Coming Soon: Hard Truths!

I’m excited to announce that Hard Truths is now available for preorder on the publisher’s website!

He can’t have the family he wants, but he may get the love he deserves.

Isaac didn’t expect to find love at his family’s Christmas dinner, but that was before he met his sister’s new fake boyfriend. Tall, muscular, and tattooed, Logan is what Isaac would love in a partner—and also everything his parents would hate in one. Not that they know Isaac’s gay.

That doesn’t stop him from dating Logan—unbeknownst to his parents, and with his sister’s approval after she fake dumps him. The pair dive into a whirlwind romance of motorcycle rides, cheesy puns, and hot sex. They meet each other’s friends and fill their time with happiness and laughter. It’s all perfect.

Until Isaac suggests they move in together, and Logan asks Isaac to come out to his parents. Isaac wants to, but he’s scared; he doesn’t want to lose his family. Unfortunately, he can’t see that his real family has been right beside him all along.

This story is extremely important to me, not just because I love the characters so much (and boy, do I!), but because while my issues aren’t nearly as dire as Isaac’s, there are a lot of similarities in the questions I ask myself and the mentalities I have to overcome. That said, this isn’t all doom and gloom! This book is also filled with my sense of humor (I apologize in advance 😉 and some fun sexy times. It also looks at some of the problems that arise in relationships, that might not be high drama but can still put the lovers on shaky ground. I hope it will feel real and honest and touching to all who read it.

End of the Year Book Reading Round-up

I spend all day reading, which is awesome. Unfortunately, it also means I don’t read a lot outside of work, so this list is going to be Riptide titles that I read over this past year that stuck out to me (and I’ll give reasons why). I can’t list ALL the ones I love, but here’s a sampling (12, so one for each month…sorta):

Midlife Crisis by Audra North – This book made me have so many emotions. It was really tough at times, but seeing Cam’s life unfold was really breathtaking and uplifting.

Sons of Devils / Angels of Istanbul by Alex Beecroft – This is a heavy pair of books but if you’re committed, you’ll find yourself taken on a fantastic adventure. It’s vampires as the truly horrific monsters they were originally meant to be–which makes the potential for a horrible ending all the more likely…

Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer – I’m not a huge fan of sports romance, or rather I’d never really read any that grabbed me. This was the first that made me go “Oh” and I was hooked all the way through. It’s a sweet struggle as the boys come to terms with themselves and each other.

Citywide by Santino Hassell – I loved the menage story, and not because of all the hot sex. But Chris’s thinking about relationships and being the third and preferring triads is just amazing and it really pinged something in my head.

Infamous by Jenny Holiday – There’s something about this friends-to-lovers tale that just carried me along. It was just a lovely read that gave me everything I wanted out of it.

Rogue Magic by Kit Brisby – In many ways this is your standard magic-in-the-real-world story, but the character growth and the story that comes to life really pulled me along through the story so I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Wanted, a Gentleman by KJ Charles – This is a playful historical, which was a delight to read. It’s covering some serious, dramatic topics, but it doesn’t bog the reader down.

Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn – A May/December, learning-to-be-an-adult story, this one surprised me with how much I liked it. The characters come alive on the page and that’s what makes this one so great.

In His Majesty’s Service by Jenny Urban and Elizabeth Silver – sci-fi romance with some action and political intrigue, it never takes the politics so seriously that it makes the story drag. A good balance of all the elements, this one had me reading as fast as I could to find out what happened.

Finding Home by Garrett Leigh – I mean, I love most of Garrett’s books, but this one is special with the heart-wrenching tale it tells, but also the hope and inspiration it gives.

Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn – I think this was the second sports book I read that made me interested–not in the sport, but in the story. I loathed who I was meant to loathe and loved who I was meant to love. The support and love in this book was heart-warming, and the sex was steamy.

I hope you check these titles out and find them as enjoyable as I did!

Happy New Year!

Dogs, Snow, and Marketing

For those of you not following my Twitter and Instagram account: I’m dog-sitting. They are an adorable geriatric corgi and a puppy mini-dachshund (though old enough that he’s at his max size). This means there are a lot of little messes to clean up, but thankfully they are tiny! And when they’re not BARKING NONSTOP at each other, they’re rather sweet (and quiet and also asleep).

Of course, sometimes they are barking nonstop at each other while circling my feet. It’s been a bit up and down.

We also got about five inches of snow, which meant shoveling a little so the dogs wouldn’t get lost in the snow (or so that they’d go out to do their business). Thankfully these people have moolah and have a service to plow their driveway and clear some of the steps. So the snow wasn’t that big of a deal.

In between work, dogs, snow, and watching season one and two of Voltron: Legendary Defenders, I actually was able to write a few thousand words so far this month.

Which really is a miracle, because my writing confidence has taken a pretty serious hit. I’m working hard on the “writing because I love writing” and “write what you love, no matter what” but I still want people to read my books. I know I sometimes write a little off the beaten path–trans college guy with surprise space alien and frog menage, hi!–but my last book was a straightforward M/M romance that was sexy and sweet and a lovely holiday read (if I do say so myself). Now, it came out the week before Christmas and it’s only 20,000, but it has 19 ratings on Goodreads. Not even review. 19 ratings.

That’s…depressing. So in addition to writing and editing and working full-time, I want to do more marketing. So if you have any tips, feel free to pass them along!

Book release announcement!

I’m so excited to announce that Second Skin is now available to pre-order on Riptide’s page! There you can find the blurb and a teaser cover.

Here’s you go!

When Jay heads to the university’s learning center for help with his math class, he doesn’t expect his tutor to be tall, dark, and handsome. But Roswell is all that and more, and their instant connection over cult movies, books, and TV shows quickly evolves into dating.
That’s when things get tricky.
Roswell might claim he doesn’t have issues with Jay being trans, but when he’s constantly insisting they “take it slow,” Jay’s not so sure. He’s been hurt before, and he’s not going to let it happen again.
But then Roswell reveals that he, too, has a few secrets under his skin.

A Very Exciting Saturday

Some Saturdays are definitely better than others. My day in reverse:

The print copies of Sharing a Pond arrived!

My level of excitement is immeasurable. I’m trying to decide how many to keep and how many to give away and if I should just hoard them all. So pretty! *pets* The best part was I wasn’t expecting them, so they just magically appeared in the mail and that was super exciting.

In LESS exciting news, I got my hair cut. I was getting a bit shaggy:

And so I got a fair amount cut off, mostly around the back and sides. But now I’m actually going to have to style my hair most days. Also, I realize for long-haired people the change is not dramatic. But it’s a lot when it’s short hair!
The funniest part is where I got the inspiration for my hairstyle. Which you’ll have to ask if you really want to know 😉
I hope you’re enjoying your Saturday as much as I’m enjoying mine!

Once More Unto the Edits

Please remind me to never do my edits on paper again.

BaW and I have had a long, long relationship. I wrote it *muffled noise* years ago, submitted it, was rejected (but given feedback). And then proceeded to get distracted. Go figure.

Then I started working on it, in spurts and fits. I gave it to beta readers for feedback, added pieces to the end. Read a book about plotting. Considered reworking it completely. Re-read it. Removed and reorganized pieces, but left it mostly as it was. Printed it out and did edits by hand.

I just finished entering in those changes. And I don’t think I can read this story again with anything near clear vision.

So I need a beta reader again. Anyone interested can drop me a line (alexdwhitehall at gmail). It’s possibly the softest, most mellow apocalypse you will ever read.

In other news, I’ve been hitting my word goals (somehow), and my reading goals (go me!), and am looking forward to spring.

In February I read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. It’s done in illustrated/comic form and while it was good, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I found the beginning to be too disjointed and often vague. I had trouble following some plots–or else being completely lost as to why this information was being shared. I struggled through that part, and it could be that as a child, we were shown things like a child would share things, but it didn’t work for me. I didn’t connect with the main character and, in fact, I was generally kind of annoyed with her a fair amount of time.

In contrast, as she aged, I found her more likable. While she was a trouble maker and cause stress for her family, everything felt realistic and more alive. Her struggle felt more real and as a person she blossomed into a real being rather than…whatever it was that was on the page before. I liked the change and while I was still annoyed with her at moments, it was in the way that I’m generally annoyed with people doing stupid things. But the circumstances and her life seemed more real.

I don’t regret reading this (it was a gift from a friend), but I doubt I’ll return to it again.

And since I read that super quickly, I read volume 2 of Crimson Spell.

And for March, I’m reading Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. This is a collection of essays, but also also an interesting thing he hasn’t done before where he writes at essay from a kooky perspective. It’s been a while since I’ve read his other stuff, but I think this is my favorite of his books so far (not that I don’t thoroughly enjoy the other stuff). This one just resonates with me more, for some reason.

The essays that are biographical are also entertaining, though they feel more hit or miss to me. But as with any time you’re trying something new, that’s the risk. I haven’t quite finished it yet (four or five stories to go, I believe), but I’d recommend picking this one up.

And that about catches me up, book and editing wise. Writing…well, I was going to continue working on one of my old pieces, and actually wrote 900 words. And then…something happened. The file was…damaged. All the writing I did (and edits earlier in the piece) were gone. I plan that I was saving directly to the flash drive on my Mac using Office Libre. I’m not sure which one is to blame, so they each get one third.

So I lost motivation for that piece and instead decided to start writing one of those post-it note stories that I’ve had hanging around. So now I’m working on trans cowboy story, which I have sort of plotted out and as long as I can get over the next hump, I think will be pretty awesome.

Spring is coming soon!!!

I made a decision.

I’ve decided on something, something which may seem amazing to some of you.

I’m going to get rid of some of my books.

Now that you’ve gasped in amazement (or shock or horror or boredom), I’ll add that it probably won’t be a huge number of books (considering the number I own), but there will be a chunk. Most will be books I’ll never read again (or never read in the first place). Some will be old, some newer, some in good condition, some in poor.

I plan on offering friends and family first grab at the books, so if there is one that you’re interested in, you can get it before I dispose of the rest whether I sell them, offer them for trade on GoodReads, give them to goodwill or donate them to a library.

I will post the complete list once I’ve had a chance to go through the books I have in storage and I will alert all the appropriate people when that list is posted.

That is all.

In Contrast to Burroughs

And I mean Augusten, not William.

I’m too lazy to dig up the articles that were previously posted about Burroughs and his autobiographies and how some people said they were made up. Some people got agitated and grumbley about it.

Then I read this.

My favorite quote: “Any writer has the right to shape materials, and undoubtedly Steinbeck left things out. That doesn’t make the book a lie.”

Now, obviously some of the flak Burroughs got was from the people he was writing about and how “he was telling lies,” but some people (and this is what I’d like to focus on) were upset because he lied in an autobiography.

Just seemed a study in contrasts at least.

Though, the quote above does make me think how much needs to change before an autobiography becomes a lie?

And can a book ever lie? (Assuming it’s not for educational purposes. I hope those don’t lie…too often.) I think something was said about books that ‘the truth the reader takes from them is the truth that the book held.’

Or something.

(Side note: if you try to figure out the correct quote in google by searching for “the truth of a book” you won’t find the answer, but you will learn that Jehovah’s Witnesses have something called The Truth Book and there is a book about escaping childhood abuse among them of the same name.)

Writing, Writing, Movies

I have a writing question for the general audience…

I read a series of books and was kinda really into it. So I took the atmosphere of the books and pseudo location and pseudo characters and wrote long story. None of the characters/events/plots/locations are the same, but I think if someone read the same series I did and then read my work, they’d see the similarities. Does that make this story fanfiction and thus unpublishable (assuming I’d want to go that route)? My only concern is because the original series is kind of unique (I haven’t read anything like it before), that my story will appear as a huge copycat. I suppose one answer to my question is that because I’m questioning it at all shows that I shouldn’t try to publish at all. But I’d be glad to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Update on CL: The end of February was supposed to be finished editing so March could be trolling for publishers. Well, 1/3 of beta readers got back to me and the one who did said she didn’t buy the second half of the story and thus stopped halfway (she was also involved in moving, but would have stopped anyway). This was a concern of mine before, and she just confirmed it…but I also wonder if it could pass as a genre thing. I’m not sure how much experience she has in the genre, plus it could just be a personal preference.

The long and short of it is that I think the story has to go back into major rewrites…and I’m not sure how I feel about the ending anymore either. I’d still love for my other betas to get back to me, but I’m not holding my breath (February is a short month and I know they’ve both been busy with family plans and a new job). Though I’d love to hear if my writing was bearable to read or not.

So my original deadline is going to have to be scrapped. I don’t count this as missing deadline because I didn’t miss it due to procrastination, but due to the realization that I need major revisions. I’m going to take some time to consider where I want to head with it and then create a new plan. If I don’t see any solutions that make me happy, I may just send it off as is and see what publishers have to say.

ETA: I heard back from another reviewer who needs a few extra days. I’ll be looking at his commentary before moving forward to see how it fits in with what this other person said.

I created a tumblr account for creative inspiration. Every day I post a picture, a quote, a first line, or a concept on which to write a story. Plus there is a “random” option, so you can use it whenever! Feel free to check it out.

For those who follow me on Facebook, you may have seen that I finally caved and got a Netflix account. I’m currently on the 1-month-free trial, and I’m enjoying it. I’m actually considering cancelling my Comcast, since I don’t really watch TV except for Big Bang Theory. But then I consider all the hassle that is and maybe I should just keep both. But that feels wasteful. Anyways, the point is I get to watch more movies! So on Between the Covers I’ll add some bunches of movie reviews. (And yes, they’ll probably have a queer focus.)

On Reading

A recent author inquired (I can’t find the post) if we (as readers) are annoyed when a writer (like she does) jumps around in sub-genre. Do we want an author who writes consistently or who writes whatever he/she wants? (Not that these can’t be one and the same.)

Personally, I like both and said as much, but I thought I’d explore that a little more in depth.

When I’m in the mood for a certain type of book, I rarely start a new one because I don’t know what that book will give me, in most cases. In some instances (such as with Andrew Grey), I can be fairly certain I know what I’m getting, especially if it’s his Farm series. But for the most part, I prefer to go into a book only knowing the barest of details and with minimal expectations.

This usually works. Assuming my expectations are always set at 3 (for acceptable writing, plot, characters), most books meet it, some go above it, a few go below it. My only real requirement is I’m a huge fan of happy ever after (HEA), or potential happy endings. (Life sucks enough, I don’t need to be heart broken after reading.) If a book is good enough (as judged via reviews on GoodReads), I’ll risk the non-HEA. (Side note, I recently got the two books in the Infected series by Andrea Speed. I’ve heard the ending is not so HEA, which worries me, but I’ve otherwise heard good things.)

So I start new books without needing anything from them except basic good book protocols. If I need something, I go to something I’ve already read, because I know the emotions it evokes (or the events that occur to satisfy that need). I don’t want the author to feel trapped in a writing style, and I think I’d become bored if I kept reading the same book over and over again in slightly different plots. And yet…

And yet I read every book of Grey’s Farm series and am chomping to read the next one. Why?

Aside from my insane need to buy books (I just picked up Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, first of the series [and I think what the show is based on] at Good Will for $.25), I’m attached to the characters we’ve been introduced to and look forward to hearing more about them. In addition, Grey is very good at giving exactly what he gave in the previous four books in a way that’s just different enough (for me, at least). Okay, when I read three of them in a row, it probably wasn’t a good idea (I get a little sour on things), but I still read and enjoyed them. It’s like eating chicken every Monday. Sounds boring, right? But it isn’t just plain chicken. It could be chicken parm, chicken in white sauce on shells, chicken sandwiches…you get the idea. That’s how Grey’s Farm series feels to me.

So why am I chomping at the bit to read the next of Grey’s books (Love Means … No Fear, fyi) and not just reading it?

Well, for one I want to finish the book I’m reading (The Lexicographer’s Dilemma, the review should be up by end of the week), two I shouldn’t be buying more books (I have over 20 that I already own that should be read), and three, even if I’m really in the mood for one of his books (aka, something with emotional struggle that has a HEA), I can’t really excuse buying his new one when I have four others that would work, plus a kindle full of other stories that match that description. But damn you, Grey, I still want to buy it.

Okay, so this wasn’t really about reading, it was about me resisting the temptation that is an author who produces cookie cutter books (I mean this in a good way, not a bad way). But to make it less off topic, what do you do? Do you like your favorite authors to surprise you? Or do you want what they write to be what they always write?