Operation: Distract Charlie

At the moment I am desperately trying to distract myself for editing.

Why? You make think. Surely editing is a good thing. And yes, normally is it. But I’m trying to give myself a cooling off period between the first draft and the start of edits, just so that I:
a) can look at it with fresh eyes
b) don’t get sick of it
c) actually focus on edits
But it’s been nearly two weeks and my patience is wearing very, very thin. I’ve been attempting to distract myself by various means: plotting book two, reading, playing with (and breaking) my website, helping friends, but it’s not working… all I can think about is editing.

Please send your best suggestions to help distract me for another few days at least. If not, I might have to resort to actually doing housework, and nobody wants that!

Valentine’s Flash Fic: A Jealous Kiss

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

To celebrate here’s a little flash fiction story, themed around the idea of ‘A Jealous Kiss’. I actually wrote this last year as a piece of fanfiction and I loved it so much, that I couldn’t resist tweaking it and sharing it with you!

“Hey there handsome, can I get you anything special?”

It’s the weekend of valentine’s day, and the cocktail bar is dimly lit and full of small groups and couples enjoying an evening out. It’s not really Tyler’s sort of place, with its plush booths and artsy lighting and stylish bar, but Jace has been dying to try it out and Tyler couldn’t face saying no. There isn’t currently a queue at the bar, and Jace is now leaning against it, chatting to a young man in a fitted, black staff shirt.

“Oh, I’m not sure, I haven’t looked at the menu yet,” replies Jace, to the barman’s sweet tones, picking up the smart looking menu booklet and starting to thumb through it.

“Not a problem,” the barman answers, his tone making Tyler’s skin crawl. “What sort of thing do you like?” He’s got dark hair, that’s been swept into some sort of fancy ass style and an easy, flirty smile and all of that would be fine, if he didn’t look like he wanted to eat Jace alive. Not that Jace has noticed, he’s adorably oblivious. Instead he’s smiling sweetly and openly, utterly captivated by the man’s careful attention. He probably thinks the guy is just being friendly. Too friendly in Tyler’s opinion.

The barman’s name tag reads Niall. Tyler vows instant death and destruction to him.

“Well, I like vodka based drinks,” Jace says, pausing to look a Niall’s carefully fashioned smile.  

“How about Baileys?” Niall asks, leaning across the bar and flashing stupidly white teeth.

“Oh, yes. That’s nice too.”

“Hmmm, and what about something creamy?” Niall adds, definitely giving Jace the once over as he adds, “you look like the sort of person who like sweet, creamy drinks.”

Jace blushes. Tyler swears internally. He’s being utterly cut out here by some irritating twinky barboy.

“That sounds delicious.”

“Perfect, I’ve got just the thing for you!” With a wink, Niall starts pulling bottles down and begins mixing things in a silver cocktail shaker. He chats easily with Jace, who starts telling him about the Italian place they went for dinner and about how delicious the food was.

“That’s the Italian place just round the corner right? Sexy Mama?”

“Yes, the ravioli was so good! So were the profiteroles I had for dessert,” Jace smiles, turning to look at Tyler as if to encourage him into the conversation. “Don’t you think so Tyler?”

“It was pretty good,” Tyler adds, not really thinking but more planning the destruction of Niall, who turns to look at Tyler for the first time, giving him an appraising look. Tyler draws himself up to his full height and goes to put a hand in the small of Jace’s back. Only his boyfriend has moved slightly down the bar, where the accursed Niall is now pouring out his drink.

He slides the thick, creamy looking drink across the bar and leans in close to Jace. “This is a Screaming Orgasm,” he says, soft and seductive, clearly pulling his best moves out of the bag. Jace blushes again. “Taste it for me? I want to know what you think.”

Jace takes a sip through the straw, closing his eyes as he swallows, a tiny moan of happiness escaping his lips. “That’s delicious.”

“I thought you’d like it,” Niall says. “They’re my specialty. Let me know if I can get you another one. Or maybe, a real one.” He adds a final wink as Tyler steps up to the bar.

“If you’re quite finished, I’d like a whiskey sour,” he snaps, noting the eye roll from barboy. “Why don’t you go find us a booth,” he adds, turning to Jace with a soft smile, “I’ll pay for these.”

Once he gets his drink, from a much sulkier Niall, he joins Jace in a plush booth on the other side of the room. The seats are soft and offer a perfect view of the bar, plus with the added bonus of being able to snuggle in right next to his boyfriend.

Tyler slides up to Jace, putting an arm around his waist and pulling him close. Jace, however, doesn’t seem particularly impressed – rolling his eyes and shooting Tyler a look that suggests Tyler is in trouble. He’s not quite sure why though.

“Why were you so rude to the barman? He was just being friendly,” Jace asks, a cold edge to his tone as he sips the drink Niall made him.

“Jace, he wasn’t being friendly, he was flirting with you. A lot.”

“No he wasn’t, he just asked what drink I wanted, helped me choose one, asked about dinner, gave me a screaming…” Jace’s voice trails off and he does the mental maths, and even under the low lights Tyler can see an adorable flush spreading across his face.

“Oh,” Jace puts the drink down, pushing it away and looking down at his hands. “I’m sorry.”

Tyler smiles, lifting Jace’s face up and looking deep into his beautiful dark eyes. “Don’t be sorry, not your fault he’s a dick.” He leans in close, a little smirk on his lips. “Not your fault your so goddamn gorgeous.”

“Not my fault either, that my boyfriend gets jealous,” Jace smirks, tapping Tyler on the nose like a cat.

“Hey! I’m not jealous!” Jace rolls his eyes again, and Tyler grins. “Well… maybe just a little.” He leans in and pulls Jace into a fierce kiss. He can taste the creamy tang of Baileys and Kahlua on Jace’s tongue as he pushes inside his boyfriend’s mouth, feeling Jace practically melt in his arms as Tyler kisses him over and over.

When the pull apart, they’re practically panting, and Tyler has to admit his jeans are a little tighter than they should be for so public a venue. It’s worth it though when he looks over at the bar and spots Niall fuming.

Tyler shoots him a wink and pulls Jace in for another kiss.

The Learning Curve of the First Draft

Terry Pratchett always said “the first draft is just you telling yourself the story”.

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot recently, especially as I’ve just reached the end of my first draft, and I’ve been comparing how I thought it was going to be vs how it’s actually been.

I thought that writing this novel would be exactly the same as writing everything else. Boy was I mistaken!

Writing this novel has been so much more challenging and exciting than I could ever have imagined. I thought I had a rough idea of the story and the characters before I started, but now things have happened that I’d never considered and I’ve totally fallen in love with characters who randomly appeared. I’ve had at least two characters stroll into my head, unannounced, sit down and make themselves comfortable.

It’s made me realise just how much of this story I don’t know – which always seems to happen right as I get to an important part and I suddenly realise that I’m not sure what happens next.

I thought I’d just sit down with my very rough bullet point outline and my character notes and just get the whole thing down in about 3 months. Instead it’s been five-ish months, lots of pondering and questions and leaving chapters unfinished, because I can’t quite figure out the words, and going back to them later. It’s been a learning curve of what works for me and what doesn’t, and it’s definitely taught me some valuable lessons I can take with me into the future.

It has also made me realise that I could also do with a little more planning next time… although whether or not that will happen remains to be seen.

First things first though, now I need to edit!

New Year, New Goals?

Happy New Year!

However you celebrated, I hope you had a good one. I spent it on the sofa, watching movies, eating food and then watching the London fireworks on TV – it was absolute bliss.

Today I’m not planning on doing much except enjoying my last day of holiday freedom… which means I really need to be doing some writing! I had planned on using my ten days off work to relax, recharge and get some much needed words in, but then I came down with a horrible bug on the 26th and spent three days in a haze of sleep. So no words for me.

As much as part of me wants to punish myself for not writing, I’ve realised that I really needed the break – especially because of how stressful the end of 2018 turned out to be, and now I feel a lot of more rested and ready to let the words flow.

So for January, and 2019 as a whole, I’ve reset my goals and adjusted them based on what I’ve learnt over the past few months. When I started on my current project, I was sure that 3 months would be plenty of time to turn out a 70-80K first draft. But I hadn’t counted on life stress, illness, fatigue and writer’s block. I’m still learning what works for me, and what doesn’t. So while 1,000 words a day is peanuts for some folk, for me it’s a realistic goal that some days will be easy and some days will be hard.

I’ve also learned to give myself days off – especially if I’m tired, because otherwise I stare at a flickering cursor for two hours and then wonder if throwing my laptop out the window will make me feel better.

It’s all about balance – like yesterday, when I wrote nearly 600 words and ate half a chocolate orange!

So, with all this in mind – I’m aiming for 15-20K this January. About 5,000 words a week. And I’ve written this goal in my new unicorn themed journal/planner/attempt-to-get-my-shit-together notebook so it’s official now.

As for other New Year Writing Goals?
Well I’m going to stick with a simple one: be kind to myself.
I’m terrible at comparing myself to other writers, or berating myself for not getting things done perfect first time, or writing fast enough. I need to remember to celebrate my achievements – like hitting the halfway point, or even starting at all, and take things in my stride.

Now, I just have to do it!

The First One

They always say beginnings are the hardest thing to write – and given that it’s taken me two days to write this, I’d say that it’s true.

So, without further ado…

Hi! I’m Charlie – I’m a romance author who writes gay erotic stories with a little angst, heaps of fluff, plenty of yummy sexy times and a happily ever after. So far, I’ve written mostly fanfiction (which is published on AO3) but I’m diving off the deep end and starting some original fiction of my own.

I’ll be trying to keep a blog about writing and my own exploits, plus bringing you news, updates and teasers from my upcoming work.

I’m so excited to get started! Now I’ve just got to finish the damn book…