How to re-invent yourself in one (not so) easy step
I have some news to share with you all, and I’m hoping you’ll all join me on my next journey.
I know I’ve been absent a lot on social media as I figured things out, and as many of you will know, I told you all of my intention to stop writing a while ago. I’ve also not attended any signing events like the wonderful RARE one going on right now (even though I was in Edinburgh the week before for a personal visit, the timing sucked)
For some time now, I’ve been considering changing genres and writing stories which mean as much to me as my MM romance ones do. I feel it’s need for a change and after ten years, I finally decided to go back to writing something I started when I was sixteen. Yes, MANY, MANY moons ago 😊
I’ve always been an avid reader of fantasy (particularly urban), horror, and occult books. Edgar Allan Poe, Jim Butcher, K T Davies, Ben Aaronovich, Shayne Silvers, J C Owens, Steve McHugh, Orlando Sanchez, Joe Abercrombie, Kevin Hearne, …the list goes on. I read this genre more than I do any other, including the one I currently write in. My best male friend is a Shaman, a Druid, and a Wizard and I truly believe we were fated to meet. I’m a spiritual being, soaked in the mystique of the hidden world, yeaning for it all to be true (I mean, who wouldn’t want to ride a unicorn or fight a supernatural battle with a wizard like Harry Dresden?)
Saying all this, I’ve decided the time has come to change what I write and create another persona to finally finish what I started. If you remember, I gave this whole urban fantasy thing a whirl with my Double Alchemy series, about warlocks, witches, and hidden worlds. I had such fun writing this as it echoed a lot of my love for Wicca and the natural side of things. (Secret fact – I’m an actual tree hugger. I go out and hug my Silver Birch tree in the front garden when I need to relax.) The family think I’m crazy but my favourite part of nature is the trees. Forests, glades, rivers, lakes – I could die quite happily in their embrace and a log cabin right in that setting is my ideal home. As long as it has wi-fi. I’m not that much of a hermit 😊
And now I’ve rambled enough. For the new books, I’ll be Susan Mac Nicol writing as S M Nicol.
I’d love if you visit my new website (I did it all myself and I’m quite proud of it) www.smnicol.com, maybe give a like to my Facebook page S M Nicol | Facebook which has been going a while and let me know if what I’m writing is anything you’d still be interested in. You can also subscribe to my newsletter.
I will never lose touch with any of you because I see me as being one writer in two different genres – and saying this, the first book, Glengáill, will be about two male wolf shifters. I can’t let go of my love for this MM genre that easily 😊 But there’ll be no on page sex, and if there’s any romance, it’ll be secondary to the story.
I hope you’re as excited about this new direction as I am, and that what I’m writing will still bring you pleasure. It’s going to take me some time to build up the S M Nicol author brand and I’ll take any help I can get.
Love you all madly and let me know your thoughts
EDGE is out there!
Since he was young, Jory Longstone has been keeping a diary to catalogue his exploits, which helps inspire his music. He finds solace in managing his complicated life through the written word, which he never intended for anyone else to read.
Until one man did, and he now controls Jory’s life.
While his band’s star is rising, Jory remains trapped and ashamed – closed off from emotional attachments for fear of discovery.
And then he meets Damian Foyle, manager of his family-owned cinema, a place where Jory loves to hide and relax. The antithesis of a rockstar, Damian loves his martial arts classes, tinkering with motor parts, and the simple life.
Damian’s first meeting with Jory is just shy of a disaster, and yeah, the second one isn’t all that great either.
Jory is annoying, sexy as hell, temperamental, and one helluva rock god in tight trousers. It’s all Damian can do not to burn up in the heat of the man’s fiery personality.
But getting close to his heart is another thing altogether, and Damian won’t settle for anything less.
Click the image to buy the book
Love and Punishment is now on Audible!
It’s ALIVE! Finally I can say the Audible audiobook is here. This is a challenging read with themes of torture, grisly murders, and retribution. You have been warned…..
#Audible #audiobook #mmromance #thriller #detective #serialkiller #mystery #policeprocedural #retribution #HEA #MMromance
Anthony stood in the cold early morning darkness of Valentine’s Day and looked down at the body sprawled before his feet. He pulled his windbreaker closer around his body as he shivered, both with cold and disgust. The woman lying before him, eyes open, and mostly naked, having only a pair of bloody blue silk panties on, had dark red hair which was spread across the cold ground like dying flames. Her lower jaw was smashed and bloody, her hands bound in front of her with thin blue rope and her ankles tied. Around her neck, soaked in dry crusting blood, was tied a flamboyant black-and-white silk bow tie. In the distance he saw his partner, Sergeant Rupert Gregg, interviewing some of the crowd around the scene.
I hope you enjoy the audio book and David C Dawson’s amazing narration. He did such wonderful job on the book. Let me know which character you enjoyed hearing the most…
It’s Boroughs’ 10th Anniversary!
My wonderful publisher Boroughs Publishing Group is 10 years old this October. I’ve been publishing with them since 2012, back when they were a small, newly established organisation with a half dozen authors and less than 10 books. The company has grown in stature and now boasts over 140 authors and over 400 books on their site. So this, our tenth year anniversary, is something truly special and I’d like to tell you a bit about what you can expect.
Some of my fellow Boroughs authors participating with me –
M Tasia Author, David C Dawson, Diane Benefiel, Joan Bird, Brooklyn Ann, Jennifer Peer, Michael Buzzelli , Emily W Mims, Amber Vogel, Clyve Rose, LP Maxa, Maggie Mooha, Michele James, Kitty Bardot, Allen Johnson, and K.d. Van Brunt
Our holiday Boroughs Giveaway Calendar – every author gets a day to give something away. Some of our great ideas are: 10 minutes Zoom Q&A with the author; Boroughs taking pitches; and of course, signed books and swag. There’s some amazing stuff coming your way, I promise.
We’ll be having a Boroughs Black Friday Madness day on 26 November – Special BOGO from the Boroughs website. And our goal is that 25% of Boroughs’ proceeds will go to a charity attenuated to homelessness as this can be a tough time of year for a lot of people. If you’d like to watch a truly moving and gut wrenching video, watch this one from one of my favourite groups, Five Finger Death Punch. It truly hits home.
We’ll all be doing some newsletter swaps as well, with our own giveaways, so again, something to look forward to.
There’ll also be a festive feature with content such as Halloween traditions such as trips to the pumpkin patch, Thanksgiving holiday recipes, seasonal traditions like cutting down a Christmas tree, the beautiful rituals of Hanukah and pictures of special decorations and personal stories about family and the fun of the holidays.
I’ll be sharing some recipes with you on 26th November – Melk Tert (a delicious South African custard pie dish) and a quick and easy Yorkshire Pudding mix for you on December 27th. After all the eating you’ll be doing over Christmas and Boxing Day, something light and fluffy will be truly appreciated.
I’ll also be sharing some of my personal Autumnal favourites – pictures and stories – from 25th to 28th October, so keep an eye out on my social media. All the links are here on my website. In this event, I’ll be giving away two back list e-books and a $5 Amazon gift voucher.
I look forward to seeing you around!
The Bookfest 2021
|Join Lisa Morton, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Andy Ross, Katharine Sands, Lori H. Schwartz, Mark K. Shriver, Helene Wecker|
And so many more at The BookFest® Fall 2021, October 23rd and 24th
The BookFest announces the schedule for the 4th biannual online bookish adventure with Panel Discussions, Conversations, Live Author Chats, and live interactive pitching and critique panels with literary professionals, writers and experts.
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD.
Mark K. Shriver
Lori H. Schwartz
Useni Eugene Perkins
|The Saturday, October 23rd, 2021, live stream programming is dedicated to readers. The programming includes:(All times listed in Pacific Time)|
9:00am – Welcome Message
9:15am – Opening Keynote by Lori H. Schwartz, What’s Your Tech Story? Forget About Killer Robots, How Storytellers Can Embrace the Tech in Our Lives
9:45am – Poetry Reading by Debbie Monteggia
10:00am – A Conversation with Mark K. Shriver – Being an Author and Being of Service
11:00am – Kid Lit: Culture, Character and Creativity
Noon – Who Put the Bomp in Your Favorite Romance Novel?
1:00pm – Thrills, Chills and Red Herrings – Things that Make You Go “Ooo”
2:00pm – The Fantasist’s Forge and Mythologist’s Muse
3:00pm – A Conversation with Helene Wecker – Blending Fantasy, Mythology, Romance and Horror
4:00pm to 6:00pm – Live Author Chats Hosted by Scott Ryan and Anastasia Washington
The Sunday, October 24, 2021, programming is geared toward writers. The programming includes:(All times listed in Pacific Time)
8:30am – Keynote by Kristie Anne Mah, From Sluggish to Published: Letting Go of What is Holding You Back
9:00am – A Conversation with Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein – Dreaming a World Where Everyone Experiences the Wonders of the Universe
10:00am – Books Out of Africa: Bookish World Tour Panel
11:00am – Alternative Ways to Publish: Hybrid, Self-Publishing and More
Noon – Do You Have the Write Stuff? A Frank Discussion about Being an Author Today
1:00pm – A Conversation with Lisa Morton: Thirty Years of Fear
2:00pm – Critiki-Bar: Page One Manuscript Critiques (An agent and an author walk into a bar…)
4:00pm – Brave New Writer at The BookFest Adventure
Plus, throughout The BookFest, there will be special segments, including:
BookTok Talk with Dani Lopez and Jessica MclennanCooking Up Something for the Season with Chef and Author David RuggerioHow to Organize Your Bookshelf with Nic NelsonHow to Write a Query Letter with Steven HutsonLittle Lion presents health, wellness, and mindfulness sessionsTodd Debreceni, author of Special Makeup Effects for Stage and Screen, creates a famous literary character with special effects makeupTell the Truth or Not with Dr. Raye Mitchell and Cindy BrownYour Book Proposal Dos and Don’ts with Paul Levine
Kristie Anne Mah
Dr. Edward Bynum
|BookFest Fall 2021 features an array of authors and literary leaders, including: Elaine Ash; Jim Azevedo; William Bernhardt; Sharon Buchbinder; Whitney Davis; April Eberhardt; Dr. Edward Bynum; M.J. Fievre; Alexia Gordon; Dames Handsome; Deborah Herman; Laurel Anne Hill; Angela Shanté Johnson; David Konrad; CJ Ives Lopez; Susan Mac Nicol; Kristie Anne Mah; John Palisano; Useni Perkins; Al Pessin; Clyve Rose and many, many more.|
Attendees can visit the Speakers Page on The BookFest website to see all the participants and to find out more about each.
|Enter the Pitching Room at The BookFest Adventure|
A Brand New Platform for Writers Ready to Pitch Their Manuscripts
|If you’re ready to pitch your fiction or non-fiction manuscript to agents and publishing decision-makers, then enter the Pitching Room at The BookFest Adventure. It is a database that matches authors with agents, like a dating app, but for manuscripts. Upload your pitch materials so agents and publishing decision-makers can check them out.|
|Plus, there are two special add-ons. You can add that you’d like to be considered for Brave New Writer and/or Critiki-Bar. These live interactive panels happen on Sunday Oct 24th (note the correct date and time) during The BookFest Fall 2021.|
As members of The BookFest Community, you are offered special introductory pricing you may take advantage of right away.
|Take the Stage at The BookFest with Brave New Writer|
|The BookFest introduces Brave New Writer. This interactive agent panel will feature select authors with outstanding pitches to take the virtual stage and pitch before a panel of agents.|
It’s like Shark Tank, but for writers.
To be considered, add on Brave New Writer when you submit your pitch in the Pitching Room.
|Brave New Writer is brought to you in part with our friends at Roadmap Authors. They will present a special pitching virtual training session for selected Brave New Writers prior to the live event.|
|Take a Seat at the Critiki-Bar at The BookFest Adventure|
David L. Robbins, New York Times bestselling author, creative writing professor, founder of James River Writers and The Mighty Pen Project, and co-founder of the Podium Foundation.
Katharine Sands, Literary agent representing fiction, non-fiction and memoir. Agent provocateur of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye, a collection of pitching wisdom from leading literary agents.
Would you like your first page critiqued? Then add on to be considered for Critiki-Bar with David L. Robbins and Katharine Sands.
Critiki-Bar features a two-sided assessment from both the business and the craft side of writing — served with wit, insight, experience, and punch.
Have a seat while this highly regarded literary agent and a New York Times bestselling author discuss — and debate — aspects of creating a skillfully told story and navigating the professional side of publishing by dissecting that oh-so-important first page.
Do you want your first page to be considered for Critiki-Bar? Then add on Critiki-Bar when you submit your pitch in the pitching room.
|Not a writer, but you want to check out the action? Would you like to see the pitches? Find them in The BookFest Pitching Room. And join us for Brave New Writer and Critiki-Bar at The BookFest Adventure.|
|Enter to Win The BookFest Big Bundle of Books|
|Celebrate The BookFest with us and enter for your chance to win ALL these books and prizes.|
There is no other way to enjoy the cool fall weather than curling up with a good book, cozy socks and a warm mug of coffee. Enter to win this HUGE book giveaway with 15 books and prizes. There’s something for every reader, whether you’re a mystery reader or romance lover, fiction or nonfiction fan, looking for books for yourself or your kids, this giveaway includes books for all readers.
|The BookFest is presented by Bookstagrammers and Books That Make You. It is produced by Black Château Enterprises.|
Show your support by subscribing to the Books That Make You YouTube Channel and check out past videos from The BookFest.
You can also join the Facebook Group and follow us on social media.Please feel free to share the links on your website, social media, newsletter, and more. Use hashtags: #TheBookFest #TheBookFestFall2021
Boo!! Are you ready for the scary season?
|I was asked recently who I’d invite to a Halloween party if I could invite anyone in the world that I wanted. I gave it a bit of thought and came up with this list.|
Stephen King – horror writer. I love his writing, his characters and the fact he lives in Maine. This is one place I’ve always wanted to visit in the US so if I invite him to my party, his innate politeness will dictate he feels obliged to invite me to his place. As long as he pays the bill to get me over there of course. His house looks so spooky and I’d love to sit and shoot the breeze with the man.
I’d insist that Stephen brings Pennywise with him. The clown from IT has to be one of the scariest dudes ever. I have two reasons for inviting this rather malevolent entity to my party. One is that he will scare the crap out of the neighbourhood kids and I rather like that idea. As an aside, I think I have this deep rooted desire to feed on people’s fear -a little like old Penny himself. Not to mention the fact that my twenty eight year old daughter has a bit of a phobia about clowns. I once offered a birthday present to her that she almost had a heart attack over. There’s a gent that dresses like a clown and stalks the birthdayee. (It’s a great word, so stop frowning) The guy hides behind lamp posts, jumps out of dark corners, and generally makes their life miserable as they wonder where he’s going to turn up next. My daughter didn’t like that idea for some reason so letting Pennywise smile at her from across a crowded room while gently fondling a carving knife sounds like a great substitute. (Uhhmm, she doesn’t seem to like that idea either. But who cares. It amuses me.)So that’s two party goers taken care of.
My next guest would be the incredibly talented chef Hannibal Lecter. The young Hannibal is pretty yummy, but Mr. Hopkins would be a delight too. Hannibal is a man of great discernment, witty conversation and he’s remarkably intelligent. He’s dapper, well spoken and honestly, any hostess should be privileged to have him. I’d sit him next to someone I really didn’t like and watch the chemistry between them ignite. I hope nothing else develops though, like a torn out liver in a state of being flambéed and served with a nice cranberry coulis.I need a lady guest or two to balance this out.
So I say a warm welcome to Nurse Ratched, she from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’ Unfortunately she won’t be able to say anything back as her vocal cords were irreparably damaged when Randle McMurphy tried to choke her to death. But I’ll put a pen and notepad at the side of her table setting and she can at least have a conversation that way. She promised she would bring her little black bag of drugs with her in case any of the other guests got out of hand.
And of course no Halloween party would be complete without the loveliness of Bellatrix Lestrade, the loveable, psychotic pure bred witch and Death Eater from the Harry Potter series. Her Gothic beauty and her sadistic and violent tendencies, coupled with her narcissistic tendencies would fit in really well with the other dinner guests. She and Hannibal could trade cooking recipes perhaps, while Pennywise could nuzzle her lovely neck with his rather large teeth. Stephen would be sitting observing the character interplay for his next book, and Nurse Ratched would probably be trying to bully and intimidate all the dinner guests. I’m guessing though that this would be quite a feat to achieve…
And of course, there would be me, Hostess Extraordinaire, watching the casual interaction between my dinner guests with a fond smile and a very large gun held in my hand under the table. The weapon would be necessary in case any of the humans decided to turn on me. Of course, I’d need a couple of magic spells, an incantation or two and the Ritual of Chüd. (Google this if you’re not sure what the hell I’m on about and you’ll find out which character it can kill) I would wine and dine these guests, listen avidly to their stories, laugh at their jokes and then set them loose on an unsuspecting public. After all, it is Halloween. People expect to have the bejesus scared out of them and I think my dinner guests will do this admirably. I look forward to seeing you all at the next one on the 31st October 2014. Come along and join the fun. I think you’ll enjoy yourselves. Oh, and leave the children at home. Just in case. You know how IT loves little kiddies.
|If you haven’t already been introduced to this series, may I do so now? These are diverse stories about men from all walks of life and you’re sure to find a character – or two – to fall in love with.|
|THE MEN OF LONDON SERIES|
Book 1 – Love You Senseless is Gideon and Eddie’s story. Set in a swanky restaurant called Galileos, owned by chef Gideon Kent, when the clumsy yet adorable Eddie Tripp joins Gideon’s team, he’s lost. He wants the man, and yet, Gideon’s issues stem deep and he’s such a grump that surely no one could want him. Eddie, however, has his own ideas and he’s a man who knows what he wants. And that’s Gideon.
Book 2 – Sight and Sinners – Draven Samuels knows what grief is and in some ways, it formed his character to make him the suspicious, driven character he is. When he meets a psychic, sexy man called Taylor Abelard again, Draven is determined to give him a wide berth. However, falling in love might not have been on his dance card, but even he can see where things are headed…
Book 3 – Suit Yourself is Leslie and Oliver’s story. Set in the fashion industry, Leslie Scott meets Oliver Brown when delivering a suit for him one day. He is thrilled to discover Oliver is actually Nicky Starr, one of Leslie’s favourite porn stars, who mysteriously disappeared from the scene a few years ago. There was a reason for that; you’ll have to read the book to find out. Think Beauty and the Beast retold…*winks* Leslie’s boss, (aka Laverne Debussy-Smith) is also introduced in this book.
Book 4 – Feat of Clay – you met Draven’s boss, Clay Mortimer in Sight and Sinners. Now it’s time to tell his story. He’s been in a long term relationship with the love of life, Tate Williams. Clay doesn’t advertise his relationship with Tate; it’s secret, like the man himself. Tate was horribly traumatised in a shocking incident when he was a police detective. He’s now withdrawn, damaged and depressed. It takes all Clay’s love and patience to get his man back into the world. Check out the spin-off series, Fetish Alley, featuring Clay and Tate together solving strange mysteries
Book 5 – Cross to Bare Lenny James loves his cross-dressing daytime persona as the ebullient and flamboyant Laverne Debussy-Smith. He is a talented fashion designer and this alter ego works for him at the fashion house. At home, he relaxes and enjoys being his own man. He wears sweats and tee shirts and embraces who he is. When he meets the staid and unimaginative but undeniably gorgeous and sexy Brook Martins, he thinks he’s found his dream man. The sparks fly but unfortunately, Brook doesn’t know about Laverne and Lenny isn’t really sure how to break the news….
Book 6 – Flying Solo We meet Maxwell Lewis first in Suit Yourself. Maxwell is a high flying air steward in every sense of the word. His self-titled nickname is Solo, because ‘ he flies alone and never does the same man twice’. When he meets Gibson Henry, he gets the first inkling that there is perhaps a man he can settle down with. It puts him all out of kilter and that doesn’t make a happy Maxwell. Gibson, however, has other ideas. He likes Maxwell well enough and all the overnight non-stop sex is great but he’s not ready to commit or think about any sort of relationship. It looks like Max has met his match…
Book 7 – Damaged Goods – Jackson Grady may be blind but he knows a gorgeous man when he sees one. When Dare Rowan steals into Jax’s house to return something stolen by his younger brother, they meet and instantaneous sparks fly. It’ll take a long of nurturing and romancing from Dare to allow Jax to let his guard down and finally see how appealing he can be, despite his insecurities.
Book 8 – Hard Climate – all Ryan Bishop wants in life is a loving man in his bed, a little future security, his life as a drag queen and a chance to have a warm and loving relationship. Mango Munro kind of wants that too, but it’s hard to do when you’re travelling around saving the world from itself. As an eco-warrior, Mango’s love of Mother Earth has claims on him and Mango’s fear of commitment isn’t helping either. It’s going to take more than an act of nature to make sure they both get their happy ever after.
Book 9 – Survival Game – Kyle Tripper runs Club Delish, a nightclub sought after by nightclubbers and drag queens alike. He’s a man used to gambling on life and when he meets sexy paramedic Eric Kirby, it’s one roll of the dice he thinks may have luck in it after all. Life, however, is great at throwing curveballs and one roll of the casino wheel the wrong way leaves Ryan vulnerable and not so sure he’s going to see the game finish.
Book 10- Not So Secret Santa – Leslie Scott is a man on a mission and come hell or high water, he’s going to make the best marriage proposal a man ever had. Oliver Scott, Leslie’s intended new fiancé, is used to handling and loving Leslie, but the epic proposal Leslie stages leaves him in tears – both in laughter and in love.
|Put your feet in the sand and jump into the fixer upper on Lovers Lane!|
Jade is a Los Angeles real estate agent who loves everything about her life except her small and dingy apartment. She has a wonderful writer friend Livvie who always manages to bring out the best in her even on her worst days.
Jade’s life takes an interesting turn when she receives a phone call from her cousin, Olivia letting her know that her beloved aunt, Isabel passed away. Jade is now the proud new owner of the house on Lover’s Lane in Santa Cruz where she used to spend her childhood with her aunt Isabel, splashing in the ocean and reading books languidly on the front porch. Traveling to the hardware shop, Jade gets into a fender bender, bringing her face to face with her teenage crush. Will Jade find true love in the arms of Jacob, her young love interest turned sexy, confident police officer? Will she be able to restore the house on Lover’s Lane to its former glory or is it too much for even her?
|Xanran, a dragon shifter, works for a Black Market boss. Can he trust him enough to let himself go?|
A dark plot casts a shadow and Xanran needs to uncover the truth about his lover and about his own desires.
This is a prequel short story for the Trial of Submission series and you can expect steamy M/M and dominance/submission.
I hope you all have a fabulous Halloween and make the most of the trick or treating
Love and Punishment Audio Book Release
Finally the Love and Punishment audiobook has arrived!! I’m sorry it took so long but we had some technical glitches on the way.
David C Dawson is the awesome narrator and let me tell you, he does a grand job of all the accents in this story. You’ll especially love Blair’s creepy serial killer voice.
Unfortunately this audiobook is not on Audible For lots of reasons….I’ve detailed the sites I’ve found so far and the price for the book as it stands
Google Play $14.95 / Kobo $22.50 / Apple $22.50/ Scribd (Subscription only) / Chirp $19.99/ BingeBooks $19.50
I certainly hope you get as much of a thrill out of this book as we did putting it together.
My publisher Boroughs has an exciting new podcast out on June 15
Get involved and listen to a fab podcast featuring me, Sue Brown Andy Gallo and David C Dawson Join us for a listen on June 15th. Check out the full content of the podcast at the link below
These will be taking place each month and will involve audience participation so you may have your chance to appear live in audio! Feel free to contact Boroughs and let us know what you think.
#podcast #MMauthors #listeningpleasure #boroughspublishing
I have a new release out with some fellow authors!
David – M. Tasia
Dumped and depressed, David flees town to work on remodeling a lake house for the summer without telling his best friend, Jacob. But best friends don’t leave each other hanging, and Jacob’s been missing David. Uninvited, but welcome at the lake house, Jacob engineers a hat-trick of surprises that just might change both their futures.
No Bunny Like You – Susan Mac Nicol
Colin’s neighbor is so freakin’ delicious, he positions himself on his balcony to get a glimpse of Dashiell dancing in his room, his sexy body twisting and turning to the music. Which would’ve made Dash saving Colin from nearly drowning in a bunny suit mortifying in the extreme, except Dash seems to have been spying on Colin as much as he’s been checking out Dash.
Homecoming – Emily Mims
The new guy in Clay’s acting class had way more going from him than swoony singing techniques. Justin clocked Clay the minute he walked into the practice room, and knew they were going to be more than friends. Complicated family dynamics almost scuttle their plans to go to Homecoming, but both guys man up and learn whose people will stand by them no matter what.
Hold The Line – Kitty Bardot
A big defensive lineman in a town where high school football is everything, Terry is harboring a secret that’d ostracize him even more than he already is. His best friend Chris is his saving grace in all the ways that matter, and in ways Terry can’t share with anyone. But when push comes to more than a shove, Chris gives Terry the greatest gift of all.
Shake Me Down – Elle Wright
Everett’s senior year in a new school yields more than he could’ve ever expected. The nerdy genius he’s been secretly crushing on asks him out and their chemistry is so combustible, they have to slow things down or they’ll never get to know each other. And Everett wants to know Zach, inside and out, like no one else ever will.
Writer Research ( it’s a load of fun)
All in the name of research…
I thought I’d write a bit about the research that is done when an author (well, most of us) write a book. People may think writing romance is easy. Huh. Writing isn’t that easy, let alone in a specific genre. Because behind the love scenes and the relationship story, there’s a shit ton of research that goes into my books. My characters aren’t one dimensional and have careers and lives outside of their romantic life. And to make them believable, you have to immerse yourself in their lives and find out what makes them tick.
To give you an idea of what we go through, here are some of the books I’ve written and the type of research I’ve done to make sure the story is the best one I can write.
Worth Keeping was written with the main MC’s living in a lighthouse. It made sense that I needed to see inside an actual structure so I had an idea what I was describing when I write about their lives between the round walls. I approached a charity called Trinity House who manage the UK’s lighthouses around the nation. They kindly let me go in to the Cromer Lighthouse in Norfolk with a maintenance crew (pictured) to do a tour. It was an epic experience.
Then of course for Living On Air, I lived with a circus for a while. It was a LOAD of fun and very educational. I was lucky to find that Santus Circus was willing to let me stay with them and live in one of their caravans. I had access to the ring, the performer’s area and backstage. They were extremely hospitable and I owe them a huge debt of thanks. The caravan was small, but cosy, but it had no running water and the toilet didn’t flush properly. We snuck out one night after dark, went home, slept in a proper bed, had a shower, then snuck back into the circus at the crack of dawn so no one knew we were missing….
For this story, I also purchased a cilice similar to the one Cary uses to inflict his self-harm. I wanted to find out what it felt and looked like as an implement. It’s rather painful. I still have it 😊
You can read more about this experience here https://divinemagazine.biz/circus-shenanigans-life-and-me/
When writing Damaged Goods, I needed to understand what it was like to be blind. So to I would blindfold myself at the dining room table, when I was writing, to get the feel of what it was like not being able to read the keys and instead have to use voice software to type out the words I wanted. It was an interesting and unsuccessful experiment. I realised the software doesn’t always recognise the words I was saying … plus the fact my family came home one time to me playing blind and talking to myself and I didn’t realise they were watching 😊
My wonderful blind friend Lynsey travelled down from the North for the weekend, to bring down the tools of her trade. Braille, a pair of glasses with the lenses blacked out apart from one small pinprick of light, which replicates her actual sight, and a white stick. She used her experience of waking up one day unable to see to cajole me about the garden wearing the glasses and made me go up and down stairs with the cane. It’s a sobering experience to lose one of the senses we are so reliant on. It gave me a good feel for Jax in the story and how he coped each day.
I’ve also gone on a day Penguin Zookeeper for a Day pass at Colchester Zoo to give me an idea of what that’s like. This was in relation to my recent release, called Rubbing One Out which is a sassy, supernatural weaving of a grumpy zoo keeper meeting a being he didn’t think truly existed. But when he does, hoo boy. Ben doesn’t know what’s hit him when Dae literally appears in his world. Dae is Leslie Tiberius Scott and Birdy Dobbs on steroids. Oh, and there are a load of mis-behaving penguins in this book
This little clip should make you smile…. CUTE PENGUIN FAILS