THE BLOG: WHERE I FACED HURRICANE IRMA….No Time To Write!

THE ONE WHERE I EVACUATED FROM A HURRICANE….

 

I was supposed to blog about my book that is out at the end of the month, but I was running away from a hurricane.

Good excuse, right? Better than the dog ate my homework. Just when I was beginning to gather blog ideas for Rim Shot, Hurricane Irma loomed large out in the Caribbean.

Rim Shot is a NA, college roommate romance with lots of action and a scandal. I was excited to blog all about it….Only my mind is mush this week. All I can reflect on is my real life adventure.

So forgive me if this blog is not about the book.

I am proud of Rim Shot. I hope you might give it a chance and spread the word of its release soon.

But hurricanes suck my brain cells!

Though the hurricane has vanished by the time you all read this, I wanted to go through the steps of running and returning from Irma.

My husband and I have stayed through roughly 5 hurricanes together. We have never evacuated; hurricanes are part of South Florida living (I even wrote a hurricane into Close for You that mirrored our normal experience).

But Irma was different. If it had not turned, it was likely to be a Cat 5 dead center at us. My husband has been here through Hurricane Andrew. He is friends with a fella who had his roof ripped off as he waited out Andrew in his closet.

Hurricanes are not just about the categories. You need to pay attention to the millibars too. When my husband saw under 920, for the first time in our married lives, he wanted to leave.

Most of our neighbors chose to stay (and this was when the hurricane had not shifted to the west and was coming near Miami, close to us).

You might wonder why we were the only ones to leave in our neighborhood. Why would anybody stay?

What has to be explained is living in Florida, you sit through hurricanes yearly; the weather channel always makes even a tropical storm seem dire. You get…jaded. You also are prepared. In my neighborhood, we have shutters, propane, water, food—all stocked and ready. We do take preparation seriously and that is part of why leaving is not usually considered. Our houses are tough; we’re tough. 

The other reason people stay? Florida is one hell of a long state! It takes forever to get out. That’s on a normal day. Imagine on a day with millions of others leaving!

There is a fear of getting stuck on the road when you could be in your house, the drive is a true pain, and the hurricane is still days away when you need to decide. You can’t “wait and see” for too long. You have to stay or leave way in advance. Not to mention the expense of leaving: gas, food, hotels. It can be overwhelming.

The other reason many stay? Pets. I read in horror about people leaving their dogs tied to trees (I hope they are prosecuted for it), but most folks that I know actually might stay to shelter their pets.

We took our dog with us, and it was more difficult to find hotels because of her. All the pet hotels up through Alabama were booked. We considered if we would have to sleep in rest areas. But we never considered leaving our dog behind—she is family too.

Speaking of family, my husband’s mother has been in the hospital since June .She is bedridden and can’t be moved .We worried tremendously about her, but the hospitals are made to withstand Cat 5 storms. She is fine, but leaving her behind was also very difficult.

This week my children have been on a hurr-i-cation.

I’m grateful to our friends who sheltered us in St. Louis. Hot showers, air conditioning, clean clothes, water— these are gifts when you face not having them.

 ***

UPDATE: After an eleven hour drive, we arrived home again. We were gone over a week. Our power is on, our kids are playing, and our dog is settled. Life is sweet. Despite the hours of shutter takedown and mounds of dirty laundry, I feel grateful.

Our neighbors say the wind howled for 24 hours straight. Everywhere we look are uprooted trees and debris. We are still extremely lucky as we turn to aid places like Naples and Key West. My family plans to help in big and small ways, and we feel fortunate to see our house was fine.

I’m happy to be in my own bed again. Best of all, my coming release arrived safely on my doorstep. I love the cover of Rim Shot! What a treat to see it safe from the storm and waiting for my return.  

 I’m too exhausted to promo today, but here are the links FYI:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rim-shot-by-skylar-m-cates-8880-b

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075MCZ8Z1/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Advertisements

My Newsletter: Free Coupons, Bonus Scenes and More

Hey all,

Sign up for my newsletter out in Feb 2017. It will have some never before seen Guy scenes, DSP coupons, and more!

GuyfromGlamourdsp

I promise not to have too many newsletters and no spamming. I plan to have 4-5 per year. It will be filled with goodies!

If you are interested, here is the link:

http://eepurl.com/cxODzT

Hoops

hoop

What am I working on? Glad you asked! While I’m editing River and Morgan’s story, I’m also writing a NA story about college roommates. One of them is a basketball player. It is a long story why I selected this sport, and in retrospect I might have selected another, but I sure could use some help with the basketball scenes. Anybody out there knowledgeable about basketball, especially college ball? I’d love to ask you some questions. Feel free to PM me.

The other project that I’m working on is a vampire story for a charity anthology next year. Thank goodness the weather is windy and Halloween-like. It is putting me in the right mood. The short story will be a fun to do because while most other authors want doom and gloom vampire stories, mine will be a lighthearted, second chance at love tale.

The final news is I’m having a sale at Dreamspinner during Thanksgiving. More details will be forthcoming, but I asked DSP to do this as a thank you to all my readers. I truly am blessed and grateful .

GuysThanksgiving[A]FS

 

FLIGHT: FLASH FICTION

I had a fantastic time participating in the flash fiction anthology. Here are all the details from the press.

 

flight

 

 

A 300-word story should be easy, right? Many of our entrants say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever written.

Queer Sci Fi’s Annual Flash Fiction Contest challenges authors to write a complete LGBTQ speculative fiction micro-story on a specific theme. “Flight” leaves much for the authors to interpret—winged creatures, flight and space vehicles, or fleeing from dire circumstances.

 

Some astonishing stories were submitted—from horrific, bloodcurdling pieces to sweet, contemplative ones—and all LGBTQ speculative fiction. The stories in this anthology include AI’s and angels, winged lions and wayward aliens. Smart, snappy slice of life pieces written for entertainment or for social commentary. Join us for brief and often surprising trips into 110 speculative fiction authors’ minds.

 

 

Buy Links Etc:

 

Publisher  http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/flight-qsfs-third-annual-flash-ficiton-contest.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L0R0JR

Apple: Coming soon

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-flightqueerscifisthirdannualflashfictioncontest-2091592-341.html

Barnes & Noble: Coming soon

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/flight-49

Smashwords: Coming soon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31686600-flight

Goodreads Series Page: https://www.goodreads.com/series/187509-qsf-flash-fiction

 From the Press:

In the first year of the Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction contest, we received about 15 entries for the theme “Endings”. This year, we had more than 170 entries from people around the world, and from all parts of the LGBTIQA rainbow. “Flight” represents 110 of those people and their stories.

I was honored to be a part of a great variety of authors. If you like flash fiction, then check it out!

flight-two

Books That Changed My Life

Life changing books

Oprah claims The Color Purple changed her life, not only due to the film role but also due to the ideas in the novel. She writes, “I got the book and read it, in one day. And then, I went back, the next day, and bought every copy they had. I would hand the book out to everybody that I knew. I passed it around to everybody in the office. I became obsessed with the book.”

Book obsession. We all have it, right? It’s glorious, even when it hurts. Some books lift us up and others make us cry.

And some stay with us for a lifetime.

1386-1111-2115-0107.jpgreader

On Twitter and Facebook recently, I asked my friends what books changed their lives. Here are some of the answers:

Gaby selected Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin because “it made me realize how much I depend on what I see”

Wendy said The Mortal Instruments led her to Malec and MM.

Author Heidi Cullinan had several of her books mentioned by various readers ranging from loving the “kink” in Nowhere Ranch to loving the emotional weight in Carry the Ocean

Jacki picked Be Good to Yourself Therapy by Cherry Hartman among others, and she mentioned how much it “comforted” her through dark times

Susan said the books of K.A. Merikan changed her “on every level”

Liliana called Unquiet by Melanie Hansen a “tough” but “important” read

Marinieves chose Omorphi by Cody Kennedy because “it made me realize I do not have to be afraid.”

CL chose Christine Jorgensen’s biography for “having a profound effect on my unconditional acceptance of LGBTQ people.”

 

on_a_rainy_day_by_poivre

What about me?

There are so many books that I love. Books that challenged me, and books that saved me. Like the picture of this beautiful man in the water, books made ripples of change in my life.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest made me examine my faith in institutions and my hope in humanity

We Were the Mulvaneys reminded me how easily even a good family can splinter

Maybe life-altering books can come at life-altering moments?

I believe this is true.

For example, I can recall my father handing me the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe. It was the same week he was leaving me.

Angry at my parents and their divorce, I devoured Poe, especially his darkness. It was the first time I ever read stories that bleak and crazy. I loved having the permission to go into that part of my heart.

On the other hand, that same year, I also used to sneak to my mother’s bedroom and rummage through her large stash of romance novels. These books gave me hope.I loved how the heroine and hero struggled to be together. In a world where my parents love simply disappeared, I needed those happy endings.

I think we find different books the way we find different people in our lives. They come in moments when we need them to arrive, and they linger way beyond the pages.

Anna Quindlen writes, “In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.”

― How Reading Changed My Life

 

Please feel free to add your own list in the comments. Happy reading!

 

 

Flash Fiction and Romance

field-guide-to-writing-flash-fiction-330

A good friend asked me to write flash fiction for a GBLT science fiction anthology. Despite never writing much science fiction and never writing flash fiction, I agreed because he’s a sweetheart. Besides I like a challenge, right?

Wrong. This was so much more intense than I thought. The story has to be under 300 words, which I can write in an introduction ( 300 words!  This freaking blog post is longer!)

Yet… I am so grateful to him. Flash fiction is a wonderful writing exercise. It forces me to take the clutter out of my prose and make every word count. It makes my prose lean and mean.

Hooray for slicing off the fat! Trim is the way to sexy prose!

cover-male-underwear-3-06

Whether or not this little story ends up in his anthology, I’m uncertain about at this point. I’m excited that it gave me a way to focus my editing.

If you take any romance novel and order yourself to cut it in half—imagine how sharp and necessary the words that stay will be?! It also gave me a new idea for a novel.

The point is that writing something out of your comfort zone can be rewarding.

Tell me about a writing exercise that worked for you? 

As for me, I’m off to go and chop 50 more words out of my story.

quiet

Why Do You Buy Romance Books? Finding the Best Romance Books to Match a Reader’s Needs

 

 TheOnlyGuy-3

Why do you buy romance books?

Romance has so many sub-genres these days. I find myself scrolling through more and more choices of what to purchase. This is not only wonderful, but also confusing. It is wonderful to see the romance industry thriving. It is confusing because do I decide by price, a familiar name, or an excerpt?

How do you buy your romance books? As a writer of gay romance, I want to attract more readers. My publisher controls the price of my book, and my name is not that familiar to folks, so what is a poor gal to do? Do you buy books if you engage with the author on social media? Do you buy books if another writer praises it?

To be fair with this inquiry, I turned the question inward. I’m a reader of romances too. I buy my share. Why do I buy romance?

Here are three reasons that came to me:

For Escape

For Cathartic Release

For Hope

 

I did not think about the individual author or the price when this entered my mind. What is this then? It is what I want my product (in this case a romance novel) to deliver.

The promise of why I buy dictates what I buy.

If I know an author writes light and “beachy” books, for example, I might pick her when I want to escape. If I do not know any of the authors, I might skim the books with covers that look as if there is a fun escape to them. I might then compare the prices or read the blurbs to decide my final purchase. Another option is to look at list on Goodreads and Amazon for “escape romances” or “beach reads.”

My favorite romances offer cathartic experiences. I feel purged when I read them. These are the deeply emotional romances, where the heroes might go through some serious shit. I want to go through it with them. My emotions are on a rollercoaster, and I love it. These are also the books I tend to write. I love strong character-driven romances. Any book in my Guy series revolves around emotion and family, for instance.

Other readers, might get this type of cathartic thrill from romantic suspense. Those might be more plot-orientated, where the cathartic release is from the pulse-pounding action. I find it interesting how so many bigtime romance writers went from the emotion-packed romances to the suspenseful ones. Of course, a good novel can have both types of cathartic release.

 

Buying a book with the promise of hope often makes me choose either the totally sweet, low-angst read, or the romance book where opposites attract. The sweet book is like eating cotton candy—sometimes that is just what I want. But a hopeful read can also be about two people who should not be lovers, but find themselves in love against all odds. I’m not thinking about the enemies-to-lovers trope as much as two main characters who are from vastly different worlds. Because, for example, if the bad boy rocker can love the do-gooder animal rights activist, it means there is hope for any two people out there to fall in love.

I think about my book The Holiday Hoax for a sweet fix. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6988

My “two world colliding” books do tend to go for enemies to lovers like Exposed or The Last Guy Breathing, but I do think Lovers, Losers and You has a sweeter version of two world’s colliding…

Why else do you buy romances? I’d love to hear your thoughts!