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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‘Seasons of Love’ and Interview with Editor Debbie McGowan

Ever wonder what it’s like to put an anthology together? Well, today’s your lucky day. Today is Beaten Track promo day where I interview, Debbie McGowan, the editor of BTP’s soon to be released anthology, Seasons of Love. July 31st, is the magical release date for the anthology so keep your eyes open. I’ll post the information about the book after the interview. In the meantime, I’ll let Debbie, or as I like to call her, Deb, tell you about the anthology and all the work involved in bringing one to publication.

*****

KC: Please tell us a little about ‘Seasons of Love’, and also how you came up with the anthology’s theme?

Deb: It all began with Ofelia Gränd (as it usually does):

Ofelia: Oh, what’s this year’s anthology theme? There will be one, right?? 😀

Deb: I think we could do something in summer. I know it’s super short notice, but it could be fun, throwaway, a bit mad. Theme…anything goes? I’ve given this no thought whatsoever – you can probably tell! 😀

Bear in mind it was the end of March by that point, and I thought… We could do a ‘summer’ anthology, but we might not be ready by then. Should we go for an autumn theme instead? It was only a small leap from that to an anthology for all seasons, and the title, thanks to the song of the same name which has been stuck in my head for about five years, was a given.

The stories – I told the authors as long as they incorporated the theme of ‘seasons of love’, they could write whatever they were inspired to write. I also didn’t set a word limit as this can really sap creativity.

The result is ten stories ranging in length from 6k to 42k words (around 190k words in total) and of various genres, including: young adult, contemporary, fantasy, romance and humour.

 

KC: How do you decide what stories go into any of Beaten Track Publishing’s (BTP) anthologies? Are there any specific rules you have for the submissions?

Deb: With Seasons of Love (and some of the other anthologies), it was a closed call for submissions (existing BTP authors only), which usually results in all of the submitted stories being included. We’re only small, and authors join our family because it’s right for them and us, so it’s unlikely anyone will write something that isn’t up to scratch. There are no formal rules beyond sticking to the theme. Having said that, Boughs of Evergreen stories had to be suitable for young adult readers, so there’s no explicit sex/violence.

 

KC: Can you give us a little behind the scenes look at what goes into creating an anthology?

Deb: For Seasons of Love, I posted the submission call on March 27th, with a submission deadline of May 31st and tentative publication date of August 1st (I had to look it up to check – we’re ahead of schedule! Woohoo!). Initially, there is some discussion back and forth as authors ‘brainstorm’ ideas and check those are acceptable. After that point, it generally goes quiet until the first submission comes in (on this occasion, April 22nd), and from then on, the rest come in dribs and drabs – only two late submissions this time, one of which was mine. :p

BTP is a team, and anthology time is when we really shine. While I do most of the editing, other editors help out too. Once we (author and editor) have agreed edits, the story is proofread by at least three people, first and foremost Jor Barrie, our resident proofreader, and by those authors who are confident enough/have time to proofread. (Huge thanks to Andrea, Amy, Alexis, A., Phetra, Roe, Neptune, Ofelia, KC and Nige.)

It’s pretty intense for a few weeks before release, although we’ve definitely improved with experience. I recall ‘fondly’ Jonathan Penn (proofreading) and I (formatting) working twelve hours solid (through the night for me) before the Boughs of Evergreen final version had to be uploaded for pre-release. Thankfully, it’s never been so last-minute since or we’d have only put out two anthologies instead of six.

 

KC: What do you love about your work being an editor and running BTP?

Deb: Everything! Actually, that’s not true. I hate collating sales figures because all the vendors provide the information in a different format. But that wasn’t what you asked.

I love working with brilliant authors and getting to read their stories first, although, it dawned on me earlier today, when I had to tear myself away from formatting the Seasons of Love ebook to do something else, that I get a deep sense of satisfaction and achievement out of seeing the finished product. There is something wonderful about holding something in my hand (or on my Kindle) and saying ‘We made this!’ Again. J

 

KC: What are some of the difficult aspects about running BTP?

Deb: The most difficult is time. There’s never enough of it, and it almost always take me longer to complete edits than I think it will. Luckily, I’m not the kind of person who can sit and do nothing. I’m…introvert, asocial, intellectual…don’t like going out and doing stuff. I don’t watch much TV, and Nige works strange hours, so I can work all of the day if I wish (and I do).

 

KC: Let’s talk about your own writing. What can readers look forward from you, that doesn’t include the anthology?

Deb: I’m waaaay behind on my own writing (see above re. time), but I’m going to try to fit in the final Checking Him Out book before this year’s over, and I’ve definitely got a novel coming out at the end of October, which is Goth of Christmas Past. It’s the first novel featuring the younger characters from the Hiding Behind The Couch universe – I say ‘younger’; they’re in their mid-twenties, so it’s contemporary New Adult fiction, I guess, and, like the rest of HBTC, it’s about a group of friends, central to which are Krissi and Jay.

Jay is a ‘goth’ and runs a community trust, mostly working in the trust’s recording studio. Krissi is (or used to be) a ‘scene kid’ and is starting a new job managing the trust’s milk bar, but she and Jay have been friends since high school, so there’s a lot of history there, and they’ve supported each other through some fairly significant events. That’s really what the novel is about – how they came to be BFFs. It’s stand-alone, but readers of the other HBTC books will recognise most of the characters and references to past events.

 

KC: Does BTP plan to release another anthology any time soon, possibly for the holidays?

Deb: Hmm. We’ll see (what Ofelia says). 😉 Joking aside, BTP has quite a few releases scheduled between now and Christmas, so probably not, but never say never.

 

KC: Thanks, Deb for the great interview. It’s always fun for me, and I’m sure many others, to find out what it takes to put a book together.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Seasons of Love by BTP

Published: 31st July, 2018
Length: 193,000 words (approx.)
ISBN: paperback 978-1-78645-232-0; ebook 978-1-78645-233-7
Authors: Deven Balsam, Neptune Flowers, Ofelia Gränd, Paul Iasevoli, A.M. Leibowitz, Debbie McGowan, Dawn Sister, Bob Stone, Alexis Woods, A. Zukowski  
Genres: Various, including LGBTQ+, Romance and Relationships, Contemporary, Fantasy, Literary, Young Adult, Adult, Humour
URL: http://beatentrackpublishing.com/seasonsoflove
Price: (Varies by retailer)
Ebook Edition: £7.50 (€8.40 / $9.90)
Paperback Edition: £17.99 (€20.15 / $23.75)
Also at Amazon: Seasons of Love

 

Blurb:

Love follows no rules. Like sun in winter and rain in summer, love can blossom in the most unexpected places. This richly diverse collection of stories proves that love is as universal and as varied as the seasons.

 

The Stories:

 

Tourist Season – Deven Balsam

Sometimes the darkness becomes too familiar. Sometimes, love lights the way out.

One of Zeus’s own children has a favorite office, hidden deep beneath the streets of Asheville, NC. Hades’ existence, while satisfying, is due for a surprise when his path converges with that of Korey, a gifted art student.

 

Machete Betty and the Office Sharks – Neptune Flowers

Tim is in the A team, professionally trained to investigate allegations of the potential mass hypnosis of the nation… But Tim is bored and horny. Who wouldn’t be? The office is full of idiots, and summer just keeps getting hotter and hotter. Reality starts to blur, screensavers come to life, and before he can say jiggyjig, he finds himself cavorting with a chain-smoking foul-mouthed merman.

Tim’s training is forgotten as he becomes immersed in fishy hedonism and office shenanigans. Can he save the day? Or will the team be forever lost in shameful acts of bouncybounce?

Find out in this tail of office boredom and surreal fun.

Warning! This story does not reflect realistic relationships with mermen or sharks.

 

Once Around Seven – Ofelia Gränd

Oswald Sattle is out of money and out of options. After more than eight months of sleeping in his car, when an acquaintance from his past offers him a job opportunity in the middle of nowhere, he can’t turn it down. No matter how much he’d like to.

Joshua Roth moved to Nortown four years ago, and he has everything he needs—a job, friends, peace and quiet. He’s not interested in a relationship, or anything else that would upset the life he’s built for himself.

But sometimes fate has other plans, and a single glimpse can completely change the course of a life.

In a small town, where everyone knows everyone else’s business, reaching for what you want can feel like a risk. But some risks are worth taking.

 

Winter Blossoms – Paul Iasevoli

Chris, a naïve twenty-four-year-old, breaks up with the first man he’s ever lived with. In the months that follow, he travels from Queens to The Hamptons, Manhattan to Brooklyn to find love. In the process, he discovers more about himself and realizes the man he hoped to meet has been in front of him the entire time.

Winter Blossoms will take you on a ride through the streets and subways of New York City. Every stop along the way highlights the 1980s’ vibrant, gay nightlife. Part nostalgic romp, part coming-of-age story, Winter Blossoms will delight the reader as it comes into full bloom.

 

Year of the Guilty Soul – A.M. Leibowitz

Antonia Moskowitz is caught in the middle, always having to pick a side. Whether it’s between her family’s two religions or in her relationships, she has choices to make. But learning who she is has a price, and every decision has consequences. Sometimes it’s hard to choose between being good and being right. Four seasons. Four kisses. One year to figure out what her heart wants.

 

The Great Village Bun Fight – Debbie McGowan

All’s fair in love and war. But not in baking.

 

A Springful of Winters – Dawn Sister

Kit is a bit socially awkward. In fact, the rules of social encounters are mostly a bit of a mystery to him, but he gets by, with lots of lists and contingency plans. He doesn’t have any plans in place for when he first meets Stephan, however, and he keeps bumping into the man in the most embarrassing situations. The trouble is, Stephan keeps turning up in unexpected places, arousing suspicion that this gorgeous man might just have some contingency plans of his own where Kit is concerned.

 

Out of Season – Bob Stone

It’s the old, old story. Demon meets girl, demon falls for girl, demon creates a perfect summer’s day in the middle of winter. What could possibly go wrong?

 

Seashell Voices – Alexis Woods

Once upon a time, a merboy spied a human child. The merboy, who longed to walk the sandy shore, spent his days watching the human boy grow to become a man who loved the sea. A man he’s admired from afar. The one he wishes he could be.

But how can a merman express his greatest wish when he has no voice with which to speak?

 

Courting Light – A. Zukowski

Our days were numbered but precious.

Courting Light is the story of Josie, an eighteen-year-old about to leave home to start university in London. She volunteers at a summer camp for disabled children. When Josie is paired with the autistic teenager Lucian, she faces intense experiences that are truly eye-opening. To her surprise, Lucian is not the only one who captures her attention. Over the weeks, Josie develops powerful desires evoked by the camp’s enigmatic young leader with a shaved head and tattoo on her skull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2018, anthology, beaten track publishing, Blog Interview, Debbie McGowan, interview, Seasons of Love

Electropuppy

Today I bring you some information on a new, innovative way to market and sell your ebooks. This idea was created by Nigel Paice, host of Beaten Track Radio a non-profit 24-7 station, affiliated to Beaten Track Publishing It plays a unique mix of music, storytelling, books, author spotlights, comedy and plays. He’s also the husband of my editor, Debbie McGowan.

Nigel wrote up a nice explanation of how Electropuppy works and he gave me permission to post about it here on my blog. So take a read, and if the idea of Electropuppy intrigues you, contact Nigel on Facebook , through Beaten Track Radio or email at: hello@electropuppy.com  Now here is what Nigel has to say about Electropuppy:

 

ELECTROPUPPY

We’ve just launched electropuppy.com. We supply download cards for independent creators to sell their digital stuff. This means authors can sell ebooks at conventions and in real world bookstores. Musicians can sell their albums at gigs without having to carry around heavy boxes of CDs (lets face it who still buys CDs anyway?) and automatically get eco-cred for not contributing to more plastic being created.

Each electropuppy download card has the cover art of the product being sold and scratch off panel revealing a unique 12 digit code. Enter the code at electropuppy.com and download your stuff. It’s that easy!

So, by purchasing an electropuppy download card from an author or musician, you’re not only supporting them, but you’re also supporting independently owned bookshops, music stores and other retail outlets that are being added to out network of awesome sales partners every day.

I’m posting because I’m looking for independent retail outlets who would like to sell our cards. We’ll supply everything you need including display stands, posters and a continually monitored and updated stock of changing titles, all for free and you take a percentage of every sale. it’s a no risk deal.

Also, if you’re a creator of music and/or books and you want to get involved either via the above retail channels or just to purchase some cards to sell on your own, drop me a line and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

 

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‘Say You Will’ and Author Interview

Today my guest is Alexis Woods. Alexis and I are both authors at Beaten Track and we’ve co-written a novel together, Metamorphic Heart. In this interview, Alexis is here to talk about her new release, Say You Will. 

*****

KC: Alexis, can you tell us about your new book and how you came up with the plot and characters? Also, why baseball?

AW: Say You Will is the next chapter in the life of Aaron Lark (AKA Ace) and his boyfriend, Darren Goldman (AKA Dare). They met in book one, Opening Day, cemented their relationship in book 2, Evading Exodus, and then I posted snippets of them in books 3, 4 and 5. But after three years I felt them calling to me to write the next step. The trick was writing a story where I could bring back in all the other characters who had been created in the Southern Jersey Shores world.

As for baseball… that goes back to Opening Day. When I wrote that story (the first M/M romance I’d ever written) it was time for catchers and pitchers to report for spring training. I went with a theme I knew well, and created characters based on people I knew, myself included.

 

KC: Out of all the protagonists you’ve written about so far, which one or two do you feel you relate to the most, and why?

AW: Both of these characters, Ace and Dare, are bits of me and my spouse. I’m a pharmacist and my husband works in front store pharmacy management. When I relate interactions within the characters’ work places, those are true and heartfelt reality. Because they are me, I’m drawn to write a piece of their story ever year. I just can’t let them go.

 

KC: Let’s talk about tropes and genres. What are some of your favorites, some of your least favorites, and why?

AW: It’s hard for me to discuss tropes as I’m fairly open to all of them. I do enjoy May/December romances, more so than second-chance ones. I love seeing characters meet “the one.” That first glance that makes them go “Wow!”

I’m more into genres. I won’t touch horror and dislike a lot of suspense. Give me action stories such as military or sports, and I’ll be swooning over those men. I love reading BDSM of all forms, but steer clear of zombies (*shudders*) and books that involve beards (using women as covers) whenever possible. I’ll devour mpreg, but limit my MC (motorcycle clubs) intake. I love a good fantasy, more so than science fiction, having grown up with Anne McCaffrey and reading all the great YA fantasy authors in the library. In historical fiction, I lean towards Roman and Greek, early medieval, over Regency times, mostly in lieu of the fact that my family and I are medieval reenactors with the Society for Creative Anachronism.

 

KC: I know you recently traveled to England to meet up with Beaten Track Publishing’s Debbie McGowan, her family, and numerous BTP authors. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

AW: Over one year ago, Debbie McGowan introduced the idea to the authors of BTP about having a get-together in England. I literally jumped on this chance, not only to meet the authors I interact with online at least weekly with, but using this opportunity to see England for the first time. My husband and I left the kids with Grandma, and flew across the Atlantic for 8 days of meet and greet and exploration.

It was both nerve wracking and incredibly joyful to meet these amazing people who all work so diligently at creating works of art. Not everyone I met was a writer, some were proofreaders and editors and sensitivity readers, but I am so thankful for the experience. Those authors in attendance were Roe Harvot, Hans Hirshi, AM Liebowitz, Julie Pyke, Sheila McKenna, Graham West, Dawn Sister, and Debbie McGowan. It was particularly gratifying to meet Amy, AM Liebowitz. She and I along with two other authors had just spent the last several months sprinting one to two days a week. In between sprints there was plenty of smack talk and getting to know you stuff, that meeting each other in the flesh simply cemented the friendship we’d already cultivated.

 

KC: Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month (June)? What are you working on if you are?

AW: While I am not participating in anything in June, I do participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. In April, I did not complete my intended project, but did create two short stories. One (based on previously created characters) which will be added to a novel I’m planning on completing in 2019 and another for inclusion in a new anthology by my publisher Beaten Track Publishing. I also completed the editing for Say You Will.

For July’s camp I’m hoping to complete the first draft of a complete revision and addition to Moondrake. I’d written Moondrake several years ago for an event sponsored by Goodreads, but had left the end dangling. Originally it was about 40k in length, currently it’s still uncompleted and totals over 80k. Moondrake is M/M/M, sci-fi, shape-shifter, mpreg, and with luck will be available by the end of 2018 or early 2019.

 

KC: What will we be seeing from you in the future?

AW: In addition to completing Moondrake and finishing revision edits on Metamorphic Heart (co-written by your host, K.C. Faelan), I’m planning on dedicating the remainder of this year and next year to finishing/writing two novels. The first one I started in 2014, a cold-case mystery with a touch of M/M/M romance—I’m bound and determined to get it done in 2019—and the second will be the third book in the Chosen Angels series. I’m still deciding on whether it will be Nate’s or Theo’s story, both are sitting on my shoulders demanding they be next. Nate’s storyline is a lot more complicated than Theo’s, who I suspect will have a short novel than Judah’s was (Hammer’s Thief).

There’s also still supposed to be a co-authored work with Francu Godgluck in his Gods and Monsters series, but I’m not sure when that will be completed. We’d started the story, but then both of us went off to work on individual projects.

Additionally, I suspect you’ll see another installment in the Southern Jersey Shores series in 2019, and expect to see an anthology available in print by the end of this year of all six original short stories.

KC: Thanks for visiting, Alexis. It was great having you here and learning about you, and your writing projects.

 

 ABOUT THE BOOK

 

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Title: Say You Will
Language: English
Release: 4, June 2018
Publisher: Beaten Track
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBTQ, Romance and Relationships, Pure Romance – M/M, Adult
Series: Southern Jersey Shores

 

 

 

 

 

BLURB:

Three years ago, Darren Goldman had no idea the man he met on his first day of work in
a new town would become the man he’d been waiting for his whole life. With Ace’s birthday approaching, Dare sets out to do the impossible: surprise his boyfriend with a party and a proposal.

“Can’t be done,” they said. “Never work.” “Don’t bother.” “Are you sure you want to do this?”

He’d prove them wrong. He was sure of it, until he wasn’t.

Book 6 in the Southern Jersey Shores series.

 

AVAILABLE AT:

Beaten Track Publishing   Barnes & Noble   Amazon   Smashwords

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Always an avid reader and colorful dreamer, it was only a matter of time before taking pen to paper, oftentimes literally. Every story I write has a song or theme, sometimes both, that emcompass them because I’m a firm believer in every song tells a story and every story has a song. I sing under my breath, tap my toes and swing my hips, much to the delight of my co-workers and friends. I freely admit that becoming a romance author is the best mid-life crisis a girl could ever have.

I’m an: Anachronist, Coffee Lover, Daughter/Dancer, Friend/Fighter, Jewish, Khazar, Lover/Leader, Mother/Medievalist, Novice/Nightowl, Opinionated, Pharmacist, Romantic/Reenactor, Sister/Scout, Traveler, Visionary, Wife/Writer.

 

On Goodreads at: www.goodreads.com/AlexisWoods

By Email: alexiswoods553@gmail.com

On Google+: https://www.google.com/+AlexisWoodsAuthor

Twitter: @alexiswoods553

Facebook: Alexis Woods

 

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Impact Anthology

I’m so happy right now. I received a congratulatory email from J. Scott Coatsworth, who is one of the moderators that runs the Queer Sci Fi group.

First, let me backtrack a bit. For the past five years or so, QSF has run a writing competition where the requirement is to write a three hundred word flash fic centered around a chosen theme. This year’s theme was ‘Impact’. Once winner’s are chosen, they are published in the annual QSF anthology. This year 182 stories were submitted, and 110 stories were chosen.

I first entered the QSF competition three year’s ago. My stories have appeared the previous two times, and I’m happy to announce the story I submitted this year was again selected for the anthology. I’m stoked! I’m not sure how much more information I’m allowed to tell you, though. I don’t think I can announce the title of my flash fic either because the honorable mentions, judge’s choices and final winners have yet to be announced. But whatever happens, I’m very happy my little story made the cut.

Hoping your day sends you some happy news, too.

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GDPR and Privacy statement completed

What a chore! I finally finished writing up my GDPR compliance statement to the Privacy page. You can get to the page through the Privacy tab located at the top of this blog and over the header. Please read through what I’ve written when you have the chance.

If you choose not to remain on my email list or to receive blog post notifications/emails, please unsubscribe using the ‘Unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of the WordPress emails you receive from me or through your WordPress settings, otherwise I will consider it affirmation that you wish to remain on the list. Thanks!

Now that that task is over, I think it’s time to relax and read a book.

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GDPR And Authors: What You Need To Know

If you’re like me, you probably subscribe to multiple blogs and email lists. Also if you’re like me, you’re probably receiving numerous emails from blogs and lists asking you to opt-in or opt-out because of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Since I have a blog here at WordPress, I also have to clarify how I collect information from subscribers and protect their privacy. If you’re an author, you might find the whole situation overwhelming. The author Nicolas Rossis here on WordPress, has written a helpful post for authors. Hopefully, this post directs you to his post. If not, I’ll come back to correct it so you can read his advice.

I’ll also write more on the subject of GDPR and create a Privacy post that subscribers can read. Stay tuned!

Nicholas C. Rossis

I’ve received quite a few inquiries regarding the new European Union privacy legislation known as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). GDPR comes into effect on May 25, 2018. This regulation initially impacts European Union member countries and aims to protect people from companies selling personal data. To do this, it regulates the use of people’s personal data online and aims at ensuring that every business storing an individual’s personal information has their prior consent. Furthermore, people have the right to know which data is stored and to ask for their removal.

Does That Affect My Newsletter?

GDPR and authors | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Image: Pixabay

The first question in most authors’ minds is: how does this affect my newsletter? There are four points to remember here:

First of all, if you’re in the US contacting solely Americans, you’re covered by the CAN-SPAM regulation; not GDPR. However, if you’re also addressing Europeans, you must enforce GDPR. In other words, the…

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Pasta with Smoked Salmon & Peas in a Dill Cream Sauce

food comas

We had a good amount of crème fraîche leftover from the Chicken and Artichoke Fricassée with Morel Mushrooms recipe, and as we were fairly new in cooking this particular ingredient, we were a bit stumped as to what to do with it.  As the expiration date loomed near, I started searching all over the internet to find out what types of recipes called for crème fraîche.  I found that crème fraîche is not only popular as a topping for fruit desserts, but is also a great finishing for sauces for more savory dishes.  In particular, crème fraîche can be used to finish a creamy pasta sauce.

I then recalled one of my favorite pasta dishes of all time from Basta Pasta, an amazing Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant in Manhattan that had some of the best pastas I had ever tasted.  The dish was called Farfalle Con Salmone E Crema:…

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Parker Solar Probe

I just found out yesterday about the Parker Solar Probe mission to study the sun, and how NASA is allowing people to submit their names and those names will be added to a microchip card. The card will be sent on the probe so in a fashion ‘you’ are sent into space. I’ve submitted my name, and if you’re interested, I give a link to where you can submit yours, but the submissions are open only until April 17th at 11:59pm EDT, which is tonight. I know, late notice, but you still have a few hours. Further information about the Mission can be found at Parker Solar Probe. Fill out the form here to submit your name.

Have fun on your journey to the Sun!

 

karen-kayser-358613-unsplash

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‘Oskar Blows a Gasket’ and Author Interview

New Oskar bannerThis post is the first author interview and book release from Beaten Track Publishing, that I will start posting once a month, except for the month of April, when I’ll participate in Camp Nano. Oskar Blows a Gasket, will be released March 30, 2018.

 

I’d like to welcome the authors, Claire Davis and Al Stewart to my blog. Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions about your new novel, Oskar Blows a Gasket, and about your writing.

KC: Al, you and Claire are known more for short stories and novellas. What made you decide to write a novel? 

A&C: That’s very true! We haven’t attempted anything longer than, I think, 40k before Oskar. It was a few reasons, but mostly about seeing if we could do it. A lot of the big British publishers won’t even consider less than 70k, so if we’re ever to go down that path, we knew the stories had to be longer. To be honest, I didn’t think Oskar would get there, because the basic premise was a one line thing.

Once it got to about 50k, I could see we would easily get to novel length. Writing it was a very exciting time. Every morning we sent each extract to a friend, and this really helped us keep going.

Something that was extremely difficult was the revision and editing. It’s hard enough with a short story, but with a story this length it requires a whole lot of other skills, and also time.

KC: The titles of your books always grab my attention. How did you two come up with Oskar Blows a Gasket?

A&C: I honestly can’t remember! But, titles have come to be an important part of our brand, if we have such a thing. I’m not sure we are at all good at blurbs and presenting our stuff, so the titles are especially important as I do want readers to know what type of book it is. I love the title. I think it says, this book is quirky. It’s not written to a formula. It deals with some huge events, which in a car terminology, is to blow a gasket. We also really wanted such a technical term on the cover alongside a very vivid 80s picture, to indicate a mixing of elements, opposites and contrasts. I get so sick of seeing the same type covers, but I know many readers much prefer the more traditional types.

KC: What is ‘Oskar’ about?

A&C: Oskar has several storylines running concurrent, but it’s mainly about two young guys who meet at college. They are opposites in many ways, and indeed this contrast is an important part of the book. Oskar is obsessed with fame and the 80s, Bear is quiet and withdrawn. They fall in love and doing so helps them both to deal with really massive issues to do with family and background. I suppose above all, it’s about finding a way to rise above the shit that life might dole out. It’s about following your dreams and being true to yourself, it’s also about kindness, love, friendship and moving on.

Because it’s a longer book, the other characters have proper development too, which is something else we both really enjoyed.

KC: What is something you and Claire get asked about ‘Oskar’?

A&C: Is it sad? ( because readers keep asking me!!!!!!!!) Honestly, I don’t know. I didn’t think so, but our publisher said she had a tear during editing. The characters do face tremendous challenges, and of course, there’s always a risk that will stir up memories for readers. My favourite scene from Oskar is very intense, and perhaps the best writing we’ve ever done.

Something we both love to tackle with writing is the way that people do cope when life goes horrible wrong. I don’t believe it has the same emotional impact as some of the short stories, perhaps because of the length. But we will see. We currently have eight people reading Oskar for the advance reviews, so from their response, we can probably get some indication of how it will be received. Above all, I hope readers will find it an experience and a journey, and that they will appreciate the how far the guys come. But my part is done.

KC: Now that both of you have finished writing ‘Oskar,’ do you have any other stories begging to be written? Can you give us a hint what they might be?

A&C: Claire has been writing her own stuff for a while now and we both work long hours. There’s really not much time these days. So actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Oskar isn’t our last book together. But I don’t know. We both feel like we would like to try other genres and styles, and I am really enjoying getting back to writing poetry.

KC: Thanks, Al and Claire, it was fun having you visit today!

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

OSKIE11

Title: Oskar Blows a Gasket
Language: English
Release: 30th March, 2018
Publisher: Beaten Track
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Humour, Romance and Relationships, New Adult, Pure Romance – M/M

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLURB:
Oskar Braithwaite is bold, brash and gorgeous. Just ask him.

Armed with designer backpack full of make-up and retro music galore, Oskar sets off for college. And, with attitude even spikier than his heels, nothing is going to hold him back. Except maybe one thing…his past is shouting louder than the 80s songs he adores and it won’t be ignored. Behind the effervescence are secrets, lies and sadness. Try as he might, not even Oskar can hide forever, and one day it isn’t only pop icon Simon Le Bon who’s going to catch up.

Who is writing letters? And why is a spy secretly following?

Enter Bear, with dancing eyes and secrets of his own. Bear’s kindness sparkles brighter than Lycra leggings, and everyone knows Oskar loves shiny things. Like every prophecy, their fates seem inevitably linked. As the walls of Oskar’s defence crumble, Bear shows his hidden strength, but will it be enough to save them?

Find out in this far-out, zany tale of fame, first love and retro DJs.

 

AVAILABLE AT:

Beaten Track  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Smashwords  iTunes

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

 

Al Stewart and Claire Davis write about people who are not perfect. Claire embraces the dark side, and Al the good side of the force. Their work is there for a fusion of both, mixed often with kink and humour.

 

                                                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

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