My parents are my biggest influence. They’re not the kind of people that will tell you how amazing and special you are all the time. I have done many things in my life I am proud of. I moved from a small town in Portugal to live in London on my own. I was twenty-years-old with no life experience. Without knowing what a CV was I found a job and built a career in retail, and then later I put myself through university while holding a full time job. They never said I couldn’t do any of those things, so I figured I could do all of those things. Writing is just another extension of that. Or maybe I’m just stubborn!
9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out? Find your tribe and treat people online as if they are in front of you. You can find hundreds of books with advice on how to write better, faster, how to promote your books, increase your readership, I could go on. Us indie authors love to connect with other authors and readers and this means we are exposed to a lot of great stuff, but also some of the worst I’ve ever seen. It astonishes me how people can treat other people in the same community with such vitriol. So my advice is to treat people well and be a nice person as if they were right in front of you. Build your tribe of authors, because when you’re feeling down after a bad review, or you’re stuck with your plot, those authors are your people. The good ones will tell you that your blurb sucks and maybe your amazon ads don’t work because of your book covers. They will also tell you how your writing made them cry on the train. You will know they speak the truth.
10. What is your favourite childhood book? It’s a collection of books by two Portuguese authors called “An Adventure…”. It was basically the Portuguese version of “The Five” and I loved reading them. If anyone ever asked me what I wanted for Christmas or a birthday it would have been one of these books. I can’t remember how many books there are in the collection and if the authors are still writing them but I still have dozens in my childhood bedroom at my parents’ place.
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 like too many things I don’t have the time for, especially as I also work full time. My second favourite thing to do after writing is baking. I love to bake and try new recipes. I also love watching people eat stuff I bake. I taught myself to sew, which I’m really proud of because my mum is a seamstress and can make anything. I made the curtains for the last place I lived in and also made the decorative cushions I have on my sofa. I like knitting but I’m not that great at it. I’m your girl if you want anything square, otherwise you’re better off buying it in a shop.
12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? Triceratops.
Thank you Ana – I’ll definitely being coming to you for some cake then, as well as some beautiful books! Made in Lisbon is out now.
So… my promise to do these every month lasted a long time! The last time I wrote one was March and I’ve gotta say, quite a few things have happened since then.
I actually really like writing these little achievement lists, because they help remind me of all the cool things I’ve done – even if they’re just little things. Big or small they’re all worth remembering because they’re all steps along the road. Plus when I look back at the end of the year and think I didn’t do much this year or I can’t remember what I’ve done, they help add perspective.
So, here are my April, May and June achievements. I’ve stuck to mostly writerly ones, but there are a few personal ones too.
Sent Breakaway to my editor, received my feedback and then worked through all of my edits to make it the best that it can be.
Finished the whole of Breakaway, organised a release date, and shared my amazing cover by the fabulous Natasha Snow. You can find out more about Breakaway here or see the full cover reveal here.
Set up my reader group, Charlie’s Angels – which you’re very welcome to join for cute guys and bookish shenanigans.
Bought my first house *gasp* and got my very own writing space. It’s been amazing to have a desk of my own and I love tucking myself away there.
Started on Book 2, which will be called Extra Time. I actually wrote about 20k, then realised the plot isn’t working so I’m in the middle of re-writing it and fleshing it out a lot more! It’s also already booked in for editing towards the end of this year so I have many words to write.
Got to do some AMAZING author interviews with some of my favourite authors. It’s always fun to talk about their latest books, what advice they have and (of course) find out what their favourite dinosaur is!
Started catching up on my reading and got to some great stories that I’d been saving for a while. I still have many, many books on my TBR but it’s a start. I also got back into listening to audio books and I’m loving them!
Went on a work trip to the US – which was my very first time there – but while I out there I got the chance to meet my bestie Toby Wise in person! We had lots of hugs, lots of food and stayed up chatting about books and plots till 1am – it was perfect.
Also I did some cool personal things; like trying chair dancing for the first time (so many bruises), went horse riding again and got back to baking cakes.
It’s actually been quite a busy few months – which probably explains why there are still many boxes I haven’t unpacked, but I’m super excited for July too. Not only does Breakaway get released, but it’s also my birthday and my second wedding anniversary, plus I’m going to see my sister in London and it’s my city’s pride event too.
Maybe in between all of that I’ll get a chance to write some words too…
I’m super excited to be able to share with you the cover for my debut novel, Breakaway, which will be released on the 23rd July 2019.
The cover has been designed by the amazing Natasha Snow, and I’m sure you’ll agree that she’s done a fantastic job! I’ve actually had this since the end of April, and keeping it under wraps has been very difficult.
Here’s the synopsis:
When your life revolves around a single goal, is there room for love?
Christian King is a rising star in English football. He’s talented, devoted, and on the road to glory. He’s following the path that’s been laid out for him since he was four, and he has no plans to deviate from it. Christian’s life revolves around a single goal—to be the best… until he runs into his first love and former best friend, David.
David Cade is just trying to survive the final year of his PhD intact, while battling long hours, unmotivated students, and the idea that academia might not be for him. But a chance encounter with his first love’s twin sister changes everything, and suddenly David is faced with the realisation that he can’t leave the past behind.
When David and Christian are drawn back together, sparks fly. Soon, Christian is forced to confront his deepest insecurities. Can they break away from their fears for a second chance at true love?
Breakaway is a 79,000 word contemporary gay romance featuring light angst, glittery bath bombs, a ginger-haired roommate/pet, shared Star Wars love, and a meddling twin sister. It is book one in the Off the Pitch series and can be read as a stand alone.
Hello hello hello! It’s summer time and while the weather may not quite be hot (at least in the UK), today’s author knows how to bring the heat. It’s the fabulous E. M. Denning, who’s here to chat about her divine new release Never Enough, which you can download now!
1. What inspired you to write Never Enough? Can you tell us a little more about the story? When I started writing the Upstate Education series, Vince and Tommy were these background entities who weren’t supposed to get a book. Book Three originally was going to be Will’s (You met him in Half as Much) but sometimes my characters have other ideas. It wasn’t long before Tommy and Daddy Vince were demanding their story be told.
Never Enough is a story of strength, vulnerability, and belonging. There’s something special about all of my boys, but I am so in love with Tommy and his Daddy. They really found their perfect match and I love the way they grow together.
2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb? Shawn is Tommy’s best friend and I absolutely love him. He will be in book four, so you will definitely want to read Never Enough so you get to meet him before hand.
3. What was the hardest scene to write? I always have trouble with the end of a book. Always. It’s always the hardest for me, getting through that last ten or fifteen thousand words.
4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit? Nothing. LOL I actually don’t know. I’d have to go look. I don’t outline and I write completely linear, so there’s no out of order scenes that didn’t make the cut, or something the didn’t fit. When I write, the stories unfold organically and I follow along. Sometimes I’ll cut something and start a chapter over if I feel things are going in the wrong direction, but I couldn’t tell you a specific thing that didn’t make it into this book.
5. Tommy and Vince’s story is the third in your Upstate Education Series, do you have any plans for more stories in this series or are you planning something new? There will be a fourth and final Upstate Education book. I’m hoping to finish it in time for a late summer release. I’d tell you what it’s about, but it’s a secret. I am already planning something new and exciting that will come after Upstate, so stay tuned.
6. If we made Never Enough into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Tommy and Vince? Oh. Wow. I think Timothy Chalamet would be a beautiful Tommy. The hair color is wrong but I wouldn’t even care. He’s stunning and brilliant. and Vince…. Um… I don’t KNOW.
7. What inspired you to start writing? I’ve been writing for a long time and it was an assignment in the fourth grade that got me started. I wrote poetry for a long time before making the jump to novels. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing.
8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? There’s so many things that have influenced me as a writer. Dean Koontz. Poetry. Other MM romance authors. My friends. It’s really easy to influence writers, you pretty much just need to exist.
9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out? Finish your stuff. Stop editing as you go and just go. Finish your book. Then finish another. Don’t worry about not being as good as other writers, we all started out not knowing how to do this. It’s not something writers are born with. No one comes out of the womb knowing how to do this. It’s something each one of us have had to learn over the years and we’re all still learning.
10. What is your favourite childhood book? Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. Anne is my spirit animal. I love those books so much.
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 used to crochet and I sometimes play the guitar, but mostly I like to read. I’m not very exciting. Oh, and I listen to a LOT of nightcore on YouTube.
12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? Stegosaurus for the win!
Thank you so much for chatting with me today, and giving such great answers. Your advice is excellent and I can’t wait to read about Daddy Vince and Tommy. Never Enough is out now.
We’re kicking off June in style here at Novak Tower and what better way to start than with the fabulous Spencer Spears. He’s here to talk about his brand new book Wild Heart, and that cover alone has me ridiculously excited!
1. What inspired you to write Wild Heart? Can you tell us a little more about the story? At first, I just wanted to write a light and fluffy series set on an island. The books were supposed to be short and sweet, and not really have any angst. But as I got to know my characters, I realized that Mal had a lot of darkness in his past, and Deacon was dealing with a lot of sorrow and guilt. Which probably makes the book sound super depressing, and I swear, it’s not! There’s surfing and kittens and lots of kissing. But as I got into writing the book, I realized I really wanted to explore some of the issues that come up around living in a small town, dealing with bigoted family members, the weight of the past that we all carry around with us, and how we find hope and love despite all that. So a lot of the world-building things that come up in Wild Heart – the way the island is changing, and Deacon’s family history – are going to continue to unfold in the next two books.
2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb? Hmm… well, as I alluded to in question #1, both of Deacon’s brothers, Emory and Connor, are getting books of their own. Oh–and Mal is a Cancer . Someone asked me that the other day, since Deacon mentions that he’s a Virgo. Mal’s birthday actually happens during Wild Heart, but he doesn’t mention it to Deacon because he’s learned not to make a big deal about it. God, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about Mal’s past. Maybe someday it’ll actually make it into some kind of book or something!
3. What was the hardest scene to write? Oh man, the scene on the steps of the guest house in Chapter 9, where Mal misinterprets what Deacon wants. I wrote that scene over and over again, starting from scratch each time. From a storytelling perspective, I knew I needed an “almost-but-not-quite” beat, where they got a little closer, then pulled back. But from a character perspective, I could only write something that felt true to Mal and Deacon. And I couldn’t see either of them confidently coming onto the other one, or even being brave enough to just say what they wanted. Not at that point in the story. They were both too hesitant, too unsure. It finally clicked when I realized that was the crux of the scene – that uncertainty, the miscommunication that arose from them both wanting the other, but not feeling comfortable saying it, and being really insecure about how the other person saw them. Mal’s got this awful history with guys who’ve used him, and when I realized that that would inform how he saw Deacon, and what his expectations would be, then everything came together.
4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit? I had this scene where Deacon teaches Mal how to swim. It was so clear to me what it would look like – the weather, the light, all the sensory details, the feelings of fear and trust, the hopes that they each had for the future, but were too afraid to say out loud. But it just didn’t fit with the pacing of the book – I couldn’t make it work. So I ended up pulling it out, and I’m toying with the idea of rewriting it as a short story for them in the future, because I still just love it so much.
5. What came first with Wild Heart, the characters or the plot? Is that the same for all your books? Characters, 100%. That’s how it always is, for me. Even if I know I want to write a book with a certain trope, it won’t come together until I have a handle on the characters. I’ve got lots of story ideas in my head that are still waiting for a character to jump out and say, “That’s MY story, write it about me!” Conversely, I’ve got “story” ideas in my head that are really just snippets of scenes between two characters, where I have no idea what’s going on in the book around them. For Wild Heart, I had this image of someone jumping out the bathroom window of a roadside motel, and Mal sprang to life for me from that. And Deacon became real for me once I saw the scene of him going to Mal’s room at night to protect him, his heart beating out of his chest because he thinks he’s lost him. Everything else rippled out from there.
6. If we made Wild Heart into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Mal and Deacon? I’m pretty sure I’d be so thrilled Wild Heart was becoming a movie that I’d say yes to it being acted out by sock puppets. But I was just saying in my Facebook group that Henry Cavill gives me really strong Deacon vibes, when he’s rocking a beard. He’s a bit older than Deacon would be, and I know he’s British, but… Sigh. That face. And for Mal? It’d have to be someone who captures that vulnerability and determination. I’m open to suggestions!
7. What inspired you to start writing? I have two answers for this–a practical one, and an emotional one. The practical one is that I started writing as a just-for-kicks hobby. Ages ago, I’d read this article about people who published dinosaur erotica on Amazon, and a few years later, I thought, “Huh. I wonder if I could do that.” Obviously, my writing doesn’t involve dinosaurs, but I was curious to see if I could even write a full-length novel, and it turned out that a) yes, I could, and b) I really, really liked writing. The emotional answer is that I’d always been someone who told stories to myself. I lived in my own little world inside my head and would work on these long, angsty epics that I thought about before I fell asleep, or when I commuted to work, or pretty much any time I had downtime. I never thought that I could actually do anything with that habit. It always seemed like more of a defense mechanism than anything else–a way of processing a world that I felt ill-equipped for, with all my too-many-feelings and being-too-sensitive. I thought “real” writers had some kind of magic ability that let them take the mundane prose inside their heads and turn it into something breathtaking on the page. But once I gave myself permission to try writing “just as a hobby,” I realized that there’s no magic. There’s hard work and practice and skill, but that’s it. And that was such an exciting, freeing thing to realize, because suddenly I had an outlet for all the stories I’d stored up in my head for the past 30-some years I’ve spent on this planet.
8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? Obviously, what I read has a huge influence. Other authors in the m/m genre constantly inspire me to push myself in my writing. And some of the best m/m writing I’ve ever read has been fanfiction, so I have to mention that as well. And to be honest? I watched a lot of teen dramas on TV when I was in middle and high school (and, uh, maybe into my 20s, haha), and that had a pretty formative influence on how I think about storytelling, character development, handling large casts and interlocking stories, and just building worlds that people can sink into and lose themselves in. It’s something I think about any time I set out to start a new series – who am I writing about, why should people care, and what makes the characters – and the place they live – special?
9. As an experienced author, do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out? 1) Don’t write the book you care about most first. Save that for your second book, where you know what you’re doing a little better. 2) Learn from other authors, but don’t compare yourself to them. Comparison takes all the joy out of writing. Run your own race. 3) Relatedly, learn from other authors, but don’t feel that you have to do exactly what they do in order to be “successful” or “a real author” or whatever standard you’re trying to meet. Different people plan differently, outline differently, write differently, release differently, interact with readers differently, do everything differently. An author you admire might religiously write 5k a day with a green glitter gel pen in a pristine Moleskine notebook while burning patchouli and listening to BTS, and that’s great for them, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing. Experiment, find what works for you, and do that.
10. What is your favourite childhood book? Oooh, this is a super hard question! I read A LOT as a kid. When I was really little, it was definitely Scuppers, The Sailor Dog, which got me obsessed with travel, shipwrecks, and the ocean. And dogs, obviously. I bought a copy for myself as an adult, because I’m a sentimental sop. When I got a bit older, it was probably The Secret Garden, because what kid doesn’t want to go live in a giant, spooky country manor and discover a private wilderness all their own? Dickon was probably my first literary crush, and an aged-up m/m version where Dickon and Colin fall in love is for sure on my list of “books I really want to write if I ever get the time.”
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 try to spend as much time outside as I can. My goal is to make it to all the US National Parks, and all the state parks in Minnesota, but even just a run around my neighborhood is guaranteed to lift my spirits. As far as secret passions, most people probably don’t know that I worked in linguistics for 10 years before switching to writing. It’s what I studied in undergrad and grad school as well, and if you’re not careful, I’ll corner you at a party and talk your ear off about Jespersen’s cycle or the links between Malagasy, Maori, and Hawaiian.
12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? Brontosaurus, definitely. Specifically Sally the Brontosaurus, a stuffed animal I had as a kid who now keeps me company at my writing desk.
Thank you Spencer for giving such great answers and sharing such a cute picture of Sally too! I’m can’t wait to dive into Mal and Deacon’s book. Wild Heartis out now.