Monday, 7 April 2014

Therese Takes Over

Hello, everyone! Therese Woodson here and I’m guest posting on Lillian’s blog today to promote my newest novella Clockwork Horizon.

The story follows the life of Malachi Covington, an affluent resident of Aerial City, who lives by the stringent expectations of his wealthy uncle. However, Malachi dreams of airships and adventure. He meets Ian, a charming airship pilot, who agrees to show him the ropes aboard the Mockingbird. With Ian’s encouragement, Malachi breaks out of his shell and embarks on his own adventure.

The fun part about writing this novella was definitely building the steampunk world. Not only is it filled with airships and clockwork trinkets, but it also has a distinctive vocabulary and its own superstitions and lore. Developing the airship culture was my favorite part and writing Ian’s view of the world versus Malachi’s was an interesting dynamic to explore. I feel like these two have many more adventures to tell. One of those is the sequel, Clockwork Bargain, that I just found out is slated for release in November/December!

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Official Blurb: As a major airship port, Aerial City welcomes visitors from all over the world. Despite being surrounded by new inventions and colorful people, Malachi Covington partakes of little outside his books and studies. He aches for adventure and excitement but labors under the rules and expectations of his wealthy uncle.

Five airships arrive in port, keeping his uncle busy and, as Malachi’s best friend Millie reminds him, they’re carrying parties full of crew members. Excitement finds him in the form of Ian, a charming airship pilot who invites him to tour his ship, the Mockingbird. With Ian at his side, Malachi discovers a world beyond his books and takes daring steps to become his own man.

An electric tension rose in the air, a heady sense of attraction building in the scant inches between them. Malachi wanted to reach out and touch, trail his fingers over the soft-looking skin at Ian’s collar, trace the shell of his ear, interlock their fingers. Malachi’s body hummed with it, his skin tingling in the slight breeze, his face flushing with warmth.
“You….” Ian licked his lips. “You really are a sight for a man who has had nothing to look at but his crewmates and the sky for the past three months.”
Malachi straightened from his slouch against the pub. It put him in Ian’s space, something he hadn’t planned but wasn’t sorry for.
“I knew you worked on an airship!”
Ian raised an eyebrow. “I thought it was obvious.”
Malachi winced. “Well, I don’t… I’ve never… I’m not allowed….” He stuttered, curled his hands into fists, and blew out a breath. “I don’t get a chance to meet many people.”
“Really? What do you do, then?”
Malachi nervously licked his lips, and Ian’s steady gaze dropped to his mouth. “I study,” Malachi said. “I read.”
“Books like on the merchant cart? The adventure ones?”
Malachi blushed. “I don’t have much adventure in my life.”
Ian reached out and brushed his fingertips along Malachi’s wrist, and Malachi’s fingers instantly slackened from their defensive curl. He took Malachi’s hand in his, and Malachi snapped his mouth shut. He stared at the sight of Ian’s fingers wrapped around his own, the contrast of tan and calloused against pale and soft. Malachi met Ian’s gaze, and Ian stared at him, amused but fond.
“You don’t have to explain anything to me, Mac,” he said. “But I get the feeling you might like to come see the ship.”
Malachi nodded, giddy with excitement, heart in his throat. “I’d love to.”
Ian twined their fingers. “Good.”
Author Bio: Therese Woodson is a wife, mother of two, and writer of stories, who lives in the Blue Ridge mountains. She is an avid reader of all literature. She holds two degrees—one in Psychology and one in English Literature and hopes to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing in the near future. She is a fan of watching bad television shows, superhero movies, and anything sci-fi. She loves creating interesting characters, universes, and plots with happy endings.

Purchase Links: Dreamspinner

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @writer_reese

Friday, 21 March 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

Thanks to Katherine Halle for tagging me in this blog tour. Check out the post about her own writing process here.
I haven’t tagged anyone of my own but if you are a writer and you wish to take the baton and run with it, be my guest. I’d love a mention (and a link back to this post) on your blog if you do. Or not, the choice is yours. 

1) What am I working on?

Normally I like to just work on one project at a time; it helps me keep characters and storylines straight in my head. If I have an issue with a particular part of a story I tend to pass over it and go on to a part that is flowing. I’d never jump to another story to avoid writer’s block.
That being said, what am I working on? 
I’ve just sent Under the Radar, a WW2 spy story set on a submarine, off for submission. A story of traitors, heroes, new beginnings and, of course, love beneath the waves.
I’ve been adding some chapters to Theory Unproven, my contemporary story set in a South African elephant reserve, for a Revise and Resubmit.
A plot bunny for a short contemporary wormed its way into my brain while I was attempting to work on something else and I had to write that before anything else. It’s now finished and out with crit partners. 
I’ve outlined a 1920s master and valet style mystery which will hopefully be light in tone but I'm thinking about deferring that (and all the research it would entail) for a contemporary about miscommunication and language barriers.

 photo 5f4f8978-8bce-4e3a-86a4-d08b9c6d2845_zps08aa5a90.jpg 2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t know that it does. Ultimately, for all the different styles (historical, contemporary, paranormal) and settings (South Africa, London, Boston, the ocean), my stories are about two guys falling in love. It isn’t always easy (readers who have followed me since pre publication days will tell you I never make things easy for my characters) but they get there in the end.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I’d been trying to write a book for years, there are still pages of handwritten notes and research from before the days when everyone owned at least one computer in the home. But the words wouldn’t flow right, they never sat comfortably on the page for me and I couldn’t work out why. The novel got shelved, along with my dreams of being a writer, and I got on with normal life. 
Then I discovered fan fiction. Slash fan fiction, except my slash couple soon became canon. Reading fan fiction, watching the show, inspired me to write again. Seeing what a friggin mess the official writers made of my OTP, forced me to continue writing. I (and thousands like me) had to put things right.
But soon I found myself restricted by the confines of the show, I started placing those characters in settings and time periods that they would never be in (not without a TARDIS, anyway). And as my settings got further removed from the show, so did the actions of the characters until I found I was having to force them to act like their show counterparts. I’d always prided myself on making the characters recognisable whatever the setting, so the first time I found myself making apologies to readers for OOC behaviour I decided it was time to branch out on my own, without the benefit of a guaranteed readership, and let my characters go where they wanted.
I appear to have gone off at a tangent there, but why do I write what I write? Because they are the stories that inspire me to put pen to paper. Because a tv show lit the touch paper and then shuffled back to let me take to the skies of my own imagination. And, while the show in question ultimately broke my heart, I have to thank it for reviving my dream.

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4) How does your writing process work? 

I am so disorganised. When the muse strikes I have a tendency to grab the nearest thing and start writing; consequently my house is filled with notebooks, ideas and scenes scribbled willy-nilly amongst their pages. It is commonplace for me to find ideas of scenes or lines of dialogue for stories long since written.
When it comes to the actual writing itself, I’m generally a fly by the seat of my pants kind of writer. I rarely outline (the story I mentioned above was slightly different in that I had several scenes already partially scribbled in my notebooks and I wanted to get them typed up and into some sort of order), but work off several key scenes that are already alive on paper and let the story and characters grow around them. 
My characters are never fully formed before I start. It’s unlikely I will even know their names when I first sit down to write (they regularly start life as X and Y!). Some traits might be in my head for each character but often I see how they react to a given situation, assessing whether that fits with their behaviour previously. I’ll make more notes as I go, confirming eye colour, number of siblings, scars etc as I mention them to ensure continuity.
If I’m writing a historical or something that requires more knowledge than I possess, then I leave comment boxes with facts I want to check out, so as not to break the flow of the scene, and then I go back to them at a later date. Although not too much later. There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a manuscript only to discover one integral part of the plot isn’t actually feasible.
With a semblance of a story, I go back to the start, rereading reactions with my new knowledge of the characters and their motivations and behaviour. Or armed with more facts about, I dunno, the Franco Prussian war. This is when I add and reshape, polish the manuscript into something worth reading before it goes off to my crit partners.

I’m a slow writer, favouring novels that push at the top limits of the word count for most publishing houses in our genre, and this is reflected in the frequency of my new releases. 

I'm aware I have only a handful of dedicated readers out there, but never fear, even though you might not see anything new from me every couple of months (the industry recommendation for a successful author’s releases), I am still writing.

Sometimes I just get hung up in the details.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Guest post - Jo Myles

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Guess who's hanging out at my blog today?

Yep, it's my chum, Jo Myles and she's here to chat about Tailor Made, art, sewing and a sequel.

Hi Lillian, thanks for having me over to answer some questions today. Always a pleasure to hang out with you!

There is no mistaking you as a British author, it is reflected in every word that you write, whether it be in language, attitude or the area. In Tailor Made, much like Merry Gentlemen, Bath is a real and interesting backdrop to the story. Do you ever worry that your wholly British style might alienate some readers?

I’ve always known that could be an issue as so many other writers told me I had to Americanise if I wanted to get anywhere in m/m. However, I decided to make my Britishness a selling point, as at the time it was something so unusual in our genre, with most of the other British writers setting their stories in the States. I don’t really worry about it anymore, even though I know from occasionally browsing Amazon reviews of my titles that some readers are indeed put off. The thing is, I’m just not willing to compromise and Americanise my spelling and vocabulary. I do try to make sure any puzzling words can be understood in the context, but I don’t agree that my Britishness should be dumbed down so that people in other countries aren’t exposed to the unfamiliar.
I also know that there are readers who adore my British voice and plead with me to never give in and change it!

Modern conceptual art takes a battering in Tailor Made. Is this a case of author’s opinion creeping into the story or are you a fan of the ‘pile of bricks’ style of artistic expression?

Guilty of the former! I had to spend time studying conceptual art at college, and visited many Turner Prize exhibitions. Most of it leaves me cold, although it is often fascinating. Give me a more traditional painting, any day. I’m a big fan of Van Gogh, Emil Nolde, Marc Chagall, etc. Colour is my thing.

Felix is, well, let’s face it, he’s a tart. He’s quite blatant about the fact that he is willing to use sex to get what he wants. Is it a risk to use a character that at first glance might come across as unsympathetic, especially since readers apparently make up their mind about a book within the first twenty percent?

It probably is a risk, but I’d soon get bored with writing romance if I didn’t take some risks. That’s me, a compulsive risk taker. I’ve written both a hoarder and a man on dialysis as romantic heroes before. People told me I shouldn’t and that people wouldn’t want to read about them, but what do you know? Those books sold very well indeed ;)
And anyway, I LIKE unrepentant tarts. I’m not a fan of the idea that monogamy is the only way. Human sexuality is too varied and free to be crammed into little boxes like that.

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You are quite an accomplished seamstress. I vaguely recall talk of a steampunk style corset and skirt combo. What is your favourite item of clothing that you have made?

Ooh, tough call! The corset is probably the item of clothing I’m most proud of as I learnt so many new skills while making it, but I also have a real fondness for my purple hairpin lace crocheted dress and my red, 50s style halter dress. I favour making quite complex vintage-style patterns and enjoy getting garments to fit me perfectly.

Crocheting and knitting too? I understand there are some crocheted cocks knocking about somewhere. I’m hoping for a display of your handiwork at the UK Meet if you still have them.

The crocheted cocks are all Anne Tenino’s doing, but I do plan on making some kind of textile cock for the Cockwalk at GRL this year. I might go for a patchwork one, though...
And I’ll be wearing some of my handmade frocks at the Meet, I promise!

The dedication in this book had me grinning like a loon for days. You have no idea how happy it made me. I’m overwhelmed that my fangirling you via email got me a dedication rather than a restraining order. Not only that, but it got me that sequel that I’d been begging for. Can you tell us a little of what we can expect in the sequel? And when I we can get our grabby paws on it?

 photo CustomFit200x300_zpsada73549.jpg The sequel, Custom Fit, will pick up a couple of months after Tailor Made ends. Andrew and Felix have just moved into their own flat, and Felix has taken on a summer job roaming the streets dressed as a Roman Soldier, advertising a city centre business. He discovers he’s rather fond of wearing a skirt... but daring to wear women’s clothing in public is a line he’s very scared to cross.

Andrew, meanwhile, is mostly happy with their life together, and is busy making Felix a glamorous dress all of his own. The only problem in his life is figuring out how to get over his embarrassment over asking Felix if they can switch things up in bed.

It should be a fun, sexy novella, and I’m really looking forward to finding the time to write it next month. It should be out at the beginning of July, but I will be getting it professionally content edited so if there are significant issues, it might end up taking longer.

Thanks for having me round to chat, and I hope that isn’t too long for you to wait for more Andrew and Felix!

Jo x

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Should I be concerned about attending the UK Meet in June?

This breaking story on msn news implies that I should be.

Crocodile run free: mystery as creature 'on the loose' in Bristol

I'm particularly impressed by the advice of  Avon and Somerset Police's chief constable, advising people to 'think twice before you go water-skiing'.

The same story was covered in the Western Daily Press where it was confirmed that the police had established that Bristol Zoo 'had not lost a crocodile'.

Tempted to pack a giant butterfly net, just to be on the safe side.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Broken promises

I had semi-planned a post on flashbacks for this week, linking it in to Lovers Entwined and reminding people that there were several more hours to get a 30% rebate over at ARe on all books on the site published by Ellora's Cave.

However, earlier today I watched the last two episodes of Whitechapel series 4 in an effort to clear some space on my recorder for several new series I want to watch. For some reason these last few episodes had been hanging about on the box for ages; don't know why because I love the show, even though it can be creepy as f**k.

Having finished the two episodes and totally hyped up and eager to watch more, I took to the web to find out how long I would have to wait for Series Five, only to discover this tweet:

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news everyone but ITV don't want any more Whitechapel. That's all folks x

NOOOOOOO! I all but screamed (I was eating my dinner at the time--very bad form to have a tablet at the table but I had to know--and didn't want to spray pasta around the room). I surfed some more, just to verify the fact but it appeared to be true. No more Whitechapel! Why? They hadn't tied up all the loose ends, not to my satisfaction. Who was the creepy lady? Why was she targeting the team? Would the crime scene lady ever have her baby? Would Kent finally get into Chandler's well-tailored trousers?

I haven't been this disappointed by the cancellation of a show since the plug was pulled on Lois and Clark. Even after more than a decade my overriding memory of that last episode is the final shot with the words 'To be continued...' in bold white letters across the bottom of the screen. Liars!

It got me to wondering about author's who write series books. All I've researched suggests that this is the way to make sales. Readers will get behind a series, buy into the characters and keep coming back for more. Except how long can you continue to write about the same characters before it is time to finish their story. I think this question is especially valid in romance where a main feature of the storyline is the relationship. Few people want to see their heroes falling out of love once they've finally got their happy ending. Yes, I know life if is like that, but I don't don't read romance for the reality factor. I read it to get lost just for a few hours,safe in the knowledge that no matter what crap our heroes wade through, everything will turn out all right in the end. My definition of all right is dependant on the book and the characters, I need hope that they are travelling the road to a happy ever after, even if we don't see it. What I don't want is foreshadowing that could put doubt on the relationship you have already convinced me is, not only, for real, but hopefully, forever.

So did the characters in Whitechapel get their Happy Ending? Since the programme could in no way resemble a romance, is that even a valid question. There was foreshadowing a plenty for the series to come (which will never be) and, as you can see from above, plenty of unanswered questions. But each of the main characters had personal issues addressed to a certain degree and the writers appeared to be leading them to places where they could be happy. I have to wonder if the writers would have done anything differently had they known they were writing the last ever episode. Maybe not; neatly tied parcels of all the loose ends hardly seemed their thing.

At least they made me no promises.

To be Continued...


Saturday, 4 January 2014

First Blog of the Year

and I guess I should start by wishing everybody a Happy New Year.

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Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers ( / CC BY 3.0

I noticed that many of my favourite authors are posting their resolutions. I don't do resolutions, or at least I try not to but unfortunately it is too easy to be swept away by the good intentions of others. I do have a couple of goals for the year as far as my writing goes.

Blog more often. Once a month at least. Last year I set myself an unrealistic blogging target considering how much free time I get.

Try to post articles on other people's blogs. I'm well aware how little foot traffic this blog gets. Posting elsewhere will help get other people to see me. (I'm the author in the corner, too self conscious and unsure to come and play with the cool kids)

Get at least one book published this year. Maybe I'm being too picky with...everything. My writing. The publishers I submit to. The stories I tell. Why can't I write a series? Or short stories? Or about shifters, or men in uniform, or men with kids? Hell, if I could only write a series about a cop werewolf finding his mate, who has a small and adorable child in tow, and manage to keep the stories under 60K. Oh well, each to their own, you can only be true to the voices inside your head.

And just to contradict the statement I have just made about being too picky.
It's your story. Tell it the way you want it told. If you don't agree with the changes you've been asked to make, then don't change it. Is it worth making changes just to get the story published? For some I know it is. Me, I don't do it for the money (thank goodness or we would be living in the gutter), so if it doesn't feel right don't change it.

Get more people to buy Lovers Entwined. It's a better book than my sales figures give it credit for, I know it is.

To that end, did you know that All Romance ebooks are offering a 30% rebate on all Ellora's Cave books during January. And who publishes both Lovers Entwined and Lesson Learned? Yep, you've guessed it. So pop over there, read the blurb and see what you think. If you buy, then you can earn yourself credit to spend on other books. Win win.

And of course, let me know what you think, I'm always around on Goodreads, where you can rate and review (and I promise not to take any comments personally).

Happy New Year, my friends. Let's make it a good one.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Another sale

When Love Flue In is 20% off at Silver Publishing for one week only (11th-16th Dec).

Those of you who are eagle-eyed will notice that Silver have decided to change the title of my book in that promo with the omission of a single letter. Now my punny title implies that the story is about a severe cold bringing two lonely hearts together, when it is actually about a chimney sweep!