Writing My First Story Image

Behind The Scenes – WRITING MY FIRST STORY

Writing My First Story
Writing My First Story – Clare London

It was – still is –  a beast of an epic, family saga, bodice-ripper! I call it Poldark meets Eastenders, and it still languishes on my hard drive, awaiting some 21st century editing :). And even in those days, before I’d read any m/m at all, it had gay relationships included. But if we’re talking m/m books, I started in fanfiction (a shout-out for Gundam Wing!), first reading, then loving, then writing it myself. It was truly empowering! and a great way to practice my craft and get online feedback. After a while, I got restless with writing the same characters (though I’ll always love them) and branched out into original fiction, posting online and entering contests galore. My first published novel was Branded, which I wrote during Nanowrimo, and plucked up the immense courage (!) needed to submit it to Dreamspinner Press. It’s been through a couple more edits, and cracking new cover(s), and remains one of my own favourites!

Writing My First Story – Jenna Kendrick

My writing career took an odd path with some unexpected twists and turns. I wrote my first romance novel on a legal pad while stuck in bed recovering from a medical issue. It got shoved into a drawer and gathered dust. After a couple other attempts, discovering my voice and learning more with each one, I got sidetracked by an opportunity to write tech books. My first published works were those huge tomes you find in the Computers section of the bookstore about things like Microsoft Office, the iPhone/iPad, and web design. After writing a baker’s dozen of those books and contributing to more than fifty others, I returned to my first love, fiction. My first published romance novel was an m/m novella entitled Make Me Believe. Writing about people and relationships is much more exciting than listing the steps required to print envelopes in Word, and I especially love writing about LGBTQIA+ characters finding their happily ever after.

Writing My First Story – Nic Starr

Sometimes I think that my writing career began on a dare. I attended an m/m conference, back in the days when I reviewed gay romance and read a ton of books. A couple of authors asked why I didn’t write, especially given my love of the genre. I hadn’t even entertained the thought of writing before – I was a process driven person, not a creative person. Or so I thought. But they encouraged me to give writing a go and the idea bubbled away. Finally I figured I had nothing to lose. I started with two novellas. One was a freebie story – Waiting, Hoping, Wishing. The second –  It’s Not Easy – I submitted to a publisher and was thrilled when Dreamspinner Press offered me a contract. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between me and writing, and goes to show that it’s never too late to follow your passions. ❤

Advertisements
Gay Romance Novel mm romance reading recommendations Image

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS ~ March 2018 #gayromancenovels #mmromance

Gay Romance Novel mm romance reading recommendations

Here’s what’s on our Kindles (and what we’re listening to) this month. So many great books!

Nic

I write on the sweeter side so every now and then I like to delve into something a little darker. And that’s exactly what I  found with Avril Ashton‘s latest, Kiss Your Scars (#3 in her Loose Ends series). It’s all about the underworld with twists and turns, violence and lots of sex. Click here to check it out.

Re-reading is not something I often do but this month I re-read of Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan. I love the voice of the characters and the emotional journey plus that wonderful kinky sex. Find out more here. Are there any books that are your favourite re-reads?

I couldn’t resist getting into some of that Winter Olympic spirit with The Winning Edge by Keira Andrews, a fabulous story about competing figure skaters. Click here to check it out.

RJ Scott also made my list with two of the books from her Sanctuary series. I think I’ve read most of RJ’s books and really enjoy all her series. Find out more about the series here.

I’ve queued up my next audio book. Splintered by SJD Peterson is the story of an FBI agent on a case to chase down someone murdering gay men so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a good mystery/thriller. It is performed by Rusty Topsfield. You can find it on Audible.

Kelly

Allison Temple and I signed contracts for sweeter, small-town contemporary series on about the same day, so when her first novel, The Pick Up, was released, you can bet I wanted to check it out. It’s one of the cutest books I’ve read in a while and I’m really looking forward to continuing the series. Find out more here.

I’ve also just finished reading Mason Thomas‘ second novel, The Shadow Mark, and I liked it even better than his first book (which was pretty excellent). If you like fantasy with strong gay protagonists, you should check out his Lords of Davenia series. Click here to find out more.

Jenna

The hero of Color of You, Bowen Merlin, sees sound as color, known as sound-to-color synesthesia. Author CS Poe paints a picture with her words in this story about how Bowen finds love in a small town with amber-voiced Felix Hansen. This book was both sexy and tender, and it’s one of my favorites of recent memory. Click here to find out more.

Felice Stevens writes about New York City as if the city itself is a character. She makes you feel as if you’re walking down a cracked sidewalk in the rain, sitting in a small mom and pop restaurant, or schlepping out to Long Island on the train. In Perfect, Blake Myers thinks he has to be perfect to keep the attention of Jeremy Strauss, and when his life becomes anything but, he gets caught piling up one lie after another. Click here to find out more.

Nicky James is a new-to-me author. In Love Me Whole, she writes about a hero with dissociative identity disorder. Oryn Patterson shares his body with five alter personalities, each very distinct and not all of them happy to share. This was a slow build, very tender story of how Oryn opens his heart not only to Vaughn Sinclair but also to the alters. Click here to find out more.

Happy reading.

xx

Ben White

Naming characters in gay romance Image

Behind The Scenes – CHARACTER NAMES

This week, in honour of Celebrate Your Name Week, we are talking about names. No, not baby names, but character names. So read along to find out how the leading characters in some of your favourite gay romance novels got their names and some of the struggles we authors face when choosing the perfect moniker for our heroes.

How do you go about choosing the name of your characters?

I’m totally process oriented so I keep a list of names I like and mark them off when I’ve used them. I gather the names from various sources – names of friends and colleagues, names I hear in the media or stumble across in other books. I also google when necessary, particularly if I’m trying to find a name of a specific nationality. In terms of selecting the name, I choose a name I think most reflects my character. That’s probably influenced by my own experiences – I’m not going to name my sweet MC after the bully I knew at school. 🙂 ~ Nic

Like Nic, I keep a list of names. They’re favourite names, names that I collect here and there because I’d like to use them, names of people I like. My favourite cousins. It’s not particularly long, but the names on my list are precious. I use them sparingly because they’ll only get one life, then they’re retired. ~ Kelly

I’ll often look for inspiration in a poem or a popular saying. Or search lists of baby names of all ethnicities and sources, looking for the right sound and meaning. Much like the other authors here! For example, Maen in my fantasy novel Branded came from the Welsh word for “rock”, Niall in my suspense thriller 72 hours means “champion”, Red in my romance Flying Colors is a nickname for Richard, meaning “powerful leader”. I like to play with the names! ~ Clare

What are the most difficult things about choosing a name?

Coming up with a name I haven’t used before! Seriously, my brain seems to present me with the same list of names for every book I write.  Or I can only think of names starting with the same letter. I seem to lean towards using A names and J names. No idea why but that’s why I need to keep a list. 🙂 My most important priority is a name that matches my character’s personality and ethnicity. I also try to give my two main characters ‘opposite’ names. For example, if one name is sort, the other is long. Or if one starts with a consonant, I might give the other one a name beginning with a vowel. ~ Nic

Having a name that suits my character is really important to me. I’ve written a complete story with two names I really liked, only to have to switch them on my first revision round because although they were good names, they didn’t quite fit. They just didn’t sound right. It’s hard to describe, but they didn’t feel like a Fin and a Jared. I tried swapping their names. Fin became Jared, and Jared became Fin, and suddenly they fit. In my current WIP, I had a hard time finding a good name for my second hero. He eventually named himself, which happens often enough that I tend to go with it when it happens. ~ Kelly

I seem to land on A & J most often, too. So, apparently it’s not just me?! Someone pointed out recently I’d used Aiden in 4 books so far, albeit different spellings. A problem is that a lot of my books now are set in Britain and, to be honest, we don’t have quite the same whimsy in creating names as other nations do! I often revert to tried and true biblical names, like the apostles (not Nebuchadnezzar or Methuselah!). I also find I get bogged down with certain initials for certain characters e.g. the alpha character will be B / M / N / R, but that can be very restricting. And bizarre, really 🙂 ~ Clare

What is the most unusual name you’ve used in a book?

My next release (Lies & Deception, Dreamspinner Press, June/July) features outlaw motorcycle gangs. Naming the motorcycle clubs was difficult enough in itself but then I had to name the characters and give them all bikie nicknames. Thank goodness for MC blogs where members talk about the background to their names! Characters in my story includes Rabbit, Stack, Blue and Ginger. ~ Nic

In my upcoming release (To See the Sun, Riptide Publishing, August), one of the heroes is named Gael. It’s not a wholly unusual name, but it’s different and I think quite beautiful. When I’m writing sci-fi, I like to use names that are unusual but still easy to spell and say. As an avid reader of speculative fiction, I’ve puzzled out enough names full of consonants and apostrophes to never want to inflict them on my own readers. Another favourite is Steilang Skovgaard from Uncommon Ground. He’s an alien (of the Skov clan) and chose the closest human equivalent to his real name (unpronounceable, of course) upon his arrival. When I’m not writing sci-fi, I tend to pick simple, ordinary names. I kinda love them. ~ Kelly

Yes, I agree that you can use more imagination in SF or fantasy. Maybe the most exotic I ever used was Mori in my speculative story Threadbare. He was named after a silkworm!  ~ Clare

What are the names of the main characters in your next book?

My most recent release (Patrick’s Savior) stars Patrick – surprise! LOL – and Simon. My upcoming release, Lies & Deception, is the story of Mitch and Finn. ~ Nic

Coming in August, I have To See the Sun with Gael Sonnen and Abraham Bauer. I spent a lot of time picking these names and I love them. I love their story, too! Dillon and Lang (Steilang) return this summer as well in Purple Haze~ Kelly

My current book Freeman is a fab example of the working-name-that-stuck-for-good, for both the main narrator and the book title. The younger man he befriends is called Kit – and there’s a mystery to that name, too, but you’ll have to read the book to find out :). I’m working on my next Dreamspun Desire books at Dreamspinner Press called The Undercover Millionaire, where my billionaire Alexandre happily uses a shortened name Alex for his undercover role, until he meets Tate, a young man he really want to be honest with! ~ Clare

 

We’re going to be doing a lot more Behind The Scenes posts so if you have any questions you’d like answered, let us know in the comments and we’ll hopefully get to them in the near future.

Happy reading xx

 

Nic Starr Author Image

Meet Nic Starr

Meet contributing author Nic Starr…

Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family-an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters-and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

Website & Blog: http://www.nicstarr.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nic-Starr/e/B00MAWRRQG/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NicStarrAuthor

Facebook Author Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/NicStarr/

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/nic_starr_author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicstarr_author

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nicstarr_author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8139967.Nic_Starr

Bookbubhttps://www.bookbub.com/authors/nic-starr

Newsletter

Click Here to subscribe to Nic’s VIP reader’s mailing list.

You’ll be the first to hear about new releases, special offers, and giveaways plus some exclusive content.

Plus, you will get a FREE copy of Sticky Fingers.

Nic’s Books

More about Nic and her books can be found here.

Image

✨✨ Finding His Place by Nic Starr on Kindle Unlimited! ✨✨

I’m excited to announce that Finding His Place is now available FREE on Kindle Unlimited for US subscribers of the KU program. Unfortunately there’s still no word on when Kindle Worlds will expand internationally.

This book was written as part of the Memories with the Breakfast Club Kindle Worlds. This ‘world’ brings together two of Felice Stevens much-loved series and a number of m/m authors have contributed a story so check them out too!

Blurb

Sometimes finding your place in the world can lead to love.

Kieran Walters is the illegitimate son of a successful businessman. Despite striving to win his father’s affection, a confrontation that has been years in the making leaves Kieran devastated to realize he will never be good enough. Jealous of the half brother he’s never met, and who most likely doesn’t know of his existence, Kieran vows to find out what makes his brother so special in their father’s eyes.

Darius Jensen manages a nightclub. He loves his job, but is reluctant to commit when given the opportunity to become a partner. His previous foray into business ownership with a boyfriend had disastrous results, and Darius is still paying the price, both financially and emotionally.

When Kieran starts working with Darius at Sparks, Darius shows him it’s not too late for Kieran to realize his dreams—the fulfilling career, a loving family, and someone who loves him for who he is. If only Kieran can convince Darius of the same thing. But before Kieran’s and Darius’s dreams can come true, Kieran needs to come clean with his brother and deal with the resulting fallout… which threatens his relationship with Darius.

Part of the Memories with the Breakfast Club Kindle World

Finding His Place by Nic Starr (Memories of the Breakfast Club Kindle Worlds)

Buy Link

Because this book is part of Kindle Worlds, it is only available on the US site. Hopefully they will expand their program soon.

Amazon US

 

add-to-goodreads-button

 

Image

GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY: Patrick’s Savior by Nic Starr

Top 5… Holiday Destinations in Australia

Coming up with Top 5 lists is always so difficult! I find it so hard to narrow down my choices, particularly when there are so many fabulous options. So, as you can imagine, I’m hopeless at choosing ‘the best’ or ‘my ultimate favourite’. Anyway, I’m going to give it my best shot and give you my top 5 holidays destinations in Australia.

In no particular order…

#1 Tasmania – vast wilderness, bushwalking/hiking, Tasmanian Devils, penguins, historic towns, Port Arthur, food and wine…

#2 Darwin – tropical temperatures, crocodiles, swimming holes with waterfalls, Mindil Beach night markets

#3 Broome – Cable Beach, camel rides, Stairway to the Moon, pearls

#4 The Red Centre (Uluru) – Uluru (Ayres Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), aboriginal history, camel rides, Dinner Under the Stars

#5 Hunter Valley – this deserves a mention because it’s where my country house is located) vineyards, cellar doors, restaurants, outdoor concerts, kangaroos

I was going to write a list of honourable mentions but the list just went on and on because I had no idea where to stop. So many wonderful places to visit in Australia.

I love reading books set in other countries. I get lost in stories that take me to new places – virtual travel! I’ve written some books set in Australia and I love to be able to introduce readers to the places I love.

My latest release is Patrick’s Savior and it’s part of my Heroes series, a series that’s set in the USA. So it’s been fun to do a bit of travel by spending time with Patrick and Simon, and thinking back on my travel to, and research of, the US west coast.

Happy reading (and travelling),

Nic xx

Blurb

How do you find love when someone doesn’t want you to be happy?

Patrick Edwards is dealing with a double whammy. Unwanted attention from his housemate’s boyfriend is making him feel uncomfortable in his own home, and he’s facing uncertainty with his employment as an administrative assistant at the local elementary school. He finally breathes a sigh of relief when a friend puts him in contact with Simon, who has a vacant room.

Simon Dawson is a paramedic who doesn’t hesitate to help Patrick. After all, no one should live in a house where they don’t feel safe. Simon develops feelings for Patrick, but doesn’t act on them—Patrick’s moved from a bad situation and doesn’t need his new housemate hitting on him. However, a weekend away changes everything when Simon realizes Patrick returns his feelings.

But someone doesn’t want Patrick and Simon to be happy. A series of strange letters arrive at the house, and things will get a lot worse before the two men get their happily ever after.

Patrick’s Savior is a novel of approximately 69k words. It is part of a series but can be read stand-alone.

BUY LINK

Click here to see the book on Amazon

Initially Patrick’s Savior is available exclusively to purchase from Amazon or FREE with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. If you don’t already have a subscription and you sign up for a 30 day free trial.

GIVEAWAY

Win a US$20 Amazon Gift Card.

Click here to enter via the Rafflecopter.

Image

NEW RELEASE and GIVEAWAY: Patrick’s Savior by Nic Starr

Patrick’s Savior is LIVE!

It’s the third book in the Heroes series but if you haven’t read those books, you can still read Patrick’s Savior as it stands alone.

Blurb

How do you find love when someone doesn’t want you to be happy?

Patrick Edwards is dealing with a double whammy. Unwanted attention from his housemate’s boyfriend is making him feel uncomfortable in his own home, and he’s facing uncertainty with his employment as an administrative assistant at the local elementary school. He finally breathes a sigh of relief when a friend puts him in contact with Simon, who has a vacant room.

Simon Dawson is a paramedic who doesn’t hesitate to help Patrick. After all, no one should live in a house where they don’t feel safe. Simon develops feelings for Patrick, but doesn’t act on them—Patrick’s moved from a bad situation and doesn’t need his new housemate hitting on him. However, a weekend away changes everything when Simon realizes Patrick returns his feelings.

But someone doesn’t want Patrick and Simon to be happy. A series of strange letters arrive at the house, and things will get a lot worse before the two men get their happily ever after.

Patrick’s Savior is a novel of approximately 69k words. It is part of a series but can be read stand-alone.

BUY LINK

Click here to see the book on Amazon

Initially Patrick’s Savior is available exclusively to purchase from Amazon or FREE with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. If you don’t already have a subscription and you sign up for a 30 day free trial.

GIVEAWAY

Win a US$20 Amazon Gift Card.

Click here to enter via the Rafflecopter.

Image

ON SALE: Rustic Memory ONLY 99c!

Rustic Memory

Third time lucky is too much to hope for. Isn’t it?

Tyler Samuels had his reasons for leaving the country town where he grew up. He moved to the city, established a home and a career, and found love. Now Ty is in his early thirties, and as his life takes another tragic turn, he finds himself returning to the place he first ran from.

Mac McGrath has lived in Armidale all his life. He loves his family and his job as an electrician, running the family business. The only thing missing in his life is a relationship. When Ty, his teenage crush, arrives back in town, maybe he has found someone to love at last.

What starts as friends with benefits quickly turns to more for Mac, but Ty will need to let go of his memories if he is to learn to love again. But can Mac wait that long?

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

Also available FREE with your  Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Happy reading,

Nic xx

Image

Finding His Place by Nic Starr (Memories with The Breakfast Club)

Finding His Place by Nic StarrI’m so excited to announce that Finding His Place is now live! It’s part of the Memories with The Breakfast Club Kindle World – 8 stories all written in the ‘worlds’ created by Felice Stevens.

Blurb

Sometimes finding your place in the world can lead to love.

Kieran Walters is the illegitimate son of a successful businessman. Despite striving to win his father’s affection, a confrontation that has been years in the making leaves Kieran devastated to realize he will never be good enough. Jealous of the half brother he’s never met, and who most likely doesn’t know of his existence, Kieran vows to find out what makes his brother so special in their father’s eyes.

Darius Jensen manages a nightclub. He loves his job, but is reluctant to commit when given the opportunity to become a partner. His previous foray into business ownership with a boyfriend had disastrous results, and Darius is still paying the price, both financially and emotionally.

When Kieran starts working with Darius at Sparks, Darius shows him it’s not too late for Kieran to realize his dreams—the fulfilling career, a loving family, and someone who loves him for who he is. If only Kieran can convince Darius of the same thing. But before Kieran’s and Darius’s dreams can come true, Kieran needs to come clean with his brother and deal with the resulting fallout… which threatens his relationship with Darius.

Part of the Memories with the Breakfast Club Kindle World

Finding His Place by Nic Starr (Memories of the Breakfast Club Kindle Worlds)

Buy Link

Because this book is part of Kindle Worlds, it is only available on the US site. Hopefully they will expand their program soon.

Amazon US

add-to-goodreads-button

This book was written as part of the Memories with the Breakfast Club Kindle Worlds. This ‘world’ brings together two of Felice Stevens much-loved series and a number of m/m authors have contributed a story.

The books are:

Anticipation by Talia Carmichael

Remember Love by Silvia Violet

Hot Date by Felice Stevens

A Way with Words by Lane Hayes

Finding His Place by Nic Starr

Memories Follow by S.C. Wynne

Uncommon Ground by Kelly Jensen

On and Off by Jenna Kendrick

 

Want to share the good news about the release? Here’s a ready-made tweet.

Click to Tweet: 👬 📕🏳‍🌈 Memories with The Breakfast Club Kindle World #gayromance #mmromance 🏳‍🌈📕👬

Tweet: 👬 📕🏳‍🌈 Memories with The Breakfast Club Kindle World #gayromance #mmromance 🏳‍🌈📕👬 https://ctt.ec/my8U8+