Q&A with @kj_charles, for @QueerRomance Month

As you heard me say recently, October is Queer Romance Month! Along with other themed posts I’ll be bringing to you, my readers, I have a special one today. KJ Charles, one of QRM’s organizers, was kind enough to answer a few questions about queer romance with you all today. Hope you enjoy and I hope you’re enjoying the month of celebration!

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This mini-interview with one of our contributors is brought to you in support of Queer Romance Month.

QRM runs throughout October, celebrating love stories in all shades of the rainbow in all shades of romance. Join us, and over a hundred LGBTQ+ authors and allies, for essays, flash-fiction and much, much more.

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Q&A with KJ Charles

  1. A queer romance you’d recommend to a newcomer

I’ve been reccing Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon a lot. It’s a lovely f/f story that’s about class and family and finding someone who appreciates you for who you are, and very sexy with it. I very rarely read NA, it’s not my thing, but this was one of the few (along with Amy Jo Cousins‘ Off Campus) that makes me see what people love about it.

  1. Recommend a book you love, but feel is under appreciated

I read a kind of threesome (not that kind) last year. The Devil Lancer by Astrid Amara is an amazing Crimean War-set historical paranormal. Tournament of Shadows by SA Meade is also Crimean-set, not paranormal, and focusing on the espionage of the war (I would pay good money for more Great Game romances. In the Presence of Mine Enemy by Helena Maeve brings us up to modern spy times. All marvellously atmospheric m/m romances, compellingly readable and convincingly grounded, that deserved a lot more attention.

  1. Favourite queer romance hero

I’m a sucker for flawed protagonists in any form of romance. Milord in Alexis Hall‘s Prosperity (who has his own story in Shackles) is an unrepentantly bad, bad man. Adore. Elijah in The Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis by EE Ottoman is cheerfully inhuman (literally). The Duke of Darlington in Untamed by Anna Cowan is a bi cross-dressing psychological wreck with a foul temper. They all make me very happy.

  1. What do you think is the future of queer romance?

Very firmly, that it’s romance. I think that as more and more of the big publishers see that there’s a hungry readership out there, as more big-name authors and opinion formers read and write queer romance and bring queer stories into het series and so on, and most of all as more readers discover the terrific stories being told, it will become harder for anyone to justify treating queer romance as something to be sold separately or corralled off into a corner. I love this when I see it happening: people saying ‘I’m in the mood for an unusual historical’ or ‘massive UST’ or whatever, and the answers reccing books regardless of the identities of the protagonists. Because that’s not the defining factor people are looking at

What I mean is: I’d recommend Treasure, to give my first example, as a lesbian romance, or as a romance featuring POC main characters, or as an NA, or as a class-divide story, or as a contemporary romance, because it is all of those things, not just the first. I think it’s slowly dawning on publishers and booksellers that you sell more copies if you don’t type a book as just one thing, or hide it in just one channel. And selling more copies is, of course, the great motor of publishing change.

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If you’re new to KJ Charles’ work, here’s a little bit about her latest release…

A Fashionable IndulgenceIn the first novel of an explosive new series from K. J. Charles, a young gentleman and his elegant mentor fight for love in a world of wealth, power, and manipulation.

When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.

After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.

You can find this novel on:

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Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

About the Author:

KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.

Find out more:

Fan Interview #3 – Questions from @lynniespalmtree and @KIMPITBULL123

Today I’m posting what seems to be the final set of fan-asked interview questions. I’ve yet to receive more, so four interviewees will be the end number (for now). These two came from a few long time fans and they’re some good questions for me as a writer. Hope you enjoy them.

And if you’d like to send in some questions, I’d be happy to answer them. You can send them in at any time (even a year from now). Here’s the original post looking for them if you’d like to check that out and find out how to send in the questions.

Thanks in advance, and thank you to those who’ve already asked some great things.

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Kristalyn Thornock

I know you write fantastic poetry, do you ever plan to write a full length novel or series?

I’m going to say that’s highly unlikely. It’s hard enough for me to come up with a short story that’s over a thousand words. So a novel is probably out of the question, as well as a series. The closest thing to a “series” that I had planned was a series of semi-connected stories dealing with Nick and Julie from Breakfast in Bed. However, that idea never really took off. Haven’t really been caring about that genre enough to right it. I might get a short story “series” or collection together at some point if I find a connecting theme or character to write.

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Kim Stapf 

Does writing come easy for you?

It used to. I used to write at least a poem a day for a long time. Then it was less often, but still often enough. The change for that was that I was taking more time to get better work on paper the first time, rather than let it fix itself in revisions.

Lately though (not too long after publishing From Where I Stand, I haven’t written much at all. Nothing I do helps get it out of me, but I keep hoping something will kick me in the ass. Once I’m “in” the writing mode…it doesn’t come hard for me. I still wouldn’t call it easy though. It’s not a term I’d put on it. It’s more enjoyable when you have to work for it a bit.

Can you look at something and see a poem or story?

Sort of. Inspiration can come from an object or situation happening in front of me. Sometimes it takes a while for something to click into place though. Inspiration’s a funny thing.

Fan Interview #1 – @cerebraltart interviews Me

For the last few weeks, I’ve been asking my readers to send in questions that they’ve been wanting to ask me. They could be about me as an author, a blogger, or even me as a reader. Almost anything goes.

So far, the response hasn’t been that big, but I’m hoping that now that September is here and that I’m posting my responses to these questions, more people will send some good ones in. I really think this can be both fun and informative and ultimately, a great addition to the blog.

If you’d like to send in some questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Here’s the original post looking for them if you’d like to check that out and find out how to send in the questions.

Thanks in advance, and thank you to those who’ve already asked some great things.

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Today’s interviewer is author India Reid. You can find more about her on her website, TwitterFacebook, and Goodreads

When did you first start to feel like a “real” writer?

I’m not sure really. I think there have been a few times in my writing life where I’ve had different levels of “I’m a writer” in my mind. After writing my first poem in 11th grade was when I first felt like I’m some sort of a poet. However, it wasn’t until after I graduated my first college that I even considered myself a writer enough to pursue getting better at it. That’s when I started working on my creative writing degree. The program itself didn’t make me feel like I was a writer until late in the game. I blame that on the education system, not the CW professors or department at all. There was just a lack of time for those IMPORTANT courses when each student was required to complete so many other classes outside of their major. A big “I’m a writer” moment was sometime in my last semester of college, I think. When I was working on what would later expand to be From Where I Stand and getting feedback from my professor on my work. It felt like I was “really doing it”. My stuff was good and had potential to be better. It also helped that in that course we had to organize a public reading of a bit of what we were working on. Getting a reaction from a nice sized audience was probably what I needed all along for me to feel like I was doing something great.

How often do you write?

I wish I could say I write every day. I used to back in high school and early in college. I’d write at least a poem (whether it was good or bad) every day or multiple times a day. Lately (the last year or so) I seem to be in a BIG funk. I keep wanting to sit down and write something, but nothing happens. I need to fix that big time. I need a good kick in the ass probably and to not just accept that inspiration hasn’t hit yet. The dry spell has lasted too long.

What’s your word count per day like?

I don’t write like that and to be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever write with a word count goal of any sort. It seems to be the only way some writers work, but for me, I’ll either write a lot or a little, but all that matters is that I wrote and it’s semi-usable material.

Part of this might be because I write poetry a majority of the time, too. You can’t really put a word count on that form of writing. I have some poems that are only 30 words, but they can get a better reaction from my audience than another poem that’s 200 words. I tend to write shorter poems anyway. If I were to have a “goal” for a day, I think I’d be safer setting a goal like “edit X poems per work day”. It wouldn’t even be about writing them, but reworking them. That’s where the real work comes in for me after I’ve gotten it down on paper.

Question and Answer Time! (Please Share Around)

I haven’t been interviewed in quite a long time, but maybe some of my readers would like me to be. Recently, I thought about this and came up with an idea: How about my readers interview me!

I’m going to be away from the computer until early next week, so I think this would be a great time to start collecting some interview questions to answer upon my return.

I’ll make this simple as to not bore anyone. If you’ve ever wanted to ask me something, this is your time. I’ll link my contact form below, and all you need to do is write in your question. Then I’ll gather them all up and answer them in a series of posts. I think it’ll be a great way for you all to get to know me better and for me to get to know my readers a bit.

All I ask: Help me organize these questions. In the subject box please type it whether the question is aimed at me as an author, blogger, reader, etc. This way I can group the questions and answers as more of an “author interview” or “blogger interview” for example.

Almost anything goes, just keep in mind that these questions will be made public. But I won’t put your name with them if you don’t want to. If you’d like me to list your name just let me know. Also, I can link to your website or social media link of your choice if you include one. I’m all for helping people connect.

So here’s the contact form. Please share this post around for me while I’m gone. I hope I’ll get flooded with questions. This can become a very fun series of posts.

ASK YOUR QUESTION(S) HERE

#Interview with poet, @InkAshling

As you may recall, I recently reviewed My Heart’s Choir Sings, a novella in verse by Maureen Flynn. It’s been awhile since I’ve done an interview for the blog. To remedy this, I used this opportunity to jump back into my reviewing shoes all while answering some questions I had about the author and novella.

I hope you learn something new about Maureen and her book, and if you’d like to check it out, you can find out more at the end of the interview.fancy line

Can you tell a little about yourself and your writing background?

I have always loved reading and writing genre fiction, especially fantasy. I wrote poetry on the side to deal with teenage angst so it is pretty ironic that my first publication is a book in verse! Now I can’t stop writing stories in poetry. My current project is a verse novel that retells the story of Merlin. Its tentative title is Harp Song and I hope to have it out at the end of the year.

I studied history and politics and am currently studying to become a teacher. People say that working with young people helps you to write great stories and I think there is some truth in this. Kids want to be entertained but they aren’t as dumb as people make them out to be. They grasp a lot about the adult world and sometimes they sense its ugly truth. I think this is why I love young adult genre fiction. The best doesn’t talk down to the reader but it’s still full of imagination and fun.

 

You call My Heart’s Choir Sings a verse novella. Can you explain that concept to the readers?

It was a tough call. I didn’t know what to call My Heart’s Choir Sings. It isn’t quite a themed collection, in that there is a complex relationship story in the 25 poems but it isn’t long enough to be a verse novel either. It also isn’t a linear story to throw a spanner in the works. I settled on verse novella, or a story told in poetry in a novella size, because to me this highlights the fact that there is a concrete story that links these poems. I have had readers say that the poems can stand alone, but ultimately, each poem works best as a whole.

 

What will readers find within the novella? Does it deal with any particular themes?

Think Ted Hughes Birthday Letters meets Dorothy Porter’s verse novels and you’d have My Heart’s Choir      Sings. This is the story of Stewart Hinchcliffe, a writer and an artist who loses his lover and fellow creative in tragic circumstances. As he cleans out their old apartment, each new object brings back bittersweet memories. Throughout the 25 poem sequence, grief, guilt and anger color his memories. Who is to blame for what happened? Where did everything go wrong? And how on earth does Stuart move on from his past?

As the above synopsis indicates, this is a novella of relationships, to be exact, one relationship gone wrong. Stewart feels so much love and grief and guilt as he remembers his dead lover and that’s drenched throughout ‘his’ poetry. In reality, it is his extended eulogy to this dead woman. Reoccurring motifs are books and words, the colour blue and the ocean as well as emotional failure to communicate. It’s a sad story but it ends on a note of hope.

 

I know one of your influences for this book is Dorothy Porter. What is it about her writing that influences you the most?

I discovered Dorothy Porter in a first year university subject and never looked back. I always thought that poetry was rules based and had to have a specific structure. The only real experience I’d had with free verse poetry was that most of it was pretty awful. What Porter introduced to me was this idea of a verse novel that tells a story, whilst still being well written verse that packs an emotional punch. All of Porter’s novels are sharp and sexy and emotional and meaty. She said so much with so little. It is dreadfully sad that she died so young.

 

What’s next? Do you have more poetic projects on the horizon or will you be sharing some prose work in the near future?

As I briefly mentioned earlier, I am working on a full-length verse novel about Merlin of King Arthur fame. I have always liked and read a lot of Arthurian legend and literature. As a kid I devoured Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy and this verse novel owes a lot to her historical vision of Dark Ages Britain. I am roughly a quarter of the way through and going strong. I’ll bang out a first draft and then get my editor in and start drawing out the themes and motifs and cleaning up the verse.

I am also working on a bunch of speculative fiction short stories to market to Australian magazines this year, as well as a young adult fantasy novel or two. I will hopefully be working with a fantasy author this year too so there is definitely a lot happening!

 

Who are some of your other favorite authors and books?

I actually hate this question because I find this so hard to answer. So many books have shaped and inspired my writing. Favourite authors include Isobelle Carmody, Philip Pullman, Juliet Marillier, Lemony Snicket and Agatha Christie. I read less poetry but I love the verse novels of Dorothy Porter, the work of Ted Hughes and I recently enjoyed The Prophet by Khalil Gibran.

 

So far, having just recently released your debut self-published book, are you enjoying the experience of being on this side of the publishing world? Is it a little scary? Rewarding? Educational? Haha, there seems to always be something else to learn right around the corner.

I had no illusions about self publishing poetry. Poetry is a niche market and I am a young writer with no formal qualification in poetry, publishing, of all things, a verse novella. How much more obscure can I get?

Yes, self publishing has been scary because putting your work out to the public is always scary, but it’s been rewarding and fun to have a readership, even if only a small one currently.

It has definitely been educational! I always intended to self publish as an experiment because I think it’s something every aspiring author should know about. I intend to continue to self publish my poetry, but to try and get my genre prose works published by a mainstream publisher. Wish me luck!

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My Heart's Choir SingsYou can grab a copy of of this novella from:

Amazon | Smashwords

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You can find more on Flynn…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Smashwords author page

 

#Review: According to the List, by D.E.E.L

Title: According to the ListAccording to the List
Author: D.E.E.L
Rating: 4/5 stars

“‘According to the List’ is a short story that reflects the personal views of the author in terms of many of life’s question. What would you do if you won the lottery? If you were stranded on an island? What do you need in life in order to be happy? A writer may drown themselves away from the world, but the words will always be there. Written in a poetic narrative style venture through this short story along with D.e.e.L and his outlook on the word and the beauty that it truly holds. Bliss is out there for everyone.” (description from Goodreads)

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Even though this is listed as a piece of fiction, there may ever well be much of the author in these words. As the title suggests, this narrative follow a list-like pattern. it shines light on the narrator’s aspirations and some random tangents a mind can wander on.

I could relate well wit the narrator, not only because he is a writer, but also because he seemed to dwell on many thoughts I find myself considering often, as well.

This might be a short piece, but D.E.E.L’s style is one to be appreciated, for its beautiful simplicity and poetic feel. It was a great introduction to this author’s work, for me as a reader.

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You can pick up a free (at the time of posting) copy of this story from:

Smashwords

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About the Author:

D.e.e.L is the author of various Ebooks available on Smashwords as well as the story collection Blissfire that is available in both paperback and Ebook (via-Kindle/nook). He writes in almost every genre and aspires to keep on writing even more. To see his daily writing habits visit his website, or follow him on Twitter.

Find out more:

An Interview On Emerald Barnes’ Blog

I’d just like to share that I’ve been interviewed by author and blogger Emerald Barnes. I’ve been doing a number of interviews for the recently concluded From Where I Stand Blog Tour, but jumped at the opportunity to be interviewed by Emerald. I have fun answering her questions, and I’d like to point out that there’s an exclusive bit of information about an upcoming project in there at the end. That’s a great reason to stop on over and read the interview right? I think so.

 

Interview with Emerald Barnes

 

While you’re there, you might like to check out some of Emerald’s writing. She’s the author of Piercing Through the Darkness and Read Me Dead. Both are on my TBR, and I think some of you might think to add them as well.

Enjoy the interview and don’t be a stranger to Barnes’ blog!