Top Five Holiday Movies

Well, it’s December. Officially. That means I can watch holiday movies and listen to holiday music without getting side eyes from people.

So, here are my top five holiday-themed movies, in no particular order:

– Love Actually (Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson kill me every time.)

– A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart version)

– A Christmas Carol (Animated version with Jim Carrey

– Last Holiday

– The Holiday

Bonus: A White Christmas

And honestly, you can add A Christmas Carol with George C Scott as well lol. Oh, and I always watch at least one of the Harry Potter movies in December.

Do you have a favourite holiday movie?

Find Your Joy.

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Can I be honest?

2018 has been a bit of a trash fire of a year, hasn’t it?

Stepping away from the chaotic whirlwind of bad news has been a struggle. Being creating in 2018 has been even more difficult. It’s important to write, even in the middle of the muck.

I think, more than any other time, it’s also important to find happy moments and pursue them.

For me?

This weekend, that meant baking, reading, and video games.

Baking? That went brilliantly. I made Mary Berry’s recipe for profiteroles, photo evidence above. They tasted AMAZING. They also didn’t last the weekend lol. Yum.

Reading? I finally got around to reading Alison Weir’s Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen, which I enjoyed immensely. I love a good historical fiction. And this one was definitely half fact and half fiction. Brilliantly done though.

Video games? I’ve gotten completely obsessed with the latest Assassin’s Creed game, Odyssey. Epic, brilliant, amazing. Love it so much.

Now, I’m back to writing on my new work in progress–an urban fantasy. Should be great fun.

How about you? What moments of joy are you finding for yourself this year?

Did you hear it?

The sound of panic at missing a deadline I’d set for myself.

I am currently five days passed where I thought I would be on my current work in progress.

Current mood: Panic.

That’s all I’ve got.

I hope you have enjoyed my brief dissertation on writing insanity.

This post was brought to you by coffee, tears, and an intense craving for french fries.

What Bad Reviews Taught Me.

Bad reviews taught me not to read them. Seriously. True story. I do my best to avoid reading bad reviews. Not always successful but I try.

Here are a few reasons why:

– I don’t want it in my head. It’s a case of ‘author know thyself.’ I’m not someone who thrives on criticism, I know some people do, not me. It’s crushing. So, I just don’t see a need to push that into my brain.

– Reviews are for readers–not authors. End of story. Once my precious word baby goes out into the wild, the response to it is out of my control.

(And don’t get me wrong, good reviews are lovely. I’m always thrilled and beyond grateful if someone loves my work. But, writing is an art and art is subjective. Not everyone will enjoy my style of putting words together. *shrugs* The world doesn’t end when that happens. Though, I will eat a lot of ice cream to feel better. Don’t judge me.)

Watching other authors react to their reviews has also taught me something important.

Never. EVER. Respond to a negative review.

Seriously.

Ever.

Nothing good can ever come from it.

How about you? If you’re an author, do you read bad reviews or avoid them?

If you’re a reader, are reviews important to you when selecting books?

 

Let’s Talk About Sex.

“Why do you write gay romance?”

Author interviews always seem to include that question for me. And my answer is probably never entirely satisfactory, mostly because I don’t have the answer. There was no epiphany or grand moment. No critical thought process that I’ve heard other MM Romance authors give.

Gender and sexuality have always been a bizarre concept to me. It’s an autistic thing. I feel a bit detached on the idea of both. So, for me, romance is romance is romance.

While I am a woman and I identify as one, gender is one of those concepts I’ve always been quite detached from. I’ve spoken with other autistics who also find the male/female thing confusing. It’s a hard feeling to accurately describe.

It doesn’t affect my writing–and yet it does.

And by that I mean, when I write my brain doesn’t get caught up on gender differences necessarily in the same ways I see from allistic others. I do, however, seem to get into a rhythm of writing something in particular and struggle to shift into a different area. So, after starting with After the Scrum, my flow has continued with M/M, though all things considered my novels tend to include a diverse group of relationships amongst the cast of characters in the stories.

Sexuality or sexual orientation is equally different in my head from how I hear a lot of allistic authors talking about with their writing.

Sex scenes whether m/m, m/f, mmf, or mmm are the hardest bits of writing for me.

Another part, as a panster, I never genuinely set out to do one or the other or a variation. The story just spontaneously shows up from wherever my muse lives in my brain. I barely manage to plot out…the plot.

(The annoying part that I have zero control over. Fucking muse lol.)

I swear I had a point when I started this blog post, but I’ve gotten distracted.

I genuinely considered deleting this and starting over, but other autistic romance authors might appreciate and relate to seeing my struggles.

 

 

So Long Farewell.

(Ten points if the song is now stuck in your head. Sorry, not sorry.)

Saying goodbye to a book series is always bittersweet as an author…and as a reader. Saturday was a book release day for me. Haka Ever After came out and is the last of my Sin Bin series. I’m excited to move forward to new projects but heartbroken to leave my retired rugby lads behind.

It’s tricky, I think, to figure out where a series should end. There’s always a part of me that wonders about different characters whose story I didn’t tell. But then, my muse runs away toward a new shiny idea, and I don’t get a chance to be sad about ending my series.

I never intended to write The Sin Bin. In fact, I wasn’t supposed to write the story that inspired the series–After the Scrum. I had a completely different idea planned for NaNoWriMo 2015, but I made the mistake of watching a rugby match.

Big mistake.

Francis and Caddock sprung to life, giving me barely a week or two to prepare before November. And then, somehow, Graham decided his story wanted out in The Wanderer. Each tale led into the next.

It’s quite strange to look back on the series now. One of those moments where you can’t quite believe what you’ve accomplished. All those words on paper. It’s exhausting just to think about.

I’m proud of my rugby lads.

I’ll miss them.

But, I’m no to the next adventure.

If you’re a writer, do you find yourself missing a series when you’ve finished it?

Or as a reader, do you prefer to read a series or standalones?

 

 

Once Upon an Indie.

Indie, Hybrid, Traditional.

Sounds more like different types of cars, not authors.

After I finished writing my first full novel, Ivy (a paranormal romance) in 2013, I had no idea what to do next. Submit it to agents? Try to publish it myself? Look for one of the many small publishing companies out there? It was overwhelming.

REALLY overwhelming.

I’d heard a lot of nightmare stories from indie authors about how they’d been royally screwed over by editors, cover artists, publishers, agents.  On the flipside, I’d also heard amazing stories about brilliant companies to work with.

It was hard to know what the right route for me was.

Traditional publishing ended up not being for me. It didn’t feel right. I was already so far outside of my comfort zone with trying to get publishing, I decided not to make it harder on myself.

And to me, that’s the most important part of the journey.

Find what works for you.

It’s your writing path–no one else’s.

As a general rule, I don’t believe in giving author advice. Advice on writing is always best taking with a grain of salt because everyone has their opinions.

And those opinions will quite frequently conflict with another author’s advice.

There are two things I think every indie/hybrid author should know: 1. professional covers are essential. 2. research your editor before hiring them.

I’ve heard so many nightmare stories about authors getting taken by disreputable editors when a little bit of research could’ve saved them a lot of hassle and money. Ask around. Talk to other authors whose work is well edited.

When I started looking around for an editor, I looked at a couple different companies before discovering someone I already knew had started an editing company–Hot Tree Editing. They were brilliant. Worked with me…and were understanding when I didn’t always get things and had questions. (Fun #actuallyautistic fact: I struggle with instructions A LOT.)

It was a no-brainer for me to submit After the Scrum when Becky decided to start Hot Tree Publishing to them. I trusted Hot Tree. And…dealing with everything as an indie was so stressful. Traditional publishing didn’t feel like my path, but the more hybrid route fit me perfectly, mostly because of the incredible women who support me and my writing.

I suppose this long rambling post is mostly to say–write your own way and publish in a way that works for you.

And avoid comparing your path to others.

What about you?

Are you an indie, hybrid, or traditionally published author?