A book release!

If you haven’t heard, Magic Runs Deep is now out in the world! It’s a fantasy with some sweet romance, hurt/comfort, plus mages, bear shifters, and war!

For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.

Elrid, the invading king’s brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.

However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given — and the man he loves.

Let’s Talk About Expectations

There are many, many things to have expectations for/about in life, but this post is focusing on self-expectations, specifically in regards to goals/resolutions, because these are the expectations we have the most control over.

I set some goals for myself at the beginning of the year and by the second week of February I knew I’d built a pretty high mountain to climb. January went well. Book read, edits done, writing mark hit! Of course I also finished a book, so starting a new one was hard–immediately my word count plummeted. I finished edits, got beta reads, submitted the book…and immediately got developmental edits to do. While I was brainstorming how to fix February’s editing case. So my “edit a book a month” plummeted. Reading one book should be easy, right? But after reading all day, editing various books, and struggling to write, the last thing I wanted was another person’s words in my head. I read one page of a book and switched to another. Read a page of that and put it aside.

What I realized around the middle of the month, was that I might have burnt myself out by being too productive too fast. I need to reassess and adjust accordingly.

Revising: One book a month is kind of crazy, especially depending on how much work needs done. Especially since I edit for a living (duh, Alex). I think if  get 6 books revised this year, I’ll call it a win. It’s still going to be about 5 more books than I did last year!

Writing: Same basic 10K a month, but I think it’ll be a year-end goal of 120,000 instead, which will average out to 10K a month, which is pretty much how I looked back a 2017, so I think it’ll work.

Reading: I might need to “cheat” and read another volume of manga, but I do want to at least hit some of my titles on my to-read list. However, I also want to watch a bunch of anime shows (many of which are subtitles), so I’m giving myself flex here. Kind of a “we’ll see how it goes”. I know it sounds like I’m giving up, but it’s more a matter of “how much can I fit into my free time without feeling like it’s not fun anymore?”

The important thing, for me, is not thinking of the above changes as failing. Goals and resolutions should be flexible, especially in the beginning, so you can improve while also not killing yourself. Because once you start to fail, you give up. But if you lower the bar, then you might end up jumping just as high as you’d first planned, once the stress of failing is removed.

January round-up!

The new year means resolutions, cold weather, and the daylight hours slowly getting longer. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself for being on-task for my resolutions so far. But first…

Magic Runs Deep is up on Riptide’s site, available for preorder!! It’s coming in April (SO FAR AWAY)!

For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.

Elrid, the invading king’s brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.
However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given—and the man he loves.
I’m really grateful to the artist who made this lovely cover after I gave…less than stellar feedback on what I was looking for.
January has also witnessed me get my first 10k written for 2018, which also matched up with me finishing my current WIP The Miracle Man. This book’s idea started several years ago, as a jotted opening in a notebook that sat unused in my bedside table for several years. Then during a writing slump, I said Well, why not write this, it’s utter bollox, and then everything started flowing. And now it’s done! Er, well, the firs step is. 
I’ve also spent January revising my one manuscript, and I have about 30 pages to go. It’s a contemporary (maybe even a rom-com) with a sexy tattooed biker and his not-as-straitlaced-as-his-parents-think boyfriend. It has playful banter during sex and puns. And a shower scene…
Anyway. I’ve also been reading! (You know…that 1 book a month goal.) I’m on-goal to finish What-the-Dickens by the end of January. It’s not captivating me, but it’s cute. 

New Year, New Resolutions

Last year, my goals were:

I want to keep being better at my fitness ‘program’ and eating habits.
I want to write 10K a month every month.
I’d like to get three things published this year.

I…didn’t do awesome. In fact, I forgot about the first goal completely (or at least I didn’t try harder than I normally do).

I hit 10K roughly ever month. If I add up the months and average them out, it’s about 10,900 words a month.

Three things published? Er. Well…I didn’t think this one through. I submitted three pieces to publishers, and two were accepted. One got feedback, one came out a few weeks ago, and one comes out in April. So I think that counts as a success, even if I didn’t publish three things this year.

And this year?

My goals this year are similar to last year with some additions (and maybe some follow through :D)

1. Write 10K a month. I was originally thinking of upping it to 15K, but after November and December this year, I decided to focus on another resolution:

2. Revise a book a month. Writing is only worthwhile if I actually revise and submit books for publishing. Last year I focused on publishing books, but I think it was too abstract (and much of it out of my control), so this time I want to focus on taking steps to submit books–aka, revise the stuff I write and move it along on the path of publishing!

3. Read at least 12 books. This obviously doesn’t count work stuff, and last year I only squeaked by via manga (specifically What Did You Eat Yesterday?), which isn’t bad but wasn’t what I had in mind. This year I’m picking 12 books from my pile and want to read them:

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 10 lb Penalty by Dick Francis, The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan, The Innocence of Father Brown by GK Chesterton, Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, The Black Book of Secrets by FE Higgins, and What the Dickens by Gregory Maguire

I figure some might get replaced by manga, some might get replaced by library books or new finds, but these are some titles on my shelves that seem like I should read or at least might be interesting. I tried for a variety so I wouldn’t get bored or burned out.

(If you’re interested in reading along with me when I start a book, let me know, I’m always looking for reading buddies, and I’m not a fast-paced reader…)

First up will be What the Dickens.

Good luck on your New Year’s Resolutions!

As the Snow Falls: holidays and depression

As the Snow Falls comes out today!

Be sure to check out Boy Meets Boy Reviews for an exclusive excerpt from As the Snow Falls and for the chance to win a digital copy of A Christmas for Oscar.

You can find As the Snow Falls at NineStar Press, Amazon, B&N, and Kobo!

Christmas is fast approaching and Kade’s parents have abandoned him for the holiday. Thankfully his best friend, Byron, invites him to spend the holidtays with him and his family. That night, in the dim glow of the Christmas tree’s lights, Byron and Kade share a kiss, but Byron backs off before it can go further.
Can Kade stand up for what he wants and convince Byron he’s not so easily broken, or will he need a Christmas miracle to bring them together?

I love holiday stories, because they fill me with joy and put me in the spirit of giving and joy, which is perfect for the season. However, as people with depression know, the holidays can also be a difficult time.* If your depression is triggered by loss of sunlight, it’s literally the darkest time of the year. If you struggle to be social, then your time and energy are demanded. For those who have a hard time doing their daily stuff now have a whole bunch of other things dumped on their plate.

But in some ways the holidays are great for depression. They force you to get out and about, they surround you with good cheer (…angry shoppers aside:), and there’s a sense of magic, wonder, and love as you gather with friends and family. It makes you feel the love, feel how many people care about you. None of that fixes depression, but in some cases it can help balance out the hardships that the season heaps on.

This story isn’t about Kade’s depression, but because Kade has depression, it influences his character and how Byron interacts with him (for better and worse). This isn’t a story about how finding the right man can cure you of depression–because that doesn’t happen. Rather, it’s a story about how having friends and loved ones around can help. How having someone there can maybe stop you from slipping into a depressive mood. And also how they have the most power in hurting you.

I’ll warn that this isn’t a perfect representation of depression. Because there is none. Everyone’s experience is different, and this is just the story of these two young men and their journey from friendship to lovers on a snowy Christmas Day.

I hope you enjoy it.


* Everyone’s experience with depression is different and I’m talking in general terms and with my own experiences here, not as hard and fast law.

Coming soon! And later!

***I’ve been a little absent lately on my blogging, and I’ll spare you the excuses.***

I have a sweet little Christmas story coming out December 11 with Nine Star Press! It’s called As the Snow Falls, and it’s a friend-to-lovers tale that looks at becoming an adult, depression, and love (of course). It’s just the thing to read between those hectic moments during the holidays!


Christmas is fast approaching and Kade’s parents have abandoned him for the holiday. Thankfully his best friend, Byron, invites him to spend the holidays with him and his family. That night, in the dim glow of the Christmas tree’s lights, Byron and Kade share a kiss, but Byron backs off before it can go further.

Can Kade stand up for what he wants and convince Byron he’s not so easily broken, or will he need a Christmas miracle to bring them together?

Also, later this year my m/m fantasy romance novel, Magic Runs Deep, will be coming out with Riptide Publishing! I’m so excited for this story to be out in the world for you to read!

Finally, I’m currently writing a light fantasy, outlining what was meant to be a Marriage of Convenience that has gone terrible wrong (the outline, not the marriage), and there’s a menage Christmas story that wants to be told but is being stubborn.

If I don’t pop by again….Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!

Writing Exercise

I’m not sure if it’s been the pet-sitting (and getting out of the habit), the revisions, or the lack of keen interest in my current projects (or a combination of it all), but my writing has been unenthused lately. To help break my slump, I did a writing exercise tonight that’s a little silly and a little weird, so I figured I’d share it with you, if you feel so inclined.

Murdered, She Be?

There had been many theories about how she had been murdered.

They were all, unfortunately, wrong.

Meyers Ling was right that her day had started at the dog park. But it wasn’t the one by her house, where she normally went. No, that one always became a mess after it rained, and they’d had a downpour that night, so she’d gone to the one across town.

Elliot Finkle wanted to know why she would have gone to the dog park when she didn’t have a dog.

“The answer is obviously,” Ling said. “She liked to visit with other people’s dogs.”

He was right about that as well.

The last thing he was right about was that she met her murderer at the dog park. He was wrong that the murderer followed her home.

“Nonsense,” said Finkle. “This was obviously a crime of passion. I suspect it was an ex”lover.” He eyed Robert Anderson and Julie Bowler.

“That’s ridiculous!” Anderson said, possibly because he’d been the one to find the body. “If it was me, I wouldn’t have called you all here! I would have covered it up!”

“Unless you knew that one of us knew that you were going to come over to her house today,” Ling pointed out.

“Which none of you did, as I just decided to do it five minutes before ariving.”

“Oh?” Finkle inquired. “And why was that?”

“Because she loaned me a twenty for dinner last week and I knew if I didn’t come over immediately I’d keep forgetting to pay her back.”

“That sounds like a likely excuse!” Finkle accused.

“Well, it does seem too stupid an excuse for him to have made it up for just this purpose,” Ling admitted.

“Um,” Bowler said, but got no further.

“Care to admit to the crime?” Finkle shouted, and everyone’s attention turned toward her.

“Uh, no. I was just thinking maybe we should call the police.”

Finkle, Ling, and Anderson were reluctant, but eventually conceded it might be best to involve the authorities.

In the end, the police questioned each person thoroughly and determined that based on the scene and the information that she had walked her neighbor’s dog down to the dog park for him–as he was getting up in years–and back home, she’d been slicing some chicken for the big bruiser when something had startled her and the dog, and in a fumbling of limbs, she’d fallen on the knife.

She had rolled over–possibly with the help of the dog–but the wound was too grievous and she was unable to call for help. She bled out. When Richard arrived, he opened the door to the sounds of a frantic dog–which ran out and away as soon as he opened the door, and he found the body and called their three friends to figure it out.

“Why didn’t you call the police immediately?” the officer asked.

“Well, she was already dead,” Anderson said. “What good would that have done?”

The end

Writer’s Block, What Writer’s Block…

At the end of April I finished a project I was working on. It was a full novel and I was super excited about it. It was fun to write and hopefully will stand-up to being read. I finished it on the first morning of vacation, so I didn’t expect to write much for the rest of that weekend.

And then it happened.

I had planned on jumping back into my not-a-rock-star-any-longer story. So I brewed on it. Thought on it. Reread it. But didn’t write a darn thing. Bit of a slump, I thought after the first week. Just coming down off that finished-book high.

By the 13th I was getting worried. I hadn’t written a word all month. I wasn’t going to hit my monthly word goal, THAT was for sure! (The creeping panic of I’m never going to write again was screaming in my head, but I’ll ignore that.)

Then I saw a submission call retweeted about an alien romance. I happened to have an alien romance that I wrote yonks ago. It was roughly 2k and pretty much skipped all of the story except them meeting and the fun alien sex. So, hey, I already had a basic plot! I could write that. Not fret about it too much, get me writing again.

Golden.

Right?

Well, it sort of worked. I wrote a little, then a little more, then a little more. All told, I wrote just under 4K. And then I heard about a holiday submission call, and was like this alien story isn’t due until later, let me work on THAT. And I wrote just over 6K.

In the end, I met my word goal for the month (I snuck in with 10,003) and I have two possible stories started. They might both be terrible and uninspired (one is definitely depressing), but I wrote. And that’s a big step of the process–because once you start writing, it’s easier to continue. It’s that lethargy of not writing that drags you down.

Or at least drags me down. I don’t write every day, but getting out of habit of exercising my writing gives me weak writing–in that there isn’t any writing at all.

To my brother: Yeah, you were right, I did it.

A Progress Report: April

A progress report! (And an aside to say I had a couple post ideas to do this month and somehow failed to do any of them.)

WIP: In the month of April, I wrote 13K on my hot motorcycle boyfriend with tattoos story (…which needs a title) and finished it off on the first morning of my vacation (before my devices all decided to NOT recognize the hotel internet). It comes in at 62K and I hope readers will find it as sweet, funny and sometimes emotional as I did writing it. (WARNING: PUNS)

Also, check out the sweet setup I do most of my quick morning writing on (using Google Docs): iPad with a keyboard case. Works best with tiny hands, but is better than booting my laptop in the morning before a busy day.

Revision: I still have ONE scene to write to finish out the revisions on my trans cowboy story (totally not writing this post to delay doing that, I swear….). I’m definitely going to need another beta read, because it went from 26K to 40K. Which the story definitely needed, and hopefully it satisfied all the issues the beta found (and a shout-out to my beta for this, who was awesome and pointed out some weak points).

Knitting: I’ve also sorta started knitting for profit, but it’s not really a venture, so much as when I can’t decided on my next project I’ll start knitting a pride scarf and make them available for purchase. I started with asexual pride, because I’m biased (and aces don’t get nearly enough merch love!). I have three for sale (one with vertical stripes like pictured, two with varying thickness of horizontal stripes). But the pictured one has a “defect” that might not be noticeable but makes me feel guilty. I’ll either keep it or sell it for less than the others.

Publishing: Nothing at the moment. One story I’m still brewing on publisher comments (and is with another reader for some more thoughts). One is still in a pub’s submission pile (no word back yet). Have a few stories that might be ready soon to go out, but will probably be making a call for beta readers too.

Elsewhere: I also went to a small anime convention in Lancaster, PA, this past weekend (see the above comment about trying to sell scarves), which was a good time with friends, although exhausting as always. I was smart and took Monday off though, which is rocking.

Now I just wrapped up a WIP, will be wrapping up a revision WIP, and finished a knitting WIP. So I’m a little lost right now! (And I have plenty of new projects/currently projects I need to get back to, so no worries there….but I’m floating at the moment.)

Finally, if you want to see more random pictures from my life, be sure to follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alextherate/. Mostly pictures of food and horses, with some proof of me writing/revising, and a game of Where’s Alex Now.

What’s Alex Up to Now

Now that spring is finally spinging (aka, having a day of pouring rain for every two of sunshine), I’ll start getting more motivated to do stuff! Of course, I also have more stuff to do… (see picture for a guess on what that is!)

But I hope by the end of April (that’s what month this is, right?), I’ll have finished the rom-com contemporary m/m romance I’m working on.  I’ve crossed the 50K mark and I’m happy with what I’ve got so far. Now it’s just ripping out hearts and stomping on them. Um, lightly, I guess, since it’s rom-com. And then making it all okay again.

My other current project is doing revisions on my trans cowboy story, which is going fairly well. My beta gave a lot of feedback suggesting some heavy additions, and I’ve been working them in. One fear I have is that the scenes will make the story drag instead of developing character and relationship like they’re meant to, but I’m sure a re-read (in a different month) will clear that up. Again, I’m hoping to wrap up the revisions by the end of the month, which is going to mean putting my nose to the grindstone, but I’ve already added 4K-6K words? So it feels like good progress, even if it makes my end goal further away.

I want to say that’s all I’ve got on the writing front, but last night, while mixing up tea flavors at Adagio, I suddenly wanted to write a story focused on a tea shop and then make teas for all the characters!

So now I’m sort of brainstorming that. I love the concept, but it’s not a story that’s jumping fully formed (or even vaguely shaped) from my head, AND I don’t want to get distracted from my current story (plus all those stories I started and haven’t finished yet). So it might end up coming to nothing. But we’ll see!

For now, sexy motorcycle nerd…which desperate needs a title!