Tonight’s Dinner: A quickie. Too hot to be in the kitchen. Sliced steak and onions, braised cauliflower and mashed potatoes.
I do so adore this boy.
This was asked in a very non-judgmental way—it really came from curiosity so I thought I’d answer it here as well.
The question was: Why do I pimp out authors that are probably in direct competition with my own books?
Now on the surface of this question, it does seem like a self-defeating purpose. We as authors are always competing for someone’s dollar.
True. Very true.
But ah, as a reader… as a writer… NOT the author… I want to share the glory of another writer.
We have a small bucket here. There are a whole fuckton of us in this bucket and sometimes it’s hard to be heard over the chatter. And there are incredible books out there. Fantastic writers. And damn it, if I find one, I want you to read it.
Because when it all comes down to it, isn’t that why we all read? To glory in the extravagance of a writer’s imagination?
So yeah, I pimp first for that reason. Because these are books and experiences I want to share.
Secondly, I have met or interacted with a lot of these writers. They are lovely people. And we are one voice in the ONE thing that binds us together—no matter how we write or the style we write it in—that everyone should be able to love whom they want to.
So we present them in tears and giggles, in tantrums and blood and sometimes in small little whispers of I love you in the fiercest of wind storms or shouted from the highest mountains so even God is deafened by the raucous.
We shout with our words. As best we can. As in the way we feel can touch your heart. Or your soul. To make you say awww or even to curse at us in the fiercest of ways.
So yeah, that’s why I pimp other authors. That’s why I share the books I love. That’s why I cackle with glee or exhort someone to write faster.
Because damn it, I want to read it too.
Interview with the inestimable Josh Lanyon
I want to start this off with a full disclosure. I’ve been stalking Josh Lanyon since Fatal Shadows came out in paperback way back when. I’ll have to go dig up the book to remember its original cover but needless to say, it was a long haul waiting for the next Adrien book.
But no, I’m not bitter. Instead, I had the delightful chance to see an author hone his craft and produce an astonishing body of work. Bit by bit. But marvelously so.
I have my favourites. Everyone does. And to this list, I am going to have to add The Haunted Heart, Josh’s latest release. I spent last night reading it and probably will reread it because really, it was that good. Luckily, I nudged Josh for a chance to get an interview with him and pimp out his latest endeavor.
So please, welcome Josh Lanyon!
Aw. Rhys, you were one of the first friends I made online. You’ve always been so loyal and supportive — and you really have been here since the beginning. I just have to mention that.
First off, thank you for going along with this interview! I know time is precious and I really appreciate it. So let’s get started!
You recently came off of a self-imposed hiatus, can you share the obstacles you’ve encountered getting back into the groove of writing and how hard was it to not feel like you should be writing?
So basically I completely burned out and went crashing down in flames. I couldn’t think about writing without experiencing significant anxiety. By which I mean, I still loved coming up with stories and plotting them out, but every time I tried to begin the actual writing, I’d feel sick. Literally sick. On the bright side, I accepted that I was burned out and I knew the only way to get over it was to give up the idea of trying to write. That took care of much of the guilt. And I even eventually managed a couple of short stories. But then came January and it was time to get back to work for real. I realized two things.
First, I had not contracted with any publisher for this year, so I had no actual deadlines and no one depending on me to complete a project. Secondly, I was no longer just a writer, I was running a publishing empire. I had audio books, print books, translations, reverting rights, etc. to deal with in addition to writing new stories.
And, as much as I hate to admit it, there was a certain amount of insecurity. I’d been gone a year and things were changing in the genre. New writers were flooding in every week. I couldn’t help wonder if there was still room for me!
I think all those things combined slowed my usual creative process, which is why it’s taken me until now to get back up to speed.
You’ve done some releases since coming off of hiatus and The Haunted Heart: Winter marks a departure of sorts for you in the construct of a novella series—the seasonal references. Could you explain your thought process behind why you chose to break the story arc in this way and how does it feel different than constructing a full-length novel?
My poor readers. The only thing anyone really wants from me now is the next Dangerous Ground book and the third Holmes & Moriarity — and those are the books I most want to write too. But somehow the ideas coming to me are for stories like Haunted Heart!
When I first conceived the idea for the Haunted Heart series, I figured on four themed short stories or maybe novelettes — sort of like the Petit Mort stories I did with Jordan Castillo Price. They were going to be funny and spooky quick reads. But the minute I started writing I knew there was more, a lot more to the larger story than I’d realized — and that I was enjoying the characters and their relationship too much to rush through it. So “Winter” turned out to be a short novel. And for all I know that will be true of the next three stories as well. I know Spring has a lot packed into it.
Your characters in THH: Winter are quite vividly drawn. Flynn, for instance, is on the edge of panic in a few scenes and Kirk provides a solid anchor in many ways, although he does have a few cracks of his own. When creating this series, were you starting with a clear thought of the characters in mind? Or did you begin with a solid plot and moulded the characters along the way?
I had the idea of a haunted museum first. I liked the idea of someone inheriting a collection of strange objects, some haunted, some not, but all of them with their own story. At the same time (this is probably going to sound odd) I was thinking a lot about despair and about how the way through any tragedy is really simply to hold on and keep moving long enough to get past the worst of the pain. But at the mouth of the tunnel, you can’t see that. No one can. And that’s when the idea of Flynn began to take shape. Someone who is simply counting the days until he can end his pain. But he’s forced to take part in life again, whether he wants to or not, and the process of living through the year he’s agreed to wait out, changes him. Maybe saves him.
And then Kirk came to me. Someone who had seen so many terrible things, maybe done terrible things, but had survived and found a modicum of peace. But his peace has come at the price of shutting people out. And then here comes Flynn who is essentially un-shut-outable.
I often joke about the amount of “research” I end up doing for a book but many readers probably don’t realize the extent of what’s involved in writing something based on historical items or eras. Thank you for reminding me about the word ormolu. I will be using it in Words/Friends. Since Flynn is an antiquities expert—and much of the story revolves around the items in his deceased uncle’s museum inventory—your research had to have been extensive at one point. How in depth do you go for researching a piece and does it lead to ideas for your constructing the story?
Research is always a pleasure and a pain. It’s so easy to lose days and days looking stuff up! There were a number of challenges here — I guess there always are. I actually traveled to Connecticut to check out Chester and Essex and a some of the other locations. I did a lot of research on Creole culture and race relations in the South. Some things, ghosts and antiques, are stuff I’ve researched a lot for other works, so I feel on comfortable ground there. But you’re right. The very process of research always seems to generate new ideas or plot twists. For example, Ines started out French, but I was reading about the Civil War which then led to reading about slavery and then Creole culture and so on and so forth and pretty soon I had an entirely different picture of Ines and her story.
We’ve talked about historical and the eras we’d like to see written for the M/M genre. What historical era would you like to tackle or read about? And will The Haunted Heart series be touching on a wide variety of eras?
As far as M/M goes, I’ve seen little about the Civil War. And as far as romance in general, I’ve seen almost nothing about the American Revolution or the war of 1812 or the Spanish American War. Isn’t it so typical of writers to all pile onto the same raft and sail it until it sinks?
For the Haunted Heart series, well, Spring deals with the heyday of Egyptology. Autumn is probably set in the early 1900s, though that one is tricky, so I’m still thinking it through. Not sure about Summer yet. Creepy haunted dolls are sort of perennial, aren’t they? 😉
To shift gears a little, Kirk, Flynn’s stoic tenant and go-to stalwart comrade in THH:Winter, is a sharp contrast to Flynn. Despite the book being in Flynn’s POV, Kirk comes off as a very strong character and holds his own. Can you share a little bit about how you envisioned Kirk at the conception of the book and how he changed along the way, if any?
Kirk is a survivor. He can be tough and ruthless, but he’s also sensitive — he’s a playwright! — and kind-hearted. He’s seen things no one should have to see, and done things that no one should have to do. The interesting thing about Kirk is that Kirk has never really been in love. Kirk is the one who always walks away. He doesn’t even really believe in love. Or he thinks he doesn’t. So Flynn’s experience is completely alien to him, even baffling.
What I like in their relationship is even though Kirk does NOT want to get involved, he sees immediately that Flynn is going under, and it’s his nature, it’s ingrained in him to haul Flynn out of that whirlpool. He can’t help himself.
These next three questions come from Lisa, my partner in crime and coffee. THH:Winter is a set number of four works, if I recall correctly *grins*. When you say goodbye to a series and its characters, are you ever tempted years later to revisit them and see where they are now?
Well, Lisa, this is why we have Christmas codas! J
Have you ever written an entire book and then decided the plot wasn’t such a good idea after all? What tells you a book isn’t working?
Oh sure. Blood Red Butterfly is a perfect example. I knew halfway through it wasn’t going to fly. I was writing with my head, experimenting with tropes and genre, and I hit the halfway point and knew it was all based on a faulty premise. But what can you do? I had already committed. It was still an interesting experiment, and there are plenty of readers who love that story. I don’t regret pushing myself to trying something new.
The weird thing about writing is sometimes a story takes off and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, like in the case of BRB, you know exactly where it started to go awry. But sometimes the story just never sprouts wings. It isn’t that there’s anything particularly wrong with it, but there’s nothing magical about it either. And this isn’t something you can tell ahead of time. It happens (or doesn’t) during the course of writing.
It’s hard to answer that because basically I’m a story jukebox. I am either thinking of stories or working out stories. That’s 90% of my thinking, right there. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what I think about the other ten percent of the time.
And last question, is there anything you’d like to share with your readers? Upcoming releases? Gardening tips? Or better yet, what can we expect from you in the coming year!
Don’t over water. Let’s see. Upcoming releases. I want to reassure readers that I am going to do that next Dangerous Ground book AND the third Holmes & Moriarity. And a couple of short stories. As well as a Christmas surprise from the Adrien English franchise if humanly possible.
Next year I’ve signed with Carina Press to do the sequel to Fair Game as well as a stand alone romantic suspense novel called Stranger on the Shore. And I’d like to do the follow ups to Mummy Dearest and This Rough Magic, but I’m trying not to duplicate my old bad habits that led to burn out.
Thank you again for sitting down to answer these questions and really, the book was lovely! I so thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what Flynn gets up to next!
Thank you very much, Rhys. As always, it’s a pleasure!
Follow Josh at his blog!
The Haunted Heart series. Four seasons. Four ghosts. Two hearts.
Still grieving over the sudden death of his lover, antiques dealer Flynn Ambrose moves to the ramshackle old house on Pitch Pine Lane to catalog and sell the large inventory of arcane and oddball items that once filled his late uncle’s mysterious museum.
But not all the items are that easy to catalog. Or get rid of…
Since Alan died, Flynn isn’t eating, isn’t sleeping, and isn’t spending a lot of time looking in mirrors. But maybe he should pay a little more attention. Because something in that 18th Century mirror is looking at him.
Megan W (Freakgrly at aol dot com)
LE Franks will email you about the win! Congrats again and thank you all who entered!
I’d like to welcome Sam Kadence to our little corner of the world. Please say hey and enter to win a Giveaway of The Right Track! Leave a comment below and possibly win a free ebook of Sam’s latest work!
Contest ends August 30, 2013 at 8 pm PST.
The Parenting Track By Sam Kadence
As adults we all look back at our childhood and a lot of us have good memories. The rest of us wonder how the heck we got through it alive. One of the most vivid memories of my childhood isn’t a good one. It was a weekend and despite having the poodle hair my mother insisted I get, I felt pretty good. I said to her, “I feel pretty today.” Must have been fifteen or sixteen at the time. She laughed at me and said, “Yeah, right.” Twenty years later I still remember that moment.
Was that the beginning? No, it was a snapshot. How many of us vow we won’t be like our parents when we grow up? Problem is those early years are what shape us the most.
I’ve recently written two pieces that have very accepting parents:Double Exposure and On the Right Track.
Double Exposure is really an idealistic story. Something that could possibly happen, but likely not yet. Maybe ten years from now as the world is still reeling from the acceptance of LGBT individuals in general. Throw in something like gender fluidity and you’ve got most everyone stumped.
On the Right Track, however—the parents at least—are based on a true story. A friend came out to his parents the very same way, over breakfast, with little to no angst. See, they knew, or at least suspected for a while.
The current generation of young people have a different set of parents than my generation. A more observant, yet less focused set of parents. Today’s parents believe in two types of parenting: Over-parenting, which is what my sister does and her kids have separation issues. And Hands-Off parenting, which means as long as their kids aren’t in trouble they pay no attention to them at all.
We lived through the end of the Cold War, the Gulf War and the Recession. Our parents’ generation might have had a World War or two, some even the Depression or parents from the Depression area that makes them more stubborn to change. See they found out during those wars and hard times that change is a bad thing. Food was scarce, getting from one place to another wasn’t as easy, and money was made mostly by the men in the family (if you weren’t married you were in trouble).
My own mother—to this day—has a basement full of canned food, two large stand freezers full of frozen goods, and two refrigerators. Now it’s just her and my dad in the house. One of my sisters or I go through those supplies every few months to get rid of all the expired stuff. But as kids we didn’t get allowances, and anything we wanted we bought ourselves, even school clothes and supplies. Even with all that food in the house we had three meals and no snacks. And God forbid you didn’t eat the nasty Hamburger Helper mom put down. You’d sit there for hours starving and not get anything else.
Now compare that with my sister and her kids. She buys for a week at a time. At the end of the week the fridge and the cupboard is bare. They’ve never have to scrape for food and take out is only a call away. The kids get whatever they want. Don’t like dinner, my sister makes them something else so they will eat. She still lives paycheck to paycheck. Now it’s our kids who have no concept of money, limits, or control. All of them are obese, never play outside, and have fights over who gets to play on the internet.
We’re a busy generation, I get that. People raise their kids on TV and iPad games. The kids have it easy. And they want to be like us.Like us. Yeah that’s different, right?
They want to be connected, linked-in, always in the know because the internet is at their fingertips and the internet never lies. Right? Reminds of a commercial with a woman who is talking about how the guy she met on the internet is a French model and he’s obviously not. Remember that one?
The problem is we’ve spent so much time doing things for our kids (because our parents didn’t) that they now expect us to keep doing those things. They don’t want to go to college, or get a job, or even get out of the computer chair. So what we have on our hands—as a generation who did not want to be like our parents (strict and unappreciative)—we have unappreciative and lazy kids who think they know it all. While we as the parents scratch our heads going, huh, how did that happen?
In On the Right Track, Adam’s parents are pretty strict. No internet for him, no Facebook, etc. But he’s confident in himself, applies himself in school and doesn’t waste his days inside sitting in front of a screen. I think Adam is actually a bit more fairytale-like in this story than his parents are. Sure there are kids out there like him, far fewer than ten years ago. But he battles something else, lack of focus. He has no idea where he wants to go in life and while his parents are supportive, they aren’t exactly helping him figure that out, and aren’t pushing him toward standing on his own. They practice more of the “hands-off” style we see a lot of nowadays. As long as he brings home good grades, stays out of trouble, and follows their rules, they leave him alone.
It’s not until Ru steps into his life that he wakes up and realizes, hey, I’ve got to do something with my life, and I only have a year to figure out where to start. Ru is a self-made business man at the age of 17. He knows what he wants and is fighting to get there. He’s had no parents for years and so has had the harsh reality of the world on his shoulders for some time.
So it makes you wonder just who really is on top. Our parents or us? How different did we really end up?
And now, a bit of On the Right Track
Author: Sam Kadence
Genre: YA M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 184 pages (ebook and print)
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: August 15, 2013
Ryunoski “Ru” Nakimura knows all about the trappings of fame. Expelled from a boy band for coming out as gay, he still wants to continue his career in music. Too bad his ex finds nothing better to do than exploit their relationship in the press, so Ru leaves California behind to lie low in Minnesota for a while.
Adam Corbin attends a Minnesota high school and wants to coast through as a typical student. He’s friends with an openly gay student, Bas Axelrod, but while Adam plays football, he also stays away from much socializing. Blending in and not outing himself has been easy because he’s never really been seriously interested in any of the guys he’s encountered.
When Adam meets Ru in a library, Adam begins to think he’s found that special young man who might make it worthwhile to just be himself. And for Ru, Adam looks like someone he might trade his fame for, if they could be together. Ru and Adam will both come to realize that courage and love must go hand in hand if they are to have a future.
And now, a snippet from On the Right Track Continue reading “Welcome Sam Kadence to Rhys’ Dirt and Sin!”
End of the voting for finals will happen shortly. I’ll post that link too! WOOOOOOT
It’s obvious that a woman with the mind of a serial killer and the heart of a kitten in pink mittens would be complicated and incredibly entertaining. Rhys Ford is that, to be sure – but she’s also incredibly generous with her time and encouragement. As a new author I’m just grateful for theoccasional sneak peek she gives me into the very seductive world of her characters (I’m totally team Jae-Min, btw). So I’m doubly privileged that she’s invited me to post a little bit about the novel I co-wrote with Sara York, Prodigal Wolf, released last week by MLR Press.
Prodigal Wolf is the first book in a three book story arc that follows wolf shifter Carlo Montefiore back home to South Carolina from a self-described banishment to one of the finest institutions of higher learning on the west coast. He’s got issues, complaints (valid and otherwise) and he just wants to be left alone. Readers be prepared, Book one in the Wolves & Waves series does not follow formula. There is no easy HEA for Carlo, he’ll have to work at it and this book takes place over three days. Not so much time for peace love and understanding, but enough time to drop a Carlo sized rock into the peaceful pond that is the Montefiore wolf pack and watch the splash. No one is escaping with dry feet here and that’s the fun. –LE
Carlo has a problem, after years away he’s finally returned to his South Carolina roots—but instead of peace and quiet all he’s found are nosy wolves, romancing twinks, an out of control roommate threatening to expose them all, and a demanding Alpha who just won’t go away.
All his Alpha wants is to show Carlo who he really is, and where he belongs. But Carlo Montefiore is a man fighting his instincts, memories, and responsibilities. His beachside home was supposed to provide sanctuary, but pack politics, unruly roommates, and human neighbors at risk of discovering that shifters exist, are making life anything but peaceful. Twinks Kevin and Grady have their own problems. Two college freshmen are no match for a couple of hot wolves who like to play chase. If they don’t stop playing games they’ll miss the biggest thing to happen in their young lives—love.
ENTER A COMMENT BELOW TO ENTER A CHANCE TO WIN A FREE EBOOK OF PRODIGAL WOLF! CONTEST ENDS AUG 28 at 8 AM PST
And now, an excerpt from Prodigal Wolf: Book One of Wolves and Waves
by LE Franks & Sara York