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Wishing you a Happy New Year!

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Revisiting A Little Christmas Magic

Christmas is fast approaching and a flood of holiday books are hitting the shelves. I love reading stories centered around the fall and winter holidays, especially Christmas. A few years back, I wrote a Christmas story for Beaten Track’s, Boughs of Evergreen, anthology. I haven’t promoted my own books in a while so I thought it’d be a nice time to revisit the story of Ryan and Boone in, A Little Christmas Magic, a best friends to lovers tale with a touch of magic, and a HEA.

 

*****

 

 

a-little-christmas-magic-k-c-faelan-mm-holiday-delights-2016-boughs-of-evergreen-holiday-anthology

Author: K.C. Faelan
Language: English
Published: 1st December, 2014
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-909192-85-0 ASIN: B00PSNRFXO
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBTQ, Religion and Spirituality, Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction, Holidays and Celebrations, Pure Romance – M/M, Pure Romance – Contemporary

 

 

AVAILABLE AT:

Beaten Track Publishing  Amazon  Smashwords  B & N  

 

BLURB:

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and Ryan Forsyth is helping his friends decorate for Christmas. Little does he know that the weekend will usher in a profound change to his life, a chance for happiness if he isn’t too afraid to reach out and grasp it.

Boone Ainsworth has been friends with Ryan since junior high, ever since their mutual friend Greg Hayes introduced them. Since the day they met, no one has stood a chance at claiming Boone’s heart except Ryan, but Ryan is so deep in the closet, he hasn’t got a clue.

Their happily ever after is just a step away, until a panicked decision changes everything. From that point on, things don’t go smoothly and Ryan and Boone make mistakes neither may be able to forgive. But it’s the holidays, and Ryan is banking on a little Christmas magic to help smooth the way.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

KC is a writer of M/M and LGBT Fiction. Her stories are character driven, with a touch of humor, romance, and all the fun that entails. She believes in HEAs, or at least a strong HFN, where the characters in her stories must work for their HEA, but in the end get their love match. KC loves food and will often incorporate scenes of cooking or eating in the stories she writes. She enjoys relaxing with a good book, her favorite genre being M/M, but she reads many others, such as: Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-Fi.

KC lives in Northern California with her husband and two rescue birds.

 

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Filed under 2014, 2018, a little christmas magic, beaten track publishing, Boughs of Evergreen, M/M

An Interview with Author Ofelia Gränd

Ofelia Gränd visits my blog today. Both of us joined Beaten Track Publishing around the same time. Ofelia’s here to talk about her soon to be released story, ‘Honey Baked,’ which will be released on Friday, November 30th.

*****

KC: Hi, Ofelia. Welcome to my blog. I can’t wait to have you talk about your new book, “Honey Baked”, which is part of the ‘Nortown’ series. Normally, I don’t read an author’s book for the interview, but I’m a fan of your Nortown series and had a chance to read “Honey Baked” before its release. Please tell us about it.

Ofelia: Hi, and thank you for having me!

Well, it all started with a recipe of honey baked brie cheese I saw in a magazine. It was one of those spreads with food suited for a holiday buffet, and I figured I needed a holiday party. Honey Baked is just a short little thing. I began writing it last year and meant to give it as a treat to my Reader Group, but something got in the way, and I abandoned it. When summer started to come to an end, I figured I’d better continue that story if I wanted it ready in time for Christmas.

Of all the Nortown couples John and Zachary are my favourites, and I wanted to revisit them, to show that life goes on and that their relationship develop. Not that Honey Baked is heavy on the character development LOL. It is, like the other Nortown short stories more focused on carnal affairs, in this case with a sprinkle of cheese and Santa.

 

KC: How did you come up with the idea for the Nortown series, how many books are in it so far? And why lumberjacks?

Ofelia: It was never meant to be a series at all! It was NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2015, and I’d finished the first draft of one story. I can’t remember which one it was right now, but I hadn’t hit the 50.000 words that is the goal during NaNo, so I told Al Stewart and Amy Spector—my writing buddies—that I would write a short Christmas thing and go all out on the M/M aspect.

A week or so before I’d stumbled upon a thread in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group that listed tropes and clichés often seen in M/M romance, and some readers talked about loving them while other hated them. So I made a list What’s Your Favourite Thing to Hate? and told Al and Amy that I would try to fit as many as of them as I possibly could into one story.

That’s how Once in a Snowstorm was born. I didn’t plan to publish it, it was just something I did for fun while proving to myself that I could write 50.000 words in a month. But as I’m sure you know, once you start writing a character you get attached, and I couldn’t just make fun of them. When they come to life, they’re your responsibility, and I had to give them a real story. The short story grew into a novelette that I later followed up with several short stories about Aiden and Tristan as well as other stories about the inhabitants in Nortown.

The Nortown series begins with Once in Snowstorm, and that’s a mishmash of tropes in that one LOL, and then we have Once in a Forest about Tom and Jason.

Once in a Forest came about because I saw another list, a woman who asked for ‘bottom for you’ books, so I wrote one. And since I wasn’t finished with Aiden and Tristan, I wrote The Empty Egg, a short story that takes place at the same time as Once in a Forest.

After Once in a Forest, I wrote Once in May, and that’s a hurt-comfort book, my guilty pleasure (not that I’m feeling guilty about it) and probably my favourite book in the series. I had a short story linked to that too. Happy Endings is another Aiden and Tristan story.

Next up was Once in the Underworld and there we have a bi-character and an overweight character. I guess it too is a hurt-comfort story. The short story that followed Once in the Underworld is Just Words. Just Words is another Aiden and Tristan story, perhaps the Aiden and Tristan story I like best of all.

So what does that make? Four novellas and three short stories? Then this summer I wrote Once Around Seven as part of the Seasons of Love Anthology. I went about that a little differently. I focused on a season, my favourite it autumn so of course, it’s autumn in Nortown, and as inspiration, Debbie McGowan posted a link to a YouTube clip with Seasons of Love from Rent, the musical. Listen to that and read Once Around Seven and think about what you want to do with the following five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes :D.

And now we’re here, with Honey Baked, book #5.5.

 

KC: There are many lumberjacks and their partners living in Nortown. How did you go about choosing their names? Did the characters name themselves as you wrote or did you research names? Whose was the easiest to come up with, and whose was the most difficult?

Ofelia: Aiden and Tristan I picked off a list over common names in M/M Romance, but the others have just popped up. When it comes to secondary characters, I often check the top 100 lists over popular names around the year the character was born. Sometimes that backfires when I, later on, write a story about that character. John in Honey Baked is one of those. I wanted a common name suitable for a guy who hid in the background, which he did in Once in a Forest. Later on, when he became the main character, I wished I’d given him a more interesting name, but by then he was a John already.

When I’m writing paranormal or sci-fi, I often check the meaning of a name or search for a name that says something about the character. And sometimes I think the fact that I’m Swedish influences my choices. In Worth His Salt, for example, I have Eldred Henstare who is a redheaded witch. Eld means fire in Swedish.

 

KC: You’ve written books with author Amy Spector, specifically horror stories. What gave you the idea to collaborate? Have you co-written together, and what’s it like to write with her?

Ofelia: I love doing things with Amy! But we don’t co-write stories. We’ve done Buried Desires #1-3 where we both write a story each and then publish as a double feature or in the case of Buried Desires #3, where we had Neptune Flowers joining us, an anthology.

Buried Desires was all Amy’s idea. She’s a classic horror fan—crazy woman LOL—and she wanted to do something in time for Halloween back in 2015. We had a laugh and decided to do it again…and again :D.

The writing process of the Buried Desires stories is quite different from when I write on my own. It’s the same stages—the planning and plotting, the writing, the agony, the doubt, the frenzy. Only when you’re writing alongside someone you pull each other along with you and your story isn’t an isolated happening as it otherwise would’ve been. We talk about the plot, we share excerpts and things like that, and despite talking to Amy every day, I don’t do that if I’m writing a Nortown story for example. Sure I talk plot, but not in the same way.

We’ve also done the Tattooed Corpse Series, Amy and me. That’s a series where we have the same body reappearing in every story, but the stories in themselves have nothing to do with each other. They’re of different genres, with different characters, taking place in different settings. The only thing linking them is the body.

 

KC: Do you listen to music when you write? Why or why not? What type of music, singers or bands do you enjoy? Favorite songs?

Ofelia: A few years ago I never listened to music while writing, now I do it to drown out the noise around me LOL. I’m a mother of four, my kids are between nine to soon three, and I have my desk right next to a table where they have all their crafting things. My efficiency level these days is very low, to say the least, and my desk is most often hidden underneath a layer of drawings, beads, and Play-Doh. But yes, if I try to write while the kids are awake, I do put on my headphones and click on some random playlist on Spotify.

When I wrote Honey Baked I listened to Christmas music 😀 but I usually listen to rock or blues, but as I said I often play the random lists on Spotify.

 

KC: Some readers may already know that you’re Swedish. Can you tell us what’s it like where you live, your city? If you had guests visiting, where would you take them so they could get a good sense of what it would be like to live there, not necessarily just the touristy areas.

Ofelia: Ha! I’m one of those crazy women in the woods. I live outside a, would you call it locality? There are less than 200 inhabitants here, less than 150 actually…and we live on the outskirts of it. Our letterbox is by the last lamppost for miles.

There aren’t really any touristy areas nearby. We live by a river, and if anyone comes here it’s usually because they’re going canoeing, so I guess we could do that.

My closest city is Älmhult, and if you’re an IKEA fan, you might know that that’s the city where the first IKEA was built. So despite living in the middle of nowhere my closest neighbours are from all around the worlds since the head office still is here.

 

KC: I’d love to talk about Swedish food. What dishes would you recommend a guest try while visiting, and why?

Ofelia: God, I don’t know. Meatballs I guess, it can’t get more Swedish than that. And I suppose you would have to try Kalles Kaviar and pickled herring. I think IKEA has it all, so if you go to an IKEA warehouse at some point, try it. In my humble opinion Kaviar is gross, but it’s Swedish LOL. It’s salted cod roe that you put on a piece of bread. Swedish food is pretty boring, it’s fish and potatoes or meat and potatoes, and I’m a vegetarian so you can guess how well that works out.

 

KC: Please tell us about your writing process. Is there a specific time or place you like to write? Do you like carrying around pencil and paper to write down ideas that pop into your mind or do you like to voice record those ideas instead? 

Ofelia: I write in periods. An idea grabs hold of me, and I write every free moment I can grab, and I go into a frenzy. I always feel sorry for my husband when I’m in that stage because I’m not really coherent LOL. The story pours out of me, and the real world falls away. But then I have weeks when I hardly write a word at all. Those weeks I’m pretty miserable.

I don’t carry around pen and paper, and I’m terrible at writing down ideas. I do it sometimes, and then I clean away the note I wrote it on. But, if an idea or character pops up in my head, it’s almost as if I’m having conversations with them. I can make up an entire story without writing down a single word. If the idea is still there after a few days, I most often end up writing the story.

I don’t use voice recording at all, there is something about talking that just doesn’t work for me.

 

KC: Finally, some last questions before you go. What are you currently working on and what do you have planned? I put my vote in for more Nortown!

Ofelia: Hahaha.

Right now I’m trying to clean up my endless list of started stories. At the moment a werewolf holds me captive, and I have a post-apocalyptic tale that’s about half done, and a contemporary story with a police officer that I also want to finish.

There will be more Nortown stories, though. There is this man who has been lurking in my head for the last week or so and he won’t go away, so I guess I’ll have to write him and he most definitely belongs in Nortown. I might even have to write him as soon as the werewolf retract his claws.

 

KC: Thanks, Ofelia! It was fun learning about your writing and about you. It’s especially great learning there will be more Nortown stories.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Honey Baked Small Cover

Author: Ofelia Gränd
Published: 30th November, 2018
Length: 7,800 words (approx.)
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
ISBN: 9781786452924
ASIN: B07KGH72VD
Genre: M/M Romance, established couple, Holiday romance
Series: Nortown

 

 

 

AVAILABLE AT:
books2read.com: HoneyBaked
Beaten Track Publishing:  Honey Baked

 

BLURB:

All John wants is to stay at home in peace and quiet, but when the Santa booked for the town’s Christmas party at Jen’s cafe catches a fever, Zachary decides to take his place. It’s just for a few hours, John should be able to take part in the celebrations like any normal person, but instead, he finds himself hiding in the kitchen, eating loads of the delicious honey baked Brie cheese Jen has made.

Zachary loved the town’s Christmas party as a child, and he wants to spread some holiday cheer both to the kids in Nortown and to John. Being Santa is not as easy as he thought it would be, though. And how he’s gonna be able to lure John out of the kitchen and get him to sit on Santa’s lap, he doesn’t know.

 

EXCERPT:

John was hiding in the kitchen—there was no better word for it. Jason had walked in about an hour ago, nodded, and then left again. A tinge of guilt hit him, both for scaring Jason away—though from Jason’s perspective, it was probably the other way around—and for abandoning Zachary in the crowd, but he couldn’t go out there.

The noise was constant. People talking, laughing, and he imagined there was a whole lot of shoulder-patting going on. All those big, loud, bearded men crowded together in a small area… He shuddered. It didn’t matter that his man was the biggest one out there; when the others grouped together, Zachary alone couldn’t keep the panic at bay.

Carefully, John neared the door. Perhaps he could see from there. He had watched for a little while before everyone arrived. John had never had a Santa kink—ever—but seeing Zachary dressed up in the red suit with the fake beard did things to him he didn’t care to explore. But it wasn’t really the Santa suit. John just loved watching Zachary standing in a crowd, tall and proud.

Luke came in, and John’s “Hi” died on his tongue when he saw the boy’s face. Not a kid excited over Christmas.

A few seconds later, Jen arrived. “Hi, John.”

“Luke’s over there.” He pointed to the other side of the kitchen.

“Yeah, I figured. How are you holding up? It’s almost over—some have already started to leave.”

John hid his relieved sigh behind a smile. “I’m fine. This is nice.”

Jen hurried over to Luke, and John stepped out of the kitchen to give them some privacy. He stayed on the safe side of the counter, glancing at the tray of Brie covered in nuts and honey. He picked up a piece of crispbread and cut himself a chunk of cheese. It was soft and gooey, slowly melting on his tongue.

“Good, right?” Jason winked and hurried past him. “Jen!” He popped his head in through the kitchen doorway. “I’m heading home now.”

John heard Jen say something in return, and then Jason waved and disappeared. John took another bite of cheese. It was perfect—warm, nutty and sweet. He hadn’t realised how hungry he was. With the party hanging over him, he hadn’t been able to eat all day, but now, people trickled out the door in a slow but steady stream.

He drew in a breath, enjoying the smell of pine and gingerbread for the first time this season.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes contemporary, paranormal, romance, horror, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.

Join Ofelia’s Reader Group to get a free short story, and updates on new releases and ongoing projects.

You may also find her on various social media.

Goodreads | Google+ | Facebook 1 | Facebook 2 | Pinterest | | Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2018, author interview, beaten track publishing, Ofelia Gränd, writers

An Obituary: Todd Bol, creator of Little Free Library, dies at 62

Nicholas C. Rossis

I don’t often share obituaries on my blog but this one is an exception as it is about an unsung hero: Todd Bol, whose Little Free Library brought books to the street corner. He died Oct. 18 at a hospice center in Oakdale, Minn. at the age of 62.

It All Started in 2009…

Little Free Library | Istomedia web database and multimedia design - σχεδίαση ιστοσελίδων, βάσεις δεδομένων, πολυμέσα The very first Little Free Library built by Todd Bol. Image: Open Culture

As Washington Post reports, it all started in 2009. The previous year, Bol had been forced out of Global Scholarship Alliance — an organization he had founded. Global Scholarship Alliance offered nursing scholarships for foreign students to study in the US. Bol was sacked by investors he had invited into the company, who told him:

We need to cut back on resources, and you’re the resource we’re cutting back on.

A year later, and no closer to figuring out his next endeavor, Bol…

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Filed under 2018, books, reblog

An Interview with Author Debbie McGowan

GOCP_banner_LR

 

Today, Debbie McGowan returns. The last time she visited this blog, she answered questions as an editor and publisher for Beaten Track Publishing. This time, she has her author hat on and will be talking about her soon to be released book, Goth of Christmas Past, her writing and a few other closer to home topics.

*****

KC: Welcome back, Deb. You have a new book, Goth of Christmas Past coming out on Halloween. Could you tell us about it and why you chose to make the characters, goths?

Deb: It’s lovely to be back.  Thank you for having me.

So, yes, Goth of Christmas Past is kind of ‘the next generation’ of my Hiding Behind The Couch series – it’s stand-alone, but anyone who’s read any of the other stories will probably have met Krissi (Shaunna’s daughter) and maybe Jay too. He makes a really brief appearance in the very first season – 2 million words ago!

I made a conscious decision when I wrote that first HBTC novel to NOT base characters on real people, but Jay is like lots of the ‘goths’ I’ve taught over the years (I used to be a high school teacher) and also some of my old college friends, and my sister, her husband, me… we all have ‘the goth within’ us. Among non-goths, there are a few assumptions that generally align goths with all kinds of dark things and necromantic nonsense, but it’s really nothing like that. It’s about music, a way of dressing, introversion…being different from the mainstream.

That’s pretty much what Goth of Christmas Past is about – goths, and their scene kid siblings, just doing life like normal people because goths are, in fact, normal people. They just wear more black and listen to way cooler music. 😉

Also, Halloween is my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding anniversary. Their first dance was amazing! As was their double-coffin wedding cake…

 

KC: Goth of Christmas Past is part of your ongoing series, Hiding Behind the Couch. What is this series about and how many books are in it so far?

Deb: Oh gosh, big question. It’s mostly about friendship, I think, but people seem to get different things from it. It’s literary fiction rather than ‘genre fiction’, but some installments have a lot of romance, some deal with crime – I’m currently writing Alumni (Season Eight), which is about the paranormal from a sceptic’s – i.e. Josh, the kind-of main character’s – point of view. Whatever genre I dabble in, the series as a whole centres on the same group of (Josh’s) friends and their families, although the roll call keeps growing and it’s pretty much the size of a village by now.

At this point, there are 24 Hiding Behind The Couch published stories:

  • Seven seasons
  • Four stand-alone novels
  • Eight novellas
  • Three short stories
  • Two Gray Fisher (spin-off) novels

 

KC: The last time you were here, you talked about your job as editor and publisher of Beaten Track. You wear multiple hats and are always very busy. What else are you involved in besides BTP and writing books?

Deb: I work for The Open University, which is one of the biggest distance-learning universities in the world, and I think it’s the oldest (but I might be wrong). I teach first-year undergraduate social science. So that’s my other day job. I’m also halfway through a Master’s degree, although I’ve taken a year out (for very boring, Deb-is-totally-disorganised reasons).

Apart from work and study? Not much time other than for sleep. But! I recently joined a choir. I was invited by a guy who introduced me as his gym buddy, which is not a thing I’ve ever been called before! I love singing, but I’m not a fan of the spotlight, and I’m not that great a singer, so blending into the alto section is perfect, and we’re rehearsing Christmas songs/carols. I’m loving every minute.

 

KC: How do you research you stories? Is it mostly internet research?  Have you ever travelled to a location so you could get a better feel of what a place is like? And have you interviewed people about their professions for true to life characters? Can you give examples?

Deb: I do a lot of internet research, but, of course, the internet is fallible, so I generally back up whatever I find with info from other sources. I think you’ll remember this one (LOL, ❤ Adam) – Checking Him Out is set in Boston, MA, which is somewhere I’ve never been, and of course, fool that I am, I ended up having to describe the transport and different areas of the city. So, I started with Google Street View and lucked out in meeting fellow author Rick Bettencourt through the Don’t Read in the Closet event (for which I was writing Checking Him Out). Rick hales from Boston, and he kindly checked through all my location stuff and buffed it into shape for me.

I’m quite cheeky with research at times too – I mean, if you don’t ask…

When I was writing Hiding Behind The Couch, I cold-called a DNA testing service and told them I was researching for a book. They were incredibly helpful and answered all my questions without hesitation.

There was also the time when I was writing In The Stars Part II, and I’d written a few lines of Swedish and Norwegian. I was tweeting back and forth with Larry Benjamin about something (probably commas, it usually is), and I had a brief interchange with an author based in Gothenburg, Sweden. So I asked him if he’d mind checking my Swedish and Norwegian. My cheekiness must’ve astounded him into agreeing. He’s an author too, and I’ve read all his books since, edited, published…you might have guessed by now that it’s Hans M Hirschi.

When it came to writing about the Swedish Holiday St. Lucia Day in Goth of Christmas Past, I already knew a fair bit about it because I work with so many Swedish authors, but I must thank Phetra H. Novak for reading through the early drafts of scenes for me.

And my favourite research ever…when I was writing Breaking Waves, I told Nige I needed to go to Cornwall ‘to check it was accurate’. While I was down there, I wrote the first few chapters of In The Stars Part II – complete with surfing – while sitting in the Beach Hut café on Watergate Bay, which also features in The Making Of Us.

 

KC: What do you like to read during your free time?

Deb: My what now? Just kidding. I do read outside of publishing, which is mostly relaxing and fun, but it’s hard to set aside my editor/proofreader hat. Mostly, I read indie-published work (the last mainstream published novel I bought was Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows on preorder). I’m currently reading Matthew Drzymala’s The Bumpkinton Tales Volume One. It’s dead funny – Royston Vasey meets Ambridge. For anyone who has no idea what I’m talking about, search for The League of Gentlemen and The Archers.

 

KC: Here’s a fun topic. I know you have dogs and a cat. Please tell us about your furbabies.

Deb: They’re really annoying, LOL. While I’ve been doing this interview, Moo (ruby border collie, actually called Maisy) HAD to go out to pee, and then she wanted treats for being a good puppy, even though she’s ten years old! Then George (ginger tortoiseshell, actually called George) clambered all over me until I gave him tuna. Meanwhile, Trigger (also his real name) lay on his bed chewing and chewing and chewing…he has a skin condition. These are the wonders of adopting rescue animals, and really, they are all wonderful. I’ve always had rescue animals.

 

KC: Let’s talk about your book covers. When did you start creating them and why? And what’s the design process like?

Deb: The first cover I designed was for my second novel in terms of release date (although it was the fourth one I wrote), which is And The Walls Came Tumbling Down. Funnily enough, I’ve just finalised the audiobook recording for it, narrated by Hannibal Hills, who is brilliant and absolutely perfect for the story. Why I made my own cover back then was financial necessity, plus it was the relatively early days of ebooks, so employing a cover designer was beyond most indie authors’ means as they were fewer in number and way more expensive to employ than they are now.

Since then, I’ve learnt to use Photoshop, and while I’m no artist, I find it relaxing to play around with designing covers. Sometimes I have an idea what I want (or, if I’m putting together a cover for a BTP book, the author will tell me what they want), and sometimes I just search image sites for inspiration.

Occasionally, I make a cover I’m proud of and happy with and don’t want to change it at all – When Skies Have Fallen, Checking Him Out, Ruminations and A Midnight Clear are the ones I love. Mostly, I think ‘well, I had fun, and it’s not awful’. 😉

 

KC: I want to talk about When Skies Have Fallen. You won the 28th Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance with this book. That’s an amazing accomplishment. I remember you put a lot of research and time into the story. Can you tell us a little about the book and then walk us through what it was like entering the award contest up until the end, when all the winners were announced?

Deb: Thank you. It’s still unreal! I have to look at the award to remind myself it actually happened!

So, first off, I wasn’t going to enter. I’m a sore loser – even if I’m a runner-up, I feel like I’ve not won because I want to be first or nothing at all. So I avoid competing with anyone other than myself generally. But…a few people worked hard to convince me to enter When Skies Have Fallen, and I figured, as it’s a social document (fictional but based on the real legal fight to decriminalise homosexuality in the UK), I’d have a go.

Entries have to be in by December, and then the finalists are announced in spring sometime (March? I think), so that was the first exciting news – finding out I was a finalist. I was sure that was my lot, and for the first time ever, I was more than happy with that. Runner-up in the Lambda Literary Award is winning.

Then the night of the awards arrived, which, due to time zones, starts around midnight UK time. I went to bed and watched it ‘live’ via the Lammys’ Twitter feed, and I was really sleepy by the time the Gay Romance award came around. I refreshed the app, and again, and again, and it took a while to load, but I decided to stick with it until I’d seen who won…and suddenly it’s my book on the screen at the back of the stage. My book. I’d won!

And I calmly switched off the lamp and went to sleep.

Hahahaha. Nope. I leapt out of bed and shook Nige awake, repeating over and over, “I won. I won a Lammy.” Yeah, so I can do totally chill and unperturbed. LOL. Seriously, it’s the most amazing moment of my writing career, and it means more than I can put into words.

 

KC: Two final questions. What are you working on now and what is your next project?

Deb: I have a few works in progress, but I’m actively working on Alumni (HBTC #8), which I’ve been writing since spring 2017, but I’ve found it really hard to get the words down lately, even though it won’t seem like that, given I’ve released two novels, a novella and two short stories this year. Finally, over the past couple of weeks, the words have started flowing again, so I’ll go with them for as long as they’re here. I also have a children’s story with an illustrator, which should be out for Christmas. The story is called The Lost Mitten, and I’m publishing it under the pen name of J.S. Morley.

 

KC: Thanks, Deb for visiting and the interview. From personal experience, I know you’re a talented author, as well as skilled editor and publisher.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

DebbieMcGowan_GOCP

Author: Debbie McGowan
Published: 31st October, 2018
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-205-4
eBook: 978-1-78645-206-1
ASIN: B07HT65SSZ
Length: 100,000 words (approx.)
Category: Fiction
Genre: New Adult, Literary, LGBTQIA (ace/aro)
Series: Hiding Behind The Couch

 

 

AVAILABLE AT:

Beaten Track Shop:    Ebook  Paperback
Other Vendors:  Amazon [Kindle]   iBooks  Kobo  Barnes and Noble  Smashwords

 

 

BLURB:

Black hair and band hoodies had a lot to answer for.

Eleven years ago, when Gothboy mooched into their business studies class for the very first time, Krissi had taken one look at him and thought, What a freak. He’s so cool!

Now in their mid-twenties, Krissi Johansson and Jay Meyer are successful businesspeople and still best friends. But while one is moving forward with their life, the other is sliding ever backwards…revisiting the past and wallowing in regret.

Between career commitments, unresolved family matters and friends springing unwelcome surprises, Krissi and Jay have more than enough drama to contend with, and not all of their own making.

On top of all that, it’s Christmas. Yay.

 

EXCERPT:

“Bad night?” Krissi asked.
“Late one,” Jay said. “Stu invited Hadyn and me to see a Foo Fighters tribute band. I say invited—coerced is more accurate. His band was supporting.”
“Were they any good?”
“Stu’s band was the same as ever.
“At least you know what you’re getting.”
“True, that. The Foo Fighters tribute was excellent. Stu used to be in another band with the singer—he wanted to introduce us after the gig. Very interesting voice, and apparently, that was their last show as a cover band. They’re looking for somewhere to record their next album.”
“Oh, so you were working?” Krissi rolled her eyes. “Do you actually know how to take a night off? Get away from making music for once in your life?”
“Making music is my life. And is it me who’s come in a whole twenty-six hours early to start her new job? I think not.”
Krissi didn’t pass comment, seeing as she didn’t have to be there at all, today or tomorrow or any day thereafter. She and Wotto were directors, but neither was the type to sit in an office and push paper or suffer through long and boring meetings. Jay said their meetings could be as long and boring as they wanted them to be. They were their own bosses now; they could run the company however they saw fit. But the bottom line was, had Jay not been her BFF, she wouldn’t even have considered taking on Milky’s. She wanted something more. Something else.
“So Stu’s confident the FooBar Fighters will agree—”
Krissi held up her hand, cutting him off. “The who now?”
“The Foo—”
“Yeah, I heard you the first time. Are they for real?”
“They’re not called that anymore. They’re called…something to do with nightmares? I can’t remember, but you are going to love the singer—looks like the guy you had the hots for from, um…” Jay clicked his fingers. “The German band.”
“Rammstein?” She had never been a fan.
“No, not Rammstein. They had a sort of eighties goth vibe going on.”
“Tokio Hotel?”
“Yep, them.”
“Ohhh. Nice.”
“It’s a pity you’re not single. Stu says they’ve agreed to play at Black Hole on Boxing Day.”
“Should I know what you’re talking about?”
“No, because I only came up with it last night. We’re putting on a festival on Boxing Day.”
“You what?”
“You heard. Black Hole, Boxing Day—”
“Are you sure you don’t want to ditch that idea to do, you know, Christmas?”
“I don’t do, you know, Christmas.”
“What about Stu and Hadyn?”
“They don’t, either.”
“Did you ask them, Jay? Or did you just tell them they were working?”
“It’s not like it’s Christmas Day or anything, is it?”
“When are you going to set up?”
“Boxing Day.”
“You’re gonna set up the studio and sound check however many bands—well, about two, because, let’s face it, it’s Christmas—”
“Twelve,” Jay said.
“Oh, there’s a coincidence. Like the Twelve Days of Christmas!
“We’ve been rehearsing a cover of that. It’s awesome.”
“Are you being intentionally ironic?”
“Why, yes, I am.” Jay tugged his hair back and twisted it into a tiny top knot. “Good look for me, no?”
Krissi sipped sharply at her coffee. It really was too early for this kind of test of her patience.
“Look, I know you love Christmas,” Jay began peaceably.
“Ha!” The force of the word puffed foamed milk onto the table.
Jay released his hair and studied her. “You don’t?”
“Yeah, I do.” Krissi frowned. “I did.”

 

Goth of Christmas Past Playlist: https://is.gd/GOCPPL

Publisher Page: https://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/gothofchristmaspast

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Debbie McGowan Online:

Website: http://www.debbiemcgowan.co.uk
Blog: http://deb248211.blogspot.com
Hiding Behind The Couch: http://www.hidingbehindthecouch.com
Twitter: @writerdebmcg
LinkedIn/Tumblr/Instagram: writerdebmcg
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/beatentrackpublishing
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DebbieMcGowan
Sign up to receive my newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/b8emHL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Walnut Cake **the walnuts are optional — Marilyn Dishes …the food and the story

I cut the recipe for this pumpkin cake out of a magazine in 2002. I love this cake so much that I have the paper in a clear plastic sleeve so that it doesn’t get ruined! It is perfect for pumpkin lovers & even if you don’t love pumpkin, you might find that you like […]

via Pumpkin Walnut Cake **the walnuts are optional — Marilyn Dishes …the food and the story

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October 24, 2018 · 11:25 pm

Is it Telling or Showing?

I ran across a blog post today talking about telling versus showing. The writer does a good job of helping to explain the differences between the two, when it’s actually good to use telling and when to use showing.

I’ve learned over the years what showing is as I read books that told instead of showed. It’s easier to notice when a writer is good at describing a story compared to one who’s telling or what comes across for me as ‘lecturing’. Going through some of my own past books, I can see where I told more than showed. I plan to leave most of my past stories they way they are, except for the two novels I’m editing, where I’m fixing areas to show instead of tell. I won’t catch everything, but the stories will improve.

What I liked about the blog article I’m going to link to, is that the article is good for reviewers also. It gives an idea of what to look for when reading and what to review about. What’s also nice, is the blogger never scolds the writer/reviewer or says there’s only a certain way to write a story or to review one. They gently encourage people to take a look at the writing, see how it can be improved, and show what to look for.

If you’d like to take a read of that blog post, here’s the link. What Does Show Don’t Tell Really Mean

 

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Flight

Tomorrow, Flight, goes out of print. So today is the last day to purchase it. Flight is the second book in Queer Sci Fi’s Flash Fiction Contest series. It was the first flash fiction contest I entered with QSF, and my story, ‘Purrsuation’, is included. Stories cover the full range of Humor to Dark/Horror, Sci-fi to Fantasy. If you don’t have time to read except in short snippets, this book is for you. Here’s the link: Flight 

 

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Interview with A. Zukowski

Today is Sunday, which means it’s time for my monthly interview with a Beaten Track author.  A. Zukowski is visiting and will be telling us about their soon to be released book, Liam for Hire, and to answer what I like to call, ‘learn about the author’ questions. AZ also has a Rafflecopter drawing people can enter to win a copy of Liam. The link for the Rafflecopter entry will be at the end of this post. Let’s get started with the interview, shall we?

*****

KC: Can you tell us about your book Liam for Hire?

AZ: Liam is a young Irishman who has left his rural home behind to come to London.  He ended up homeless and acquired a bad drug habit. We meet him first after he has cleaned up his act and is working as an escort to make ends meet. One of his clients, Ali, is widowed, and trying to deal with grief and regrets.

Liam and Ali are very different, but each has a gut-wrenching past. It’s a story about finding soul mates under the most unexpected circumstances.

 

KC: What inspired you to write this particular story? What were some of the difficulties in writing it?

AZ: This story is from the point of view of Liam who first appeared in my debut The Boy Who Fell to Earth. Initially, I wanted to write something light because The Boy was pretty angsty. So I opted for Liam. Despite all his flaws, I liked him a lot and thought of him as a great storyteller. The first draft of the story took only two days because his voice came to me easily. I was thinking of some people I knew in Cork, Ireland. This was last year and it was meant to be a sweet summer read. As always, I got carried away and it has since grown into a full-length novel.

I write with my heart, and it can get very emotional. LOL. When I tried to write scripts, it was suggested to me by my mentor—who was a producer for the BBC—that I’d always have a goal when I write. How do I want the readers to feel at the end of the story? So, because I want to touch my readers, I have to feel the characters’ emotions myself.

 

KC: Are there any subjects you would never write about? What are they?

AZ: Never say never. I always write about flawed people in highly realistic scenarios. I sometimes wonder what it would be like writing sci-fi or fantasy.

 

KC: I noticed your bio states you live in London and Liam is also set in London. If someone wanted to experience what that city is like without visiting the usual tourist attractions, where would you take them to give them a true feeling of what it’s like to live there?

AZ: I’ve lived in quite a lot of places, mostly cities, and I always love the parts that visitors and even residents don’t/won’t see. Places are so important in my stories, but you won’t find a list of locations. Instead, I try to offer some kind of immersive experience where you end up wanting to visit the settings yourself. So, Liam For Hire portrays a nostalgia for Ireland, as well as gives a sensual experience of its main setting: London.

I haven’t really answered the question, have I? I love London for all its diversity. I like travelling on the no. 29 bus all the way from the city along Green Lanes to the northern edge, and often not a word of English is heard. I admire green spaces such as Highgate Woods, Hampstead Heath and Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. And while you’re at it, visit Highgate Cemetery to see the graves of famous people like Karl Marx and George Eliot. I also enjoy discovering little eateries from Ethiopian cafés, Japanese vegan to artisan bakeries. Go up to Alexandra Palace, which used to be a BBC transmission centre, and you can see all of London city from a vantage point. For those who love literary connections, they’d wander around Bloomsbury or visit the poet John Keats’ house (also in Hamsptead Heath). Instead of art galleries and museums, take a walk around Old Street, Hoxton and Brick Lane and spot famous graffiti (like Banksy’s).

 

KC: Here’s a fun question. Do you have a bucket list and if you do, what are a few things on that list? Why are they on the list?

AZ: No, I don’t keep a bucket list! But, I really want to visit South America, not as a tourist but to spend months travelling and living in various countries. That’d be great. I’m quite a linguist but I still forget the languages if I don’t use them for a long time. I want to live somewhere else for a while to perfect a language.

 

KC: Let’s talk about writing again. Your publisher is Beaten Track. How did you find Debbie or how did she discover you? How long have you been with BTP?

AZ: Your question makes Deb sound like some kind of talent scout! This can be a long story, but it’s also a rather short one about how I’ve found a home.

When I self-published my debut novel The Boy Who Fell to Earth last March, I had absolutely no idea how to do it, but stubbornly I soldiered on. I did everything myself from personally contacting each and every blog to all the formatting, cover design etc. I learned a great deal. I was really grateful for the bloggers and readers who liked my book, and some of them championed it in their own ways. For an earlier version of Liam For Hire I’d had some good feedback. I had interest from a publisher which is now defunct. It was looking like another project that no one wanted.

I can’t recall why I contacted Debbie. I read her Checking Him Out and When Skies Have Fallen, and many of the works by Al Stewart and Claire Davis, some short stories, and I really loved them. I knew BTP publishes diverse fiction, and it has a certain British quirk and an ethos that I agree with. To my surprise Deb was interested in Liam. I asked Al for advice who told me BTP is the best. I sent him my brightest emoji, and the rest is history…. Apart from the novella Courting Light (see question 7), Liam is my first full-length novel with Beaten Track.

So, the short version of this story: I was a stray that Deb has taken in.

 

KC: Now that Liam for Hire is finished, what are you working on next and approximately when can readers expect to see that book out?

AZ: I published a YA lesbian coming-of-age novella, Courting Light, which I’m very proud of. It’s part of Beaten Track’s Seasons of Love anthology and available as a standalone ebook and paperback. It’s a love story and it also features a teenage boy who has ASD and he has a strong voice. Liam’s friend Chris will be next (and final) in the London Stories series—Blue Jay. Chris’s love interest Alex is an ex-boxer, who will come to terms with his bisexuality in the novel. Almost all the readers of Liam For Hire have commented on how they’d like to learn more about Chris, which was how I felt about them, too. They’re sexy, funny and tragic all at the same time—a most alluring character. Their story is going to be a very romantic tale. I have another WIP but I need to do some historical research; so it’s a secret at the moment!

 

KC: Thanks, AZ for visiting! It’s always fun to speak with authors I haven’t previously met and to learn a bit about them.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

liam

Title: Liam For Hire
Author: A. Zukowski
Released: 24 August 2018.
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Length: 76,250 words/270 pages
ISBN: Paperback: 978 1 78645 244 3;
eBook: 978 1 78645 245 0
ASIN: B07FDH1TBW
Genres: gay, contemporary romance, LGBTQ, MM, age gap, new adult, homeless, prostitution, sex trade, bereavement

 

 

AVAILABLE AT:

Beaten Track   Liam Paperback   Liam ebook    Amazon

 

BLURB:

A gay novel

Liam Murphy has kicked his drug habit and now pays for the high living costs in London as an escort. His life is finally in balance. His only problem is that he obsesses about the minimum number of times he has to bend over to make ends meet. As long as he has his emotions under control, it’ll be fine. That’s what Liam keeps telling himself until he meets the young widower Alastair, also known as Ali, whose emerald eyes remind him of Ireland.

~~~

“I…I want us to have sex as though we’re making love.”

Making love? Jaysus.

I scratch my head. “Okay. You mean more kisses and shit?”

Ali laughs.

“And shit.” His face lights up and he looks about ten years younger. “Like cuddles.”

Featuring Liam from The Boy Who Fell to Earth.

This title contains material some may find objectionable or trigger-inducing: mature content, drug use, suicidal thoughts.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

I am a London-based British writer who grew up in the gay village and red light district of Manchester, UK.

I was trained in screenwriting at the University of the Arts, London; National Film & Television School and Script Factory, UK, followed by a series of misadventures as a film journalist, writer and producer of short films. My stories are based on personal and emotional experiences, and feature strong LGBTQ-identified characters.

 

Social Media

Twitter: @saszazukowski

Blog: http://azukowskiblog.wordpress.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16509569.A_Zukowski

Tumblr: http://azukowski.tumblr.com

FB: http://www.facebook.com/aleksander.zukowski.353

 

 

GIVEAWAY

 

If you’d like to participate in a rafflecopter giveaway for one of five ebook copies of Liam for Hire, then click on the link below and it will take you to the page for the giveaway.

RAFFLECOPTER

 

 

 

 

 

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Nature Sounds and Videos

I am so over summer. I can’t wait for winter to arrive. Maybe that’s why I’m sitting here at my desk listening to a nature video of a snow storm and a running stream. It got me wondering if anyone else likes to listen to environmental sound videos, to just relax or as they write. I’m not one to listen to music while writing like many authors, because I find it distracting. I pay too much attention to the melody and the lyrics. Environmental sounds however are different. They soothe me and help me focus. Here’s the one I’m currently listening to Snowstorm & Icy Cold River  . If you have any nature sound recordings you like to listen to, feel free to post a link. I’m always looking for new nature videos to check out.

 

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