Elaine White's Life in Books

The Author

 

Elaine White is the author of multi-genre romance, covering everything from paranormal, crime and contemporary. Growing up in a small town and fighting cancer in her early teens taught her that life is short and dreams should be pursued. Living vicariously through her independent, and often hellion characters, she lives comfortably at home with a pack of wolves cleverly disguised as one standard poodle. The Winner of two Watty Awards – Collector's Dream (An Unpredictable Life) and Hidden Gem (Faithfully) – and an Honourable Mention in 2016's Rainbow Awards (A Royal Craving) she has explored the worlds of multiple genres, but remains a romantic at heart. A self-professed geek, Elaine has fallen in love with reading and writing LGBT romance, offering diversity in both genre and character within her stories.

 

The Reviewer

 

I’m an author and reader, who just can’t get away from books. I discovered the MM genre a few years ago and became addicted.

Top #50 UK reviewer on Goodreads
#1 reviewer on Divine Magazine

"The world froze around him, nothing moving, not even his own treacherous heart that thudded so dangerously around this boy. Then Silent Boy turned and locked eyes with him, the blue sparkling impossibly in the dark of the alley.
Before Jaycob could think of why he had stopped him, what he might want to say or what the intensity in those blue eyes could mean, the world was obliterated with a kiss. A single, sweet kiss."

A Royal Miracle

Book 3 in The Royal Series

by Elaine White

 

Source: http://smarturl.it/ARoyalMiracle

Facts About Me: Always Learning

As an author, you have to be prepared to learn every single day of your career. Nothing ever stays the same and nor should it. It's a world of revolving rules, etiquette and creativity.

I'm not someone who writes to the latest crazy genre, but I do like to keep my writing as varied and as up to date as I can make it. That's why I brand myself a 'romantic at heart', because I will always write romance novels, but sometimes those romance novels will be in the guise of a contemporary or historical setting, or a science fiction alternative world, or be full of supernatural/paranormal creatures. Either way, romance will always be at the heart of my stories and that's why I can write such a variety of sub-genres, because they all fit into what I discovered as my niche: romance. I've tried and failed to write other genres without a romantic setting and I learned why it failed and how I could fix those stories to be used at a later date. It all revolved around learning who I was as an author.

But, just because I write a particular genre doesn't mean that I can't learn or adapt to write a new one. I used to only write paranormal/supernatural stories. Then I drifted into Contemporary and, because of my passion for reading them, attempted my first ever fantasy novel. It didn't work, but I kept the story and waited, then I eventually figured out why. In the time I'd been away from that story - nearly two years - my writing had evolved, my storytelling ability had evolved and I had learned how to better focus my words on what was important. I had learned enough to give it a second shot and it turned out brilliantly, if I do say so myself. I did the same with science fiction, eventually finding that I had a real freedom of creativity within those worlds.

With my writing ability, my creativity grew. Not just for the writing itself, but also in how I wanted to market and brand and portray those stories. I found a 'voice' I never knew I had for visually effective marketing and branding. But even that is constantly evolving. Over time, I realised that a look I loved a year or two ago is no longer who I am as an 'artist' (though I would never deign to use that label on myself, it's the only appropriate word for this explanation.)

I learned so much about effective branding and marketing from my publishing house, CHBB Publishing, and the wonderful people there. They have a handful of experts who can look at my posters and help me hone in on what I'm trying to say or show an dhow I can go about doing it. This post, really, is to celebrate that evolution, where they helped me grow from naive little me into someone confident enough to rebrand every book I've ever written, just because I know myself and the books better now. In a few years, when I've grown even more, I may look back on this new progression and think 'oh how naive I was, even then', but that's the whole fun of being an author. Everything is in constant flux.

In the end, these posters I'm going to share with you are a representation of me and my work, as well as the book's themes/brand. I want to portray them the best I can, to show what the books are about, what they mean and what the 'tone' might be. It took me a long time to find my "brand" for each series/solo novel, but I'm happy with what I have now. I've chosen something that, for each theme/brand, has a lot of scope but is instantly recognisable at a glance. So people see chess or invitational elegance and they think The Royal Series. If they see colourful, bright and playful, they think The Trade. Broody and dark with a specific model is The One That Got Away; art deco is The Cellist; and Forged in Fire is all about personal, intimate portraits of life. You can see all of that here. And, in reality, that is what their brands have always been; I've just found a better way of showing them off to their full potential.

In reality, I have scrapped over 100 posters for multiple books in the last two years, as I swapped from my old iffy branding to what I have now. I don't regret it for a second, because it works. But it took trial and error, seeing what my readers thought of the posters and how they reacted, e.g. comments and sales. I had to learn that if sales weren't happening or if I felt I needed to change my brand, I shouldn't be afraid to do it. As long as I'm not changing it every other week, but sticking to something that will last for years, then I'm still growing, still changing and adapting to my 'author' life. Look at JK Rowling, George R.R. Martin etc; they changed the branding and book covers of their books until they found the ones that fit. And, even after that, they still know that offering their readers alternatives and variety is key to good branding.

So, here's a look at my evolution. From the first poster ever made for a book to the eventual 2017 edition:

(Top Row: R-L: New, Old

Bottom Rows: R-L Top: Old, Bottom: New)

(Left: Old. Right: New)

~

And it's not just posters. I've reinvented the way I make mock-covers, too. I use these for myself or Wattpad only, not for the final product, so it allows me to re-make them as often as I want, to really play around with effects and looks until I find whatever works best. For me, I use the covers to inspire me to write the story and keep writing until it's done. I even attach it to the finished story, convert it into a mobi file using Calibre and put it onto my Kindle to read, as a reader, so that I can edit it. It's also a great way for me to 'test' a potential image for publication. If I hate it after only seeing it a few times, it's not going to be the published book cover, so I know to look for something else and test that until I find one I'm happy with.

       

.

     

(From Top to Bottom: New to Old)

~

And just for kicks, here are a few mock-covers (the first) of novels that were later published. Obviously, there is NO comparison. :P

~

Not only are the new versions more visually appealing, but the text, font use and image choice is clearer, to the point and epitomises the story so much better. And I'm sure that, after seeing the mess of my old work, you can see the benefit of my growth, right? Without it, I'd still be just slapping stuff together and hoping that it worked, instead of properly checking, rechecking, considering image, colour, composition and so much more.

I've learned a lot since I was first thrust into this author world and I hope I never stop learning.

Teaser Tuesday: Lead Me Into the Light

#teasertuesday

Lead Me Into the Light, Cacodemon Book 3, by Elaine White

http://smarturl.it/Cacodemon3

If only Lucifer would get out of his head.

#PNR #MM #Cacodemon #lgbtq #indieauthor #mmromance #supernatural

 

 

Source: http://smarturl.it/Cacodemon3
Darkling (Port Lewis Witches #1) by Brooklyn Ray
Darkling (Port Lewis Witches #1) by Brooklyn Ray

Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is surrounded by dense woods, and is home to quaint coffee shops, a movie theater, a few bars, two churches, the local college, and witches, of course.

Ryder is a witch with two secrets—one about his blood and the other about his heart. Keeping the secrets hasn’t been a problem, until a tarot reading with his best friend, Liam Montgomery, who happens to be one of his secrets, starts a chain of events that can’t be undone.

Dark magic runs through Ryder’s veins. The cards have prophesized a magical catastrophe that could shake the foundation of Ryder’s life, and a vicious partnership with the one person he doesn’t want to risk.

Magic and secrets both come at a cost, and Ryder must figure out what he’s willing to pay to become who he truly is.

 

~

 

REVIEW

 

Book – Darkling
Series – Port Lewis Witches, 1
Author – Brooklyn Ray
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 101
Cover – Stunning!
POV – 3rd person, one character
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, Witches, Trans (FTM)
Content Warning – blood-letting, death, necromancy, minor drug-use


** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **



I loved this! It fitted perfectly into my demon-kick reading mode of the last month and, after reading the blurb, I just knew I was going to love it. And I did.

The story is set up with a witch circle which means that the series could contain stories about all or just some of the characters: Ryder (the POV MC), Liam, Christy, Tyler, and Donovan. There are also the side characters of Ryder's family: his sister Jordan, who is a hoot, as well as his dad Gerard, and his mother Ellen. Then there are the two matriarchs of the opposing Wolfe (dark magic) and Lewellyn (white magic) clans, Thalia and Margo. Each character has a role to play, their own detailed background that isn't over done or abandoned into nothingness, and a place within the plot. There was a great mix of straight and gay relationships, as well as gender identities: trans and non-binary.

I loved Ryder. As an MC to take over the POV of an entire book, that was really important and a huge boost. He's a trans-MC, FTM, and 21, who has had top surgery but not bottom. He's got all these secrets that he keeps bottled up – his half-blood genes, his FTM transition, and his feelings for his best friend, Liam. All while trying to control magic that is unpredictable and deadly. I loved that we were made part of his internal struggles, that we knew the secrets as and when it was important to the plot, but we could still feel the shock and surprise of everyone else in his circle when they found out. Yet we still got to feel the anticipation and apprehension running through Ryder as he tried to keep his secrets.

Liam was just amazing! I loved his strong, steady support. He's the polar opposite of Ryder, a Water witch while Ryder is fire, but he never let that come between them. His firm friendship and growing acceptance of all that Ryder revealed himself to be was beautiful to watch. He didn't know any of Ryder's secrets, but he worked them out on his own, often by accident and before Ryder had prepared for it, but he never judged. He showed justifiable anger that his best friend had kept such huge secrets to himself and never felt comfortable sharing them, but he didn't criticize or judge Ryder for those secrets or what they could mean.

I really enjoyed the occult elements of the book. They were somewhat familiar, but also originally tweaked in a way that made it something I could follow without feeling too out of my depth. And there was still enough originality to keep me eager to learn more. Just as I've had a tarot reading, it doesn't mean I understand how to read a deck, so having it explained in a way that was both natural and familiar to the characters while being a subtle dummies-guide for me, was awesome.

There was some amazing world building done here, in such a natural, subtle way that I really applaud the author for it. Sometimes there's that awful choice between info dumps or holding onto information until it's relevant, but the author had this take place in the contemporary real world, that is already what we live in, so offering familiarity – again – along with the sort of hidden aspect of witches. Concepts that we're familiar with from novels and movies, but done in a new way.

Just as the characterisation and world building were expertly done, so was the chemistry between Liam and Ryder. I loved every minute of their relationship. From Liam discovering and teasing away Ryder's secrets, to watching Ryder navigate this half world he lived in while trying not to hurt Liam in the process of exploring his birth-given gifts.

Overall, I loved it. It made me smile and cry and feel happy all at once. It reminded me of The Secret Circle books, in a good way, and is going to make a great addition to my favourites shelf.

Can I get Donovan's book next, please? Pretty please?

~

And can I just say a huge THANK YOU to the author? I can't say how many times I've picked up a book to read or review and not been aware that it was a series until I already had it in my hands. The wait and expense of buying the previous books before I could delve in was torture, but I didn't have to do that here. The book is, both on the cover, on Netgalley and GR, explicitly labelled as a series book. THANK YOU. There's nothing I hate more than having a book I can't wait to read in my hands and being forced to wait until I've caught up with the series so far.

~

Favourite Quote

““I could hurt you,” Ryder said.
“I'd let you.””

““If you don't...” Liam choked on the rest of what he wanted to say and skipped it. “You better haunt me, assh-le. You understand that, Ry? You come back and you haunt me.”

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36572967-darkling
"When Parry captured his wrist and lifted it to his mouth, Davian had to swallow back his regret. He would not have offered his blood nor answered the call, if he knew what Parry had planned.
It was so cruel, the way he constantly made an emotional step forward one moment, then destroyed the hope it had given Davian by ruining it with physical actions. Selfish actions. It drove him to distraction.
He gulped back his protests and the need to run far and wide to escape this hollow, unfeeling version of the man he had grown to care for."

A Royal Promise

Book 2 in The Royal Series

by Elaine White

 

Source: http://smarturl.it/ARoyalPromise

Facts About Me: Being A Reviewer

Reviewing books is hard. It's not a simple matter of reading a book and either loving or hating it. There are in between books, books that you don't finish, books that you fall in love with but feel speechless at the end of. There are so many variables and you, the reviewer, have to put it into words.

Now, when I talk about reviews, I'm not talking about my two pet hates of the reviewing world:
* A rewording of your blurb, with a simple "I liked it" or not at the end.
* A sentence of "I liked it" or "I hated it"

To me, those are fine for regular readers to leave on a book. But, of you are in the business of being a reviewer and you are given books by the author, for the express purpose of reviewing it, then you better have more to say. I've been on both sides - having to be the reviewer who is struggling to explain what a book made me feel and also being the author who got a review from a company whose purpose is to review or a book blog, only to receive one of the above examples.

In my mind, a review is proof that you read and understood the book, but it's also about exploring what did and didn't work for you, the reader. You can't call yourself a proper reviewer if all you ever do is reword the blurb. Anyone can do that and it doesn't prove you've read the book. Trust me, I've known people who left a one line review or a reworded blurb review, only to confess that their deadline was so tight that they didn't have time to read actually read the book. I can't do that, in good conscience. I know that deadlines get in the way and sometimes it will take me a year or so to read a book, if I've not been given a deadline to meet, but I *will* always read that book, before putting my name on a review. I honestly can't understand people who don't. And I can't be that kind of author who would be okay with fake reviews left for the sake of fulfilling that review.

That's why I find it so hard to review. Because you really have to be able to explain what you liked, why and what you didn't like and why. Sometimes, that means I write more for a negative review - to explain what didn't work for me and why - than I do for a rave review. Sometimes, a rave review is just me being speechless over a book and trying to formulate something intelligent from the mess of my brain.

Worse still, there are times as a review that I can really enjoy a book while reading it, make nothing but positive notes and then sit down to write my review and it's dropped from a 5 star rave review to a 3 star iffy review, because suddenly all of the problems are staring me in the face, now that I've stopped reading. With the magic of the sparkly lights and the shiny words over, my brain processes what it was reading and I find that there are actually more flaws than I realised. Certainly more than I wrote notes for. And I have to sit there and let the words flow, because I can't just ignore the flaws after noticing them, just because I enjoyed it while reading it. If I'd been a regular reader and not a reviewer, I'd have probably finished the book, gone to Goodreads and logged a 5 star rating, then written a few sentences about how I cried a lot or how certain parts touched me. I wouldn't even give myself time to think it over and realise that, actually, there were some really niggly parts that, the more I think about it, I really didn't like. Or, actually, after thinking about it, I didn't like that aspect of the story at all, because it felt weird or unreal or derogatory.

Just as there are so many variable to the books you read and how you might have to review them, there are just as many variables once you sit down to write that review. You brain stops to really think about things and suddenly, that hilarious moment is actually really cheesy. That totally swoon-worthy scene was cringe-worthy and maybe that romantic speech was actually corny and pathetic.

I think of reviewing like that bit in Pride and Prejudice, where Mr Darcy is making his big sweeping speech and he thinks he's doing the best thing, that he's saying all the right things, only for Elizabeth to notice the flaws and stand there thinking WTF? That's sometimes how I feel about my own reviews. I start writing a rave review, as the Mr Darcy of the scenario, until I finish, read it back or get to a bit where, actually, I'm Elizabeth thinking WTF did I just write? WTF did part that actually mean? Was it supposed to sound so insulting or am I reading too much into it? Then I start second guessing myself and wondering whether I've completely lost the plot, or not.

In the end, I write my notes up into something that makes sense, then read the whole thing through from beginning to end, rearranging or deleting/adding whatever is necessary or comes to mind as I'm reading the review. Then, I read it back until no changes are made. It's actually sometimes just as complicated as editing a book. Because, what I always remember, is that there's an author on the other side of that review, reading my words about their book. I want to be as articulate as possible, to explain what I can, to reason and validate my points wherever I can, because it's important that I make myself clear.

Whatever I write - 1 star or 5 star - every review takes time. Often a day, for a novel, or three if I don't have a lot of time on my hands, just to read it. Then it takes about an hour to write my notes up, make it resemble sensible words and then get it edited/read through and sorted into a real review. I have to make sure that I'm happy to put my name on the words I've written. It might only be a review, but an author could come back to me for another review in the future, if I can prove to be impartial, logical and express myself well. Either way, every author who lets me review their work knows that I'll give nothing but my honest opinion and that not everyone will agree with me. That's not for me to judge. I can only say how I feel and hope that either someone disagrees with my bad review, to go buy the book and support the author, or maybe it can help the author pinpoint mistakes. Or a good review can encourage people to read an awesome story that I loved and let the author know that there are people out there who are touched by their words.

Teaser Tuesday: Eyes on the Angel

#teasertuesday

Eyes on the Angel, Cacodemon Book 2, by Elaine White

http://smarturl.it/C2.EOTA

Being a parent isn't easy. Not even for the supernatural.

#PNR #MM #Cacodemon #lgbtq #indieauthor #mmromance #supernatural

 

 

Source: http://smarturl.it/C2.EOTA
Forward the Hunt by Lotus Oakes
Forward the Hunt by Lotus Oakes

Netgalley TBR

 

For as long as he can remember, Haruki has wanted to be part of the Great Hunt, the annual coming of age ceremony where the youth of Salfea are let loose to kill a dragon and bring it home as proof of adulthood. The larger and higher-ranked the dragon, the greater the reward. Held back for years by family obligation, Haruki has only ever been able to watch from afar until the opportunity finally comes to him. Desperate to prove himself, he's certain he'll do whatever it takes to have a successful hunt. 

But on the first night of his Hunt, Haruki finds an injured dragon so highly-ranked that killing him could rocket Haruki all the way to the throne... if he can resist the dragon and his ways.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38843974-forward-the-hunt
"A hand pressed against his, stopping him from doing up his buttons. “You are a delight to look at. It is a shame you are still human,” Parry lamented.
“I would not be free for you either way,” Davian argued, unable to stop himself. Something about the way Parry spoke made him feel positively exposed and that made him brave.
Parry shrugged and walked to the door. “Not yet. But you will be,” He smiled with the promise, before leaving.
Davian barely knew what to do with himself. He wanted to grab the stupid books from their shelves and throw them around the room in a temper, but could. Instead, he grudgingly returned to work."

A Royal Craving

Book 1 in The Royal Series

by Elaine White

 

Source: http://smarturl.it/ARoyalCraving

Facts About Me: From MF to MM

You might have noticed by now, especially if you've been reading my 'Origin Story' posts, that I used to write MF exclusively and that I've ended up turning a lot of those old stories into MM stories. This is not, as some might say, a way to cash in on a popular genre. Hell, the simple fact is, I would make more money selling them as MF's. The reason I've switched the genre of these stories is simple: I never knew MM existed when I started writing.

I grew up in a world that was pretty accepting. I had gay friends, lesbian friends, bi friends. I knew people on the spectrum all my life and it was never an 'issue' or something like it's presented in Glee - that they're segregated or looked down on. If they were, I never saw it. It was all perfectly normal for people to be different in a million little ways. We had refugee children at our school when I was just in primary school, so under the age of twelve. There was a Bosnian girl that I was friends with and who came over to make Christmas decorations one year, which was also never an 'issue' to be discussed and debated in the news. It just was.

Yet, there was nothing like that in the novels I was reading. I wasn't even a particularly avid reader, back then, either, because I didn't have the time between school and TV. I was obsessed with crime shows like CSI from a young age, because I wanted to be a forensic scientist or an archaeologist - I was a serious child, as I think you can tell, by now. Books never really factored into it, unless they were non-fiction or the occasional Roahl Dahl or Sweet Valley High. There were never any characters, minor or major, that represented people I knew or that I wanted to read about, and I guess that's why I wasn't a huge fan of reading, back then.

It was much later, in my early twenties that I began focusing more on my writing and getting published. Purely by accident, I found a book on Amazon that was free and claimed to be 'mm'. Whatever that meant. I read it, loved it, and started searching for other books like it. FINALLY, there were people in books who were like the people I knew in real life. It was also around this time that I realised I was asexual - thanks to an article in New Scientist magazine, so thanks for that New Scientist! - and I began realising that although I loved to read about romances and didn't mind the hotter pages, at all, it just wasn't something *I* was interested in. You could say it was an awakening, of sorts. Perhaps a bit late, but then from the ages of 15-19 I was more concerned with staying alive, because of cancer, chemo and recovering from all that, so I don't think it's anything that can really be judged too harshly.

Up to this point, I had been secretly writing stories for years! From at least the age of twelve or thirteen. I remember staying at my gran's house one summer and asking if I could borrow a book from her bookcase, to read at nights. I picked up 'The Beach' - something she'd picked up for about 50p at the library sale table and hadn't read yet. Well, I read it and I wasn't nearly old enough to. I went back for another book and found this set of 3 Mills and Boons books. Nope, not old enough for them, either. But they sure were an awakening. Well, of a writer's sort. You see, I found issues in the books and the plots. I hate the whole Alpha male trope where the guy is basically a stalker, there's domestic abuse all over the place, and all the girl does is swoon at it. So I got a notebook and secretly rewrote parts of the plots - sorry Mills and Boons!

My writing career began, writing dirty snippets of Mills and Boons books, at an age I should never have been writing about what went on behind waterfalls between two adults who had been fighting sexual attraction for years. But, I began writing my own stories, starting with the Secrets of Avelina Chronicles and The Devereaux Case Files, both MF leads and both dramatic as all get out. Also, both terrible. I'm sorry for anyone who had to read them, because I know now that I can do SO much better!

Anyway, I wrote them and then a dozen more followed. As bad as it sounds, I never really liked them. There was always 'something' wrong with them that I couldn't put my finger on. I thought that it was just a case of self-doubt, because I didn't have any training, any experience and I had no real idea what I was doing other than writing what came naturally to me. MF was all I had ever read, so I never considered writing anything else. Of course, like my real life, there were minor LGBT characters, but I had never seen one have their own book at that point and, really, what did I know about being gay? I didn't have a sexual attraction to anyone, but I had read enough books to know what to write, how to write it and what was 'popular' - don't stone me for saying that! I was innocent and naive.

Eventually, once I discovered the MM genre in my reading, I began realising that I *could* write LGBT main characters. It was a real thing. I wouldn't be the only one who felt more natural writing from a male perspective (that probably means something, psychologically, but I have no idea what it is). All I knew was that I hated those simpering women from novels and I hated that, to fit in, I had to write them. At least, that was what I believed, at first. So I usually wrote more often from the male POV, because they could be strong and independent without limits or expectations and readers wouldn't get angry with me for it or say that I was some 'feminist' (still a dirty word, back then, for a writer). I really just wanted to write stories I loved, that people would like...and it was that last part that kept me prisoner to the MF genre for such a long time.

I didn't have the confidence or knowledge to break out and do something (that I thought at the time) revolutionary. I didn't believe in myself or my work enough to say - here I am, this is what I want to write and if you like it, great. If not, that's okay, but it's what I'm going to keep writing. It took YEARS to get to that place, and only after my first few novels had been published. Unsurprisingly (because I've read them!) they didn't sell well. I also had no idea how to promote myself, so that was a big factor.

But, even with the book in my hand, in paperback form, I wasn't happy with it. I wanted to change so much that I actually hated the fact that my mum placed it in the living room, in a case, on a book stand, for everyone to see. Because, though I didn't tell anyone, every time I looked at it, I felt like a failure. I had put something out there that was only half me. It was only part of what it should have been, because I hadn't been brave enough to really be me with it.

After reading MM books for about a year or so, I finally put my hand to writing it. My first attempt was Decadent, the single novel in its original format. It was kind of awful, too. But, by then, I had learned a lot and it was accepted by CHBB for publishing. They taught me how to market, how to brand, how to BE an author, and I found some amazing beta readers, one of which taught me what I'd done wrong with the story. I had given it an unnatural progression because that was what I had read in other MM books. Jumping straight to the dirty stuff. Again, I was making the same mistakes - doing what was popular, what I had read, and not listening to myself. When I got that feedback that it moved too fast, I instantly knew what was wrong, because I'd thought the same thing while writing it. So, I took a deep breath, pulled my big girl pants up and started rewriting...how I wanted it rewritten. The beta's approved. The buyers approved. It did well.

I started writing - and reading - more MM stories. Eventually, I stopped writing new MF stories and only gave the completed stories to my other publisher. I still wasn't happy with them, but I had read so much online, in groups and articles, about people changing their MF books to MM and being criticised for it, with readers saying they did it to corner both markets, that they were just looking for more money. I didn't want anyone to think that of me, so I kept my awful MF versions for a long time.

I was STILL caring too much about 'what people might say', as I always had.

After my second MM book was published, I sort of found myself. I found that I was more comfortable writing MM books, that it felt more natural and that I loved the way I could be more free with my storylines and characters, within them. I opened up, creatively. That was when I learned to do what I wanted to do with my stories. Maybe people wouldn't like it, but I was finally being real with myself and faithful to who I was.

A couple of years in, I began looking at my old stories and realising what I hated about them. I had never been made to write MF stories, but it was all I knew, at the time. And if there's one piece of writing advice that has been going around for eons, it's 'write what you know'. I knew MF, because it was every book I'd ever read. So that's what I wrote.

Once I knew MM existed, it was all I could write. All I still can write. I've tried going back to MF, but there are just so many stipulations to it, if you want a publisher to accept you. So many tropes that make me teeth itch and I just can't do it. I can't go back to being that person who just wrote what other people wanted. I've learned who I am as an author, a writer, and a person, so I have to be true to that.

Even if that means turning my awful MF stories into MM's. Because the reality is that they were probably always meant to be that way. Any time I wrote a strong female, she was regarded as too pushy or unrealistic or a feminist. That, or I was trying to copy the likes of Sookie Stackhouse or Anita Blake, because clearly any strong female had to be a carbon copy of someone else's strong female. But, if you write a strong male, he's not compared to anyone else. If you write a man who cries or who is sensitive in any way, he's not labelled a sissy or weak or beneath his counterpart. He's just as strong for being expressive. Femme, butch, androgynous - whatever a man is in a MM story, he's real and natural, because there are all kinds of men in the world. The same is never said about women. Not in novels.

Over the last two or three years, I've become more comfortable converting my old MF stories into MM's. It's so natural and so simple to make the change and that's the real reason I believe it was meant to be that way. If it wasn't, then surely it would be harder. I'm not just changing the pronouns and hoping no one notices. Each book gets a complete rewrite, because I've grown so much since then that they need that change.

Since the rights to some of my books were returned to me, I've been making plans for how to improve them. Recent changes include the novel Esthim, the story Darkness in the Blood being integrated into MM series Creatures of the Night, and plans to have the entire Secrets of Avelina Chronicles and Belesone Pack Trilogy novels converted into extensions of the Creatures of the Night spin-off, Rediscovering Vihaan. The novel Courage in the Kiss will be integrated into The Tales of S'Idiaz, a spin-off trilogy to follow on from the events of The Tales of Talyn. All of them need major rewrites, major plot changes and a complete overhaul. But I'm willing to put in the world, because the foundations are good; it's just a hard truth that they need to be knocked down, brought back to the bare bones and rebuilt.

Eventually, the only MF stories of mine that will be published will be those that are within anthologies still on sale, that I can't change. It will be confusing, because there are shorts for The Belesone Pack Trilogy and The Secrets of Avelina Chronicles in two of those anthologies, but nothing can be done about that. They'll need to remain stand alones and, maybe, depending on the changes I make to the original plots, I might leave the originals on Wattpad, for free, so that people can still read the rest. However, that will be at the discretion of my publisher, if they're accepted in their rebuilt form.

That's still far in the future. For now, I'm working one story at a time. I have so many WIP's that it will take a LONG time to get round to it all, but, in the end, I will have books that I'm proud to put my name to. Books that represent me.

Teaser Tuesday: Deal With the Devil

#teasertuesday

Deal With the Devil, Cacodemon Book 1, by Elaine White

http://smarturl.it/Cacodemon1.DWTD

Created by a demon, can Perry bring out the angel within?

#RockStar #MM #Cacodemon #lgbtq #indieauthor #mmromance #supernatural

 

 

Source: http://smarturl.it/Cacodemon1.DWTD
Smoke Signals by Meredith Katz
Smoke Signals by Meredith Katz

Mike St. George figured that working customer support during the Black Friday sale at SmokeSignals, a game distribution company, would just feature the usual sort of problem customers. He wasn't expecting an aristocratic, self-centered dragon to demand the company send someone to his house to install games in exchange for gold. And he definitely wasn't expecting that to somehow put him in charge of working with and protecting the digital side of the dragon's hoard of games. 

But with a possible promotion in his future, Mike's ready to take on anything. And while the blue-blooded Zali'thurg might be egotistical and prideful, Mike's wrangled worse customers on a regular basis. At least this one's cute, albeit in an 'apex predator' sort of way.

 

~

 

REVIEW

 

Book – Smoke Signals
Author – Meredith Katz
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 83
Cover – Cute!
POV – 3rd person, one character
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, Paranormal/Supernatural, Dragons


** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **



This was all kinds of adorable!
I loved Michael and Zali'thurg, together and apart. They were really well written and well explored characters, with great chemistry that built slowly but was so cute to watch.
The writing was perfectly on point to suit my tastes, with the right amount of description, showing/telling, and attention to detail that I never felt out of place. The world building was great, making it clear from the start that this was a contemporary world that just happened to have real dragons in it.
The game Zali'thurg made for Michael was the most adorable thing I've ever seen.
I loved how open and honest Michael was, even with someone he was intimidated by, and how he was happy in his skin, happy to be himself unashamedly. His knitting was a really nice addition, especially when it came to the slippers, and I loved that he owned that side of him, even in the face of Zali'thurg's attention.
There were some small editing issues, but nothing that impacted my reading or the flow of the story.

Overall, it was an excellently written story about geeks, romance and dragons. And, really, what more can you ask for?

~

Favourite Quote

“It just figured that the exceedingly rich asshole of a customer he had to deal with face to face not only could literally eat him alive, but could also transform at will into the heartthrob of the century. That hardly seemed fair.”

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38880586-smoke-signals
"“We're always with you, Konnor. You mean so much to all of us, in different ways. I know Grayson is doing this because he loves you and wants you to realise how important you are to us,” he whispered, gently carding his fingers through Konnor's hair in that way he loved. “If you're not ready, I'll fight him every step and even get Darren to talk to Rico about it. But if you're just scared, then I'll be with you for every second of it, to hold your hand, to be with you, and to make sure you're safe.”
The promise meant so much that all he could do was bury his face in Lachlan's shoulder and take slow, deep breaths.
There was no appropriate response to that. There was no appropriate response to any of it, but Konnor knew he didn't need words right now. Everything he needed to say – everything Lachlan was trying to say to him – was said through that hug.
Loyalty. Friendship. Undying love and devotion."

Decadent: The Reunion

book 5 in the Decadent Series

by Elaine White

 

Facts About Me: Favourite Books

As you all know, I'm a huge fan of reading, so I thought it would be fun to have a little run down of my all time favourite books. But, as a reader and writer of MM romance, I'm sure you'll be surprised to find that not all of my favourite books are in that genre. In fact, I could easily cut it in half...so I will.

 

Here's my Top 10 favourite MM series, and my Top 10 non-MM series. That way, if you read one genre but not the other, then you can skip one list and just check out the books on the one you're interested in.

 

Happy Reading!

 

~

 

Top 10 MF Series

 

1. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

2. Awakened by Blood by Marie Treanor

3. Amelia Peabody by Elizabeth Peters

4. Dark/Carpathian by Christine Feehan

5. Cornelius Quaint Chronicles by Darren Craske

6. The Chadash Chronicles by David G. Johnson

7. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

8. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

9. Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia

10. The Elders and Welders Chronicles by Margaret Foxe

 

~

 

Top 10 MM Series

 

1. Life Lessons by Kaje Harper

2. The Hampton Road Club by Morticia Knight

3. North Pole City Tales by Charlie Cochet

4. A Study in Demonology by T.J. Nichols

5. The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge by Jacob Z. Flores

6. The Immemorial Year by T.J. Klune

7. Being(s) in Love by R. Cooper

8. The Crofton Chronicles by Rebecca Cohen

9. A Planet Called Wish by Caitlin Ricci

10. The Chronicles of Tournai by Antonia Aquilante

 

~

Teaser Tuesday: Collide

#teasertuesday

Collide

COMING SOON

Part of the 'All You Need Is Love' Anthology

#anthology #geek #indieauthor #contemporary #lgbt

 

 

The Book Knights: An Arthurian Fantasy by J.G. McKenney
The Book Knights: An Arthurian Fantasy by J.G. McKenney

Netgalley TBR

 

When her parents are condemned to death by Morgan Fay for the crime of reading, Arti Penderhagen becomes a fugitive. Hunted by Mordred, the sadistic police captain who recites poetry to enhance his physical strength, Arti escapes to the Isle of Avalon, a sanctuary for outlaws. There she meets an old librarian named Merl who tells her about the Grail Tome, an ancient book in Morgan Fay's possession that can alter the course of history. Can Arti steal the book in time to save her family? 

THE BOOK KNIGHTS is an Arthurian YA fantasy adventure in which knights wield words as weapons, librarians are wizards, and books can change the future. 

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35620805-the-book-knights