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.

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?

 

 

And you are? Another Character Sketch.

Continuing with my character sketches for my upcoming release, One Last Heist, I thought I’d feature Toshi this week. My visual inspiration from him was actor Ian Anthony Dale. I love Toshi. He was such a fun character to play with–in many ways, he’s the person who keeps his husband, Mack, from tumbling over the edge of the cliff.

So, here’s a bit about him.

Name: Toshiro Ueda-Easton

What is he afraid of?

Losing any member of his family, whether it’s Mack, his mother, or his twin sister, Charlie.

What motivates him?

Toshi is highly motivated to ensure both his mother and sister are taken care of. He knows Charlie can take care of herself, but he’s always felt a responsiblity to both of them.

What does he like to do?

Of all his random hobbies, Toshi is gifted with languages. He speaks many, many languages. He goes out of his way to find new ones to pick up.

Where has he been?

All over the world. His cover for travel is that he’s a travel writer. It easily explains why he’s in certain locations during a heist, and provides the perfect alibi for him.

How much self-control and self-discipline does he have?

Massive amounts.

Massive.

Toshiro needs all that self-control because Mack doesn’t have much if any. Neither does anyone else in their crew aside from maybe Charlie. They all tend to be a bit impulsive.

 

Who Are You? A Character Sketch for One Last Heist.

I thought it might be fun to do character sketches of some of the people in my upcoming release, One Last Heist. Up first is Mack, who’s visual inspiration is featured in the cover (the lovely Stuart Reardon.) So, here we go.

Full Name: Gregor Tempest McKay Ueda-Easton

He was named for several family heroes–all unsavoury pirate figures from the 1800s.

Tattoos? 

Several. All pirate-related–an old ship, antique compass/map.

Best Friend?

Outside of his husband Toshiro? Jude is definitely his closest friend.

What is he afraid of?

Losing his sight.

He has an inherited degenerative disease which has slowly been stealing his vision and will eventually cause him to be at least legally blind if not fully so. He’s terrified of being unable to do what he loves most–planning and complete grand heists.

What motivates him?

The thrilling of successfully stealing. Mack particularly enjoys being able to return war plunder to their original owners (or their families.) It makes him feel like Robin Hood.

He also strives to honour the pirate legacy that goes back for generations in his family.

What does he like to do?

Short answer: His husband.

Long answer: His husband up against a wall, across a bed, over a couch, etc.

You get the idea.

Where has he been?

All over the world.

What does he lie to himself about?

That his sight isn’t being to deteriorate.


What would you like to know about Mack?

Deja Who?

There’s no reason for the subject to be spelt wrong. It just made me laugh. I am a nerd.

I think most writers probably have certain themes that follow them through their stories. Character traits, or backstories, or tropes we can’ t help using. Often times, we might not even realise we do it.

It’s a question I’ve had on my mind for a while now.

What are the ones to follow me through my writing?

Here are the ones I thought about (and maybe why):

  • Banter

  • Adoption – I’ve had a few characters who were adopted, or orphans, or foster kids. It’s probably because I’m adopted, so there’s a wealth of emotional stuff there I can explore.

 

  • Autistic Characters – I’m autistic. That one is:

  • Pets. All the pets. So many pets. From Taine’s hamster to Sherlock in After the Scrum. I’m a fan of memorable animals.
  • Absurd moments. I find absurdity humourous. (Like giving a large rugby player a hamster for a pet.)
  • Rough childhoods. A theme running through many of my stories are characters who have survived abusive or neglectful childhoods. Again, as something I had personal experience with, I think it’s important that not ALL of your characters have blissful, amazing parents. I’ve found as a reader that I cherish the books that I can relate to. When I find a character who has pulled through terrible times as a kid, I see a bit of myself.
  • Nerds. I’m quite a bit geeky, so admit to giving some of those quirks to my characters.

How about you? If you’re a writer, do you notice certain themes consistent throughout your different novels?

As a reader? Do you pick up on these sorts of things?