International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

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Today, May 17th, is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and many of your favorite M/M authors will be celebrating by sharing awareness and words of support and love at the Hop Against Homophobia And Transphobia blogspot. This day was created to coordinate efforts to aid in the awareness of LGBT rights and events worldwide. To participate in today’s event, I’d like to share how I started my passion.

I’m a reader, a voracious reader that can sometimes devour several books in a week. My love for reading started when I was a child but it didn’t become my passion until high school when I was introduced to a book that would change my view of the world: The Scarlet Letter. It was in the pages of this novel that I learned about ostracism, the world was no longer a safe place for everyone, and it. Blew. My. Mind.

Other classics followed this one and occasionally, I read classics to ‘cleanse my pallet’, even earning a minor in Literature to learn more. I didn’t read my first romance until about ten years ago and even more doors opened for me. Prior to that book, I would poke fun of women (I didn’t know men were reading them, too!) who would read this type of literature. I didn’t understand the need for fantasization or a happy ending.

Then, my boss handed me a copy of a M/M romance novel that she had purchased on accident. She said that it was something that I would enjoy…and truer words were never spoken. I consumed that book and read it several times. Then, I read everything else ever written by the same author, followed by a never ending stream of M/M romance novels. I could never get enough. I still can’t!

During this time, I had started my own novel and was in a rut. A writer’s block that was painful because I didn’t like my main character. In an epiphany, I changed my character from a female to a male and the writing flowed like a raging river. Dialogue flowed, the plot blossomed, and I fell in love with my men. I found out later that writing is the easiest part about creating a novel.

It’s important to me that I write in this genre. I have a political family and we’re involved in LGBTQ rights and activities because we want to and not because we have to. (Okay, we have to because equal social rights is fundamental.) It tears my heart when I hear of families ripped apart because of differences and here’s why those happy endings are so special to me. There’s enough hate and anger in the world and our children, friends, families…should never be pushed away because of fear.

I’d like to offer a giveaway of my eBook to those who participate and comment below. A winner will be selected by random.org on the 28th to allow everyone a chance or you can pick up your own copy of Athan’s Kiss. Just return back on the 28th to see if you’ve won. Enjoy the blog hop and end every day with a kiss.

Update (5/28): Ray has been randomly selected as the winner to receive my ebook Athan’s Kiss for participation in the HAHAT blog hop. Thanks to everyone for hopping for awareness and I hope to see you again. Much love!

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Renewed Inspiration

The concept for my first novel came to me when I was a teenager and it took many years of this story tumbling around in my mind before I put words to paper. Even then, my main character was a woman and as I continued to write the story it became more wonderful by the page and she remained boring. She never spoke to me and so she didn’t feel real. We were disconnected and I put the manuscript aside for too many months.

Then, something amazing happened, an epiphany that would change everything. My main heroine became the story’s hero. Yes, it was a romance, and yes her love interest remained a man. I had a Dickens of a time changing all the pronouns and conversations to be sure that I didn’t lose any flow within the story. And you know what happened? I fell in love. Evander spoke to me and we connected instantly. I became a part of his world and he has been a part of mine ever since.

I encourage you to pick up your stalled writing and change your point of view. Challenge the piece and mold it into something that you love. As you learn new lessons in life and love, perhaps your viewpoints have changed – add these to your manuscript, enhance your poetry, pick up that short story and reword it with wiser eyes and an open mind. Reach out and grab those words, shake off the dust, and OWN it

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From concept to reality

I like to start with a timeline, much like an outline of sorts, but there are lots of holes where many things can happen depending on character choices and surprises on my part. I draw out a simple horizontal line and fill in all the parts that I know right now. For instance, in my current WIP I know the beginning and something in the middle and then I know the ending. Those are entered on my timeline and the open parts are filled in when I know them better. Occasionally, I have really nice surprises and I follow where those leads take me. Many times, I’m stuck at a dead end and I have to turn around. Once in a while, I think I know where the story is going but the characters don’t want to go that way so the voices in my head take me down a different path. That’s always the best!

The timeline helps me to keep the story in one piece since I don’t write from Point A to Point B. I enjoy writing on sections that I’m in tune with at the moment. The timeline allows me the freedom to move around in the story, an organic creative process without boundaries.

Torturing my main characters

I threw one of my heroes into a scene before I had a chance work through how it was going to end. It was though I was at the computer and then there he was, his life in peril, and I had no idea where it was going to go. The story happened and the words flowed through my mind and ran down onto the paper as the scene played out. For days, my main character was kidnapped and tortured and I had no idea if he would survive or not.

A week before, I read an article featuring one of my favorite authors and he had shared that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbow (I’m paraphrasing of course) and it occasionally throws curve balls at us. Make it messy. Make the characters suffer and we can watch them redeem themselves and come out as better people. In the case of romance, we will see them for the better and their relationships will strengthen. Well, that was what I took from the article and now my main guy was suffering from my cruelty.

It was nearly a full week of writing this scene before he worked his way out. Sure, he had help, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Even the best of us need help from each other and from society. It’s what makes us social creatures and needing help wasn’t a flaw or a crack in his character.

It all worked out and I was happy with the results even if only a fraction of that writing piece made it into the final submission. It took on a life of its own and I couldn’t be more proud.