Five Reasons to Love Fie

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Fie is one of my favourite characters that I’ve ever written.

Here are a few reasons why you should love him as well.

1. Beard. The Beard. His beard. Beardy bear of a man that he is.

2. His strength and courage facing his fears.

3. Did I mention the beard?

4. His love of pottery.

5. His relationship with Haggard, his service animal and best friend.

And a million other reasons.

Five Ways At War Surprised Me

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I’m a panster (I write by the seat of my pants, usually without a plan at all.) So, in a way, my stories always surprise me.  Here are a few ways that At War with a Broken Heart surprised me.

  1. MacFluff – Did not see him coming at all. I was a quarter into the story when I realised the novel was shifting into m/m/m.
  2. Davet’s uncle – the complexity of their relationship did catch me off guard a little. I had to make sure I got it just right.
  3. Condoms. You’ll understand when you read the novel. =)
  4. All the various familial relationships. There are a lot of complex emotions. I worried quite a bit about getting those the way I wanted.
  5. Fraco. I can’t give away too many details here. *spoilers* But the entire storyline around Fraco broke my heart and surprised me.

 

How One Line Becomes Fifty Thousand Words

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I can’t speak for others, but my ideas come from a variety of places and almost always surprise me. At War with a Broken Heart was no different. It started with a song.

In my typical autistic way, I listened to Be Still by The Fray about a hundred times. I became obsessed. It even lulled me to sleep for months.

And then, from the vibe of the song, came a single line: “You broke me. You lost the right to put me back together.”

I had that line rolling around in my head for days.

It didn’t fit anything I planned to work on, so I jotted it down in an empty A5 Muji notebook (I use them for my book bibles.)

One line became a conversation.

“You broke me. You lost the right to put me back together.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Well, I hope it made you feel better to finally say the words. I still feel like shit.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You sent me to war with a broken heart.”

The characters hadn’t even been named yet. I didn’t know who said which part. Or if this would turn into a second chance romance.

It didn’t.

And then, Fie Morogh Russell came first. Beardy bear of a man who makes pottery. The painful, heart-breaking words were his. His character clung to my muse.

Very distract and annoying since I was working on a different novel.

Some characters make me work for it. I tug their secrets out like a dentist with a wisdom tooth. Fie flooded my brain with more information than I could handle.

I knew he’d gone to war with a broken heart and returned a shattered soul. He’d lost friends—and himself in many ways.

He hid away with his dog, his music, and his pottery.

But those words wouldn’t leave me.

And At War with a Broken Heart finally came to live with Fie, Davet, and Sid.

It’s amazing how one line of dialogue can spawn a fifty-something word novel.

Quoth the Raven

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(I was going to start this out with, these are a few of my favourite things. But now I’ve got that damned song from The Sound of Music stuck in my head.)

I wanted to share a few of the quotes on writing that I go to when I’m floundering.  This first one from Neil Gaiman is actually pinned on the board above my desk.

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“I am not at all in a humour for writing; I must write on till I am.” ~ Jane Austen

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ~ Terry Pratchett

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” ~ Octavia E. Butler

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou

“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.” ~ Doris Lessing

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” ~ Neil Gaiman

 

Saint Jane.

Or, How Jane Austen Inspired My Gay Romance

One thing Saint Jane did brilliantly in all her novels was absurd humour and painfully human characters. She exposed the frailty of human ego. She made you cringe at painfully awkward proposals while you rooted for her heroines to find their true love.

When I wrote After the Scrum, my first Gay Romance, I used her approach to characters and humour. The story is filled with irreverent humour. I used my observations of human nature as an autistic to form many of the slightly zany villagers of Looe. It certainly made for lively characters.

I hope my beloved Saint Jane would approve.

The other way Austen’s novels have shaped my writing is in showing the path of love is rarely smooth sailing. You only have to look at the tribulations of Anne Elliot in Persuasion (my favourite of her novels). The Wanderer and The Caretaker, in particular, show how matters of the heart can be equal parts pleasure and pain.

When I first considered this post, I’d wanted to write about why readers should dip their toes in the Gay Romance genre—and my novels of said genre.  As you can see, I got a bit distracted. A lot distracted.

The thing is if you love absurd humour, witty banter, and love stories, you’ll enjoy my novels.

If you love great romances, you’ll enjoy the Gay Romance genre.

The love is the same—it’s just two men snogging.

And it’s good snogging as well.

 

True Love.

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I thought I’d talk about the three books that made me fall in love with reading–and also made me enamoured with the idea of writing. I don’t know about other writers, but for me, there were definitely specific moments where I felt the tug of what to create.  The first shouldn’t be shock for anyone who knows me and knows what I love to read:

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Austen’s ability to create sympathetic characters who tugged at the heart is almost unmatched. She made people human, for better or worse. She depicted all of our best and worst traits. Balancing out her torn apart lovers, making them never too perfect, but always a couple you rooted for.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

It’s the first ‘big’ book I remember reading on my own. By the time I was ten, I’d probably read it twenty times. It was also the first experience I had with a story taking me into another world. I distinctly remember wanting to try it for myself (I wrote a book about bears. Profound stuff. LMAO).

And last but not least…The Rogue series by Jo Beverly.

As I don’t write historical, it might seem odd that a regency romance inspired me to write love stories. It’s not so much the era, but the drama, angst, and thrill of a couple coming together. Jo Beverly did it magnificently with all of her Rogues, with humour as well.

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What books inspired you to write?

Mind over Matter; Mind over Muscle.

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One of my new TV obsessions is a show on the History channel called The Selection.  It’s about a group of civilians who are being put through a squashed down version of the training that Navy Seals, Rangers, etc. all have to go through. It is, I think, an eye-opening experience for people to see the hell that it can be.

I expected to be entertained–I didn’t anticipate hearing a few really profound life lessons. Thought I’d share a few things that have stayed on my mind, rolling around up there, inspiring not only me as a person–but my muse, as well.

  1. Know your motivation for doing what you do–make it deep and important.
  2. Your mind will give up before your body.
  3. The hard shit in life? It’s temporary. Get through it–don’t give up.
  4. Do your best, even if you fail, you’ll have done everything you can.
  5. Failing isn’t the same as quitting. When you fail, you can try again. When you quit, you’ve given up on yourself before you even have a chance to see what you’re capable of.

Have you watched The Selection? If not, what have you seen/read that’s inspired you recently?