The Third Oddities Book

So I’m writing, not as quickly as I’d like to be writing, but nevertheless making progress on my books in progress. I’m at the halfway point of the 3rd Oddities book now, and I have a few options in the coming chapters of the characters from previous books I could bring in.

I’m debating on who would be best to help Derwin and Elliot in their latest endeavor, and therefore, I’m putting up a poll for readers. Is there a particular character you’d like to see return in Book 3? This book will focus on that shadow organization mentioned in Book One, and the larger threat to Oddities in Nis.

I’d love to hear some feedback. Thanks! And yes, the picture is what I imagine Lacey to look like. I haven’t found pictures for the others yet.

 

 

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Cover Love and an Excerpt Available

There was a cover reveal last month, but there wasn’t a single comment on the post, and I feel like L.C. Chase deserves a lot more credit for the gorgeous cover she created for Book 2 of the Oddities series, Fraud Twice Felt.

So I’m featuring it on my blog here, along with a link to the excerpt that is now available on the book’s page over on Riptide.

Featuring prominently on the cover is rentboy turned private investigator, Elliot Leed:

FraudTwiceFelt_500x750

Read the first four chapters here–click the “Excerpt” tab

The release date is next month, May 29. I don’t have the final files yet, but if you’re a blogger and you’re interested in getting a review copy to read and review, comment here and I’ll make sure to send one. I’m busy writing guest posts for the promotional tour but I don’t know if they’ve asked for sign-ups yet.

Enjoy!

Blurb:

Three weeks after solving his old boyfriend’s murder, bounty hunter Derwin Bryant is trying to let go of the past and embrace his new life with Elliot Leed, a former rentboy and fellow Oddity. Elliot, meanwhile, is trying to adjust to working at Bob’s Bail Bonds and having a real relationship despite his strange power of Object Reading. Hanging over the couple is the fear that Roy Yoshiro, notorious gang lord, will make good on his threats to claim Elliot. If that happens, not even Derwin’s superhuman strength will be enough to protect the man he loves.

Their concerns are overshadowed when Derwin’s friend asks for help finding her missing son. It’s not long before the case takes Derwin and Elliot back to the crime-ridden underbelly of the city and straight into Yoshiro’s clutches. Two gangs are vying for power, and Derwin and Elliot get caught in the middle of their very public fight.

Derwin and Elliot must find a way to thwart both gangs’ plans and escape alive. This time, one misstep could spell disaster for all the inhabitants of Nis.

Done!! Another book turned in.

At last!  Book Two of the Oddities Series, Fraud Twice Felt, is written, has undergone the initial edits, and is off to the publisher. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the first book, Murder Once Seen, which will be on December 12. I have no idea when the second book will come out, but I’m thinking maybe some time next summer, if edits go well.

Now that Book Two is out of the way, I’ll be working on the outline for the third book, A Conspiracy Uncovered. I created a document to organize all my notes about the minor characters in the series, the world, and plot notes. Book Three will delve more into the larger plot arc spanning the entire series, but I have to be careful not to give too much away too soon. That’s always the tricky thing with mysteries. I’m going to try and write this book as quickly as possible, because I ended Book Two with a lead-in. (Not exactly a cliffhanger, but definitely a hook.)

If I’m really inspired (and Halloween tends to be a very inspirational time for me), maybe I’ll write a Derwin/Elliot drabble to post here on my blog. I’m still really loving these boys. (For more about them, see my post about Uke/Seme). Elliot in particular has really come into his own in Book Two, and I’m excited about his journey for Book Three.

In October I’ll also be making some changes to the weretiger novel that I finished months back, after a request for some developmental edits.

It’s a touch early since I’ll still be making words today, but as of now, this is where the various WIPs stand:

Current WIPs:

(1. Fraud Twice Felt [The Oddities Book 2, paranormal M/M suspense], finished at 97,470 words, edited and turned in to publisher.)–done

2. Forest of Thorns and Claws (weretiger M/M). Received the notes back from the publisher, will work on developmental edits in October.

3. Fae Fortunes (YA M/M paranormal), currently at 46,852 words, estimated 65k.

4. Deena and the Professor (Trudy Judd, BDSM romance), Seven out of 10 parts written, first 7 parts published, currently at 4442 words on Part 8 (estimated to be 9k).

5. Fantasy novel currently at 82,821 words, total will be 110k. Right now this one is the lowest of my priorities.

elliot_new-copy

 

The Romance Arc

I’m writing the almost final chapter of my 2nd Oddites book (other than a short epilogue), which also happens to be the final love scene. I never write sex just for sex’s sake–I like my sex scenes to also move the plot along, especially the romance plot. Things that happen during intimacy often mirror what’s happening in other parts of one’s life (things like control or loss of control, denial or acceptance, trust or distrust). Even outside of BDSM, there’s also something quite powerful about the act of topping. Or bottoming.

When I was writing my first mmromance full length novel, I didn’t really understand the romance arc. Oh, I knew that my two leads had to have flaws that had prevented them from falling in love and all that. I just didn’t entirely get how their romance arc beats were supposed to work and intertwine with the mystery/suspense plot. I have to give thanks to my editors at Riptide for helping me develop that in my first book. I still didn’t truly understand it until I read Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes. She put it all into very simple terms (with lots of fun 80’s music references).

Basically it was summed up for me in one line. “Love conquers all.” The heart of the romance arc is that love finds a way to overcome whatever external obstacles there are between the two characters, but more importantly also overcomes whatever internal barriers there may be. Understanding that, I’m getting a whole new perspective of my characters and their relationship. I wrote an entire chapter over the weekend that I never expected to write, which was mostly about them, their hopes and fears, and dealing with the emotional aftermath from the climax scene. I’m really happy with it.

Anyways, with each new book, I’m learning something new, and improving all the time.

Just about to hit 98,000 words. Less than 3000 words to go to finish this thing.

Diversity …

I read a blog post recently from a fan of Romance (heterosexual) that got me thinking. In the post the reader complained about not being able to find much diversity in Romance; to her, it seemed like every book on Amazon these days features a while couple, typically with the guy being a billionaire, bear shifter, or bad boy. Or all three.

If you look for them, there are romances out there with non-white characters, whether you’re looking at traditional, contemporary heterosexual romances, or LGBT. Still, the blogger is correct; there are vastly more books out there with white protagonists.

I’m so excited that at least one thing has been changing over the last ten years. So many new gay, lesbian, and trans romances are now out there, and they’re becoming more and more popular. Even mainstream–I wouldn’t be surprised if a very successful gay romance is picked up to become a movie in coming years. As a bisexual, this makes me feel validated as a person, to know that the rainbow is really out there and out of the closet.

On the other hand, I too would love to see more diversity in characters. I feel a little ashamed, sometimes, being yet another white writer, even when I’m writing main characters of other ethnicities. For example, in my almost finished m/m weretiger novel, one character is a British-born doctor who has lived most of his life in Southeast Asia, while his love interest is Indonesian, originally from Bali but living in Sumatra.

In my Oddities books I’m trying to bring in a lot of Asian influences, because having been to the Northwest Pacific, I know how big the cultural influences are there. I feel pretty good about having Asian characters because my partner is Japanese American, and I can always ask her or observe her and her family for reference. In my other name I’ve written black and Hispanic protagonists. I’m planning on having the Oddities books 4 through 6 with a main character who is Hispanic as well. Since I live in Arizona, again this is a culture I feel familiar with, even if I’m not a member of this minority.

So what do readers think, I wonder? I’m always excited to find writers who are of diverse ethnicities, because there needs to be diversity both in book characters AND in writers. I keep meaning to pick up an Octavia Butler book, for example. I think all writers, regardless of their own backgrounds, should try to stretch and reach for diversity. You can always talk to people of the community you want to write about, to find out what is real, or at least what feels true to them.

I’m off to read Murder and Mayhem. Oh yeah, and the next Scorpion book by Voinov.

WIP Update from January

January was a crazy month; it started with the holidays, and then I also was one of the main volunteers at a convention on one of the weekends, so that kept me busy. I also had a hard time getting started in things in January, but I’m feeling more in the flow now. I finished the developmental edits for Book 1 of the Oddities series. The book has a shiny new title:  Murder First Seen. I’m currently working with the art director on the cover–very exciting!

Meanwhile, Book 2 is coming along nicely. The other WIPs?  They’re moving more slowly, as I put most of my focus into the Oddities books. For February, my main goal is to finish the weretiger novel. The editors at Riptide have pleaded with me to see it, so I’ll probably let them take a look. I was going to self-publish it, but I’m realizing that I put a lot of research into it, so it would be nice to have some extra eyes on it. I’ve already got the cover. While writing one of the final scenes last week, I had to go back to my research and learn all about the Batak culture in Indonesia, including their ceremonial dress. I do love research.

Current WIPS:

1. Forest of Thorns and Claws (weretiger M/M), now at 57,028 words, and I’m writing the last or almost last chapter. Estimated total will be just over 60k.

2. Fraud Twice Felt (The Oddities Book 2, paranormal M/M suspense), now at 31,168 words, estimated to be about 90k. Due to publisher by October 1.

3. Fae Fortunes (YA M/M paranormal), currently at 36,587, estimated 65k.

4. Deena and the Professor (Trudy Judd, BDSM romance), Five out of 10 parts written, first 3 parts published, currently at 2077 words on Part 6 (estimated to be 8k).

5. Fantasy novel currently at 78,457 words, total will be 110k.

Writing Goals for 2016

I’m pulling over a post I wrote in my other pen name’s blog one year ago, with my 2015 goals. I’ve had a shift in my writing over the past two years, and I’ve gone from writing a lot of fantasy and science fiction under one pen name to now writing mostly gay romance under this name. With the signing of a two book contract with Riptide, I’m going to continue to concentrate on writing gay romance this year.

So here’s what I said a year ago:

In 2011 I probably wrote about 50,000 words or so. Much of that was in fanfiction.

In 2012, I wrote about 78,000. Most of this was in short stories and my first fantasy novel, now published.

In 2013, I wrote 96,000 words.

And in 2014, I wrote 146,773 words of NEW writing, for books, novellas, and short stories. That word count does not include edits, blog entries, or anything else. It’s my best year ever.  My goal was 125,000. (Note–much of this was the writing of Book One of the Oddities series, coming out this year!)

So what’s my goal for 2015?  I think I can make 150,000 words. I find that the more I write, the easier it is to write more. Writing creatively is like running–it uses “muscles” which must be trained and honed to be able to produce more. I started with very modest daily goals, and now I’m writing between 750 to 1000 words per day. I’m going to make it a goal in 2015 to have as many 1000 word days as possible.

We’ll see what else 2015 brings.

So here’s what 2015 actually brought. I wrote 200,036 words of new material–although I did include words for new scenes added to the first Oddities book when I did a Revise and Resubmit back in July. So I WAY blew past my 2015 goal!  I never thought I’d get so many new words written in a year, not while working full time and taking care of two dependents, one of them with health issues. So I’m thrilled!

I’ll be honest; I don’t know if I can do it again. But I’m going to try. My goal for 2016 is to write 185,000 words. Why is it lower that what I actually wrote in 2015? Because my work situation has changed again, and I’m not writing as much as I was for much of last year. Maybe I’ll surprise myself again. We’ll see.

My goals this year are to submit edits and promote the publication of Book One of the Oddities series, finish and submit Book Two of the Oddities series (for a 2017 release), finish and self-publish my mm weretiger novel, finish and submit my YA mm novel, finish and self-publish my 3rd pen name erotica serial romance, and finish and possibly publish that stupid 3rd fantasy novel that is taking forever to write. If I can get all that done, I’ll be a happy camper.

Last, here’s my roundup from December on my writing:

Current WIPS:

1. Forest of Thorns and Claws (weretiger M/M), currently at 53,326 words, and I’m past the main climax, moving into the wrap-up. I figure I have two and a half chapters to go.  Final estimated to be about 60k.

2. Fraud and Extortion (The Oddities Book 2, paranormal M/M suspense), currently at 23,741, estimated to be about 90k. Due to publisher by October 1.

3. Fae Fortunes (YA M/M paranormal), currently at 36,313, estimated 65k.

4. Deena and the Professor (Trudy Judd, BDSM romance), Five out of 10 parts written, first 3 parts either published or submitted for pre-order, currently at 486 words on Part 6 (estimated to be 8k).

5. Fantasy novel currently at 78,354 words, total will be 110k.

If I total up the words needed to finish all these current WIPS, it comes to about 175k. So there’s my year, basically.