Fabulous Five Blog Hop: What Am I Working On?

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Hello All! I have hopped on to the end of a blog hop with five interesting questions. My friend and fellow author, Lane Hayes, brought me in to the hop. Here is her blog hop entry: http://lanehayes.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/wip-blog-hop-what-is-lane-writing-now-youre-curious-arent-you/. She was brought in by the wonderful Michael Rupured and here is his entry: http://rupured.com/2014/09/fabulous-five-blog-hop/.

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1. What am I working on?

I am currently working on the third novel in the Serpentine Series, a series of New Adult stories set partially or wholly at the University of Virginia.

In the first book, Serpentine Walls, the main character Pete has sexual adventures/misadventures with several guys before settling on “the one.”

My second novel in the series, Aidan’s Journey, focuses on the character of Aidan Emery, the glamorous senior who Pete falls for in Serpentine Walls but who isn’t available to get involved. It explores why Aidan is the way he is and why he wasn’t open to allowing his and Pete’s connection to become more. Aidan’s Journey will be on the Dreamspinner Press Coming Soon page in a few days, with an expected publication date of October 15th.

My WIP features Jed Carter, a nice but shy guy who hooks up with Pete in Serpentine Walls. Jed wants more but this time it’s Pete who doesn’t want to get involved. I had some struggles with finding Jed’s story, which you can read about here: [link]. After trying a little tenderness, I found a satisfying story and happy ending for Jed and I’m about 12K into the novel.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?

Some feedback I got on Serpentine Walls encapsulates what makes my stories unique:

** One of the things I am always grateful for is realistic characters and stories in this genre, which you absolutely delivered. I was really glad that all of the characters, especially the women, were so fleshed-out and human, and the friendships in the story never took a backseat in terms of importance compared to the romantic relationships, which is also rare. Even the “antagonists” in the story felt very real to me, which is very rare to see. [Regarding Pete, the MC]: I definitely wanted to smack him upside the head more than a few times, but I think it’s very unusual and brave to see a character, especially in M/M romance, who is solid enough to be both a sympathetic human being AND a total dick at times, because let’s face it—no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. **

I’ve been told my stories aren’t typical for the romance genre because the characters are “real” and the situations aren’t always “romantic”. For instance, infidelity shows up in more than one of my stories, as well as “friends with benefits” relationships and casual hook ups. My characters make mistakes and shoot themselves in the foot. But my stories are big on redemption: the fall from grace, the lessons learned, and the journey to a happy ending built on new understanding.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always been fascinated with gay issues. And I’ve always wanted to write stories although I waited until I was in my forties to start. I enjoy exploring people’s motivations, struggles, and breakthroughs. My horoscope sign is Scorpio and one of our symbols is the phoenix rising from the ashes. That’s what a good redemptive romance story is all about.

4. How does my writing process work?

I start with a rough outline. I like to brainstorm ideas with others if possible and I usually send my outlines out to a few of my betas. Because I’m writing multiple books with intersecting characters, I’ve charted their timelines on a whiteboard so I can keep track of who’s doing what when.

After I’ve got the preliminary outline (which gets continually revised in the writing process), I start at the beginning and write until it’s done. Not all at one sitting, of course. But I usually don’t skip around and write a later scene; I write them in order. Once I have the first draft complete, I re-read, revise, and edit, and then send it off to beta readers. Then I re-read, revise, and edit again (and again) until I deem it ready to submit to my publisher.

All of it always takes longer than I think it will!

5. Who’s next on the blog hop?

No one! But you can find other entries by following the link to Michael’s post.

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