Sex Positivity Blog Hop: Why Sex Shouldn’t be a Dirty Word

spbhbadge (2)Hello and welcome to the Sex Positively Blog Hop, the brainchild of fellow author, Grace Duncan. For the next two weeks, you’ll be hearing from some of your favorite romance authors sharing their positive views on sexuality, as opposed to the negative spin we get from most lawmakers, the media, and ‘concerned citizens.’ For the entire list of participants in the hop according to dates posting, check out this link here. There is a link at the bottom of the post for the websites themselves.

I think this is a terrific idea! I believe that what two consenting adults choose to do in the privacy of their own home should be just that: private. And I believe we have the right to read and watch and enjoy what we like, as long as all parties involved are consenting adults as well. You like to read Dinosaur Erotic Fiction? Okay, not my thing, but I can respect that it might be yours. It’s not my place to judge you on it. It is certainly not my place to try and have it removed from Amazon. You think 50 Shades of Grey is the best book ever? Well, I disagree, but I’m not going to try and get it banned from the local library or condemn your morality because you enjoyed it. Likewise, I would not expect you to get your knickers in a twist because I write male on male romance, or because one of my friends loves what she calls ‘tentacle porn.’

Why do so many people put their noses in your private life? There’s a small business near my house that sums it up pretty well, I think. Painted on the side of their building is a picture of a large, ugly city, a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. The painting quotes a Bible verse about how we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God: and then goes on to state that unless we put to death the sinners, our nation will fall. Um, remind me not to take my business there, okay? But it illustrates a real problem with the viewpoints of some religions: it’s not enough to say, “My religion forbids me to eat doughnuts, therefore I won’t.” It’s the religions that state, “Doughnuts are the gateway to hell and everyone who eats doughnuts are sinners and we must BAN all doughnuts or else our mortal souls are in jeopardy, so prevent access to doughnuts NOW” that are the problem.

Daisy DukeSex is a weird beast when it comes down to it. We revere it in advertising, as long as it follows certain rules. Daisy Duke had to wear panty hose in order to get her miniscule shorts past the censors on the Dukes of Hazzard, and yet Catherine Bach’s poster of the Daisy Duke character sold over five million copies. There’s no doubt, sex sells. When it comes to products, to television series or movies, or novels, sex is often a big part of the marketing campaign, even if there is little sex in the actual item being promoted.

And yet sex is strangely taboo, as well. I’m sorry, but I think it is a bit strange that we here in the US have a high tolerance for blood and gore in action films, but showing a little bit of flesh can move a film into a restricted viewing category. It’s the push-me pull-you reaction on the part of the public to sex that is so puzzling and frustrating to me. Especially when it comes to how women are portrayed.

Redhead bondageA few months ago, I got into a discussion about tropes in traditional romantic fiction with a friend of mine, Pir8fancier, on Live Journal. I’d read a scene from a best-selling novel from a famous author, and due to an unfortunate choice of words, I’d mistakenly assumed that the new lover had handcuffed the woman to the bed when she showed signs of leaving. My misinterpretation of the scene threw me right out of the story. I was already having issues with the scene as it was: the heroine had a history of sexual abuse, and there were elements in the scene that made me very uncomfortable, as the hero refused to back off, but persisted in his pursuit of the woman. One of the things I’d been enjoying up until this point was the fact that the heroine was only interested in the man for sex. She only wanted to scratch an itch. I had found it to be a refreshing take in a story from the woman’s POV, and was pleased to see it. But then, out of nowhere, came what I perceived to be dubious consent.

Pir8’s take on this was interesting. The heroine, who’d previously shown herself to be tough and uncompromising, was having her role flipped on her. She said, “It sounds as if the author is actually punishing the heroine for wanting to be sexual and not be the submissive little sex slave that she should be. That her role is to be the woman who is enthralled with the man, NOT with his sexual organ. That sex for sex’s sake is bad and she has to be put in her place. PHYSICALLY. All of her sexual agency in this scene is taken away from her. He physically overpowers her. She cannot direct the sex. She is there for his pleasure. And naturally because this is fiction, his pleasure becomes her pleasure. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? We can’t have our own pleasure, we can’t please ourselves. We have to be passive and let the man please us.

I know that this type of scenario plays into a lot of our shame about sex, which society promotes big time, and it is no surprise that this would appeal to many women because it absolves us of the burden of enjoying sex. We are helpless! It just happened! I had nothing to do with it!

I cannot accept this sort of passivity any longer. I want my heroines to embrace their sexual selves.

THIS. I want to draw hearts and flowers around this statement and decorate it with glitter because YES.

GOP PLan for WomenThe discussion turned to the conflict between the sexualization of pre-teens, while constantly sending out messages that women need to be passive sexual partners. It was Pir8’s opinion that this conflict was possibly behind many of the self-destructive behaviors such as cutting and anorexia. And it is not just limited to women any longer, though the stigma of being a ‘slut’ is still actively being championed by the Far Right. For the heterosexual male, being sexually active is more likely to be viewed with pride than with shame or name-calling, and yet more and more we’re seeing legislation being passed to limit access to birth control measures, or as some people on the Right refer to them, “Whore Pills.” When the Hobby Lobby debacle came down, I had people on Twitter telling me they didn’t want their tax dollars going to pay for some slut’s whoring around. Funny, we don’t see any bans on insurance companies selling Viagra or performing vasectomies, now do we?

But I digress.

I agree with Pir8fancier. We have a heavy media presence pushing sexuality on one hand, and a social presence condemning it on the other. Yes, the message is definitely be sexual and get punished for it–or don’t be sexual and be ostracized and turned into a pariah. I can remember driving up to pick up my younger sister from her high school and being treated to a gauntlet of stares, nasty comments, and laughter as I waited for her. When I mentioned the reactions I’d received while simply waiting to pick her up, she looked me up and down and said, “Well, if you’d bothered to do your hair and wear nice clothes, they’d be the ones jealous of you.”

I stared at my then 15-year-old sister and asked, “Why would I give a rat’s ass about what some teenagers think of me?”

She didn’t get it. That was the message she’d gotten from her peers and from society around her was, “Look the part but don’t act the part.”

Which is sad. It’s sadder, too, that online misogyny and slut-shaming seems to be growing in strength rather than diminishing.

What can we do about it? Well, for one, we can stop buying into society’s playbook. We need to teach our kids not to be ashamed of their bodies or their sexuality. We need to do away with the ineffective (and largely American religious-based groups) abstinence only programs and teach proper sex education in schools again. We need to talk to our teenagers about consent (an excellent open letter written here–but be prepared, the comments are just as ugly and inflammatory as you could expect). We need to talk to our kids about protecting themselves from inappropriate sexual contact without making them fear and revile ALL sexual contact. We need to stop making sex a selling point in advertising.

ink pen_wikipedia_orgI think the biggest task, however, lies in the hands of the writers. Yes, we writers. The pen is mightier than the sword, after all. :-) The writers are always on the forefront of changing society’s perception of accepted mores. It’s writers telling stories about same-sex couples finding their happily-ever-after or introducing GLBTQ characters into television shows that has been instrumental in increasing both the visibility and acceptance of this community, as well as championing their rights. Star Trek put a black woman in an officer’s position on the bridge of a spaceship, taking her out of the traditional role of a maid for the first time ever. Star Trek also gave us the first interracial kiss (even if it was The Aliens Made Them Do It) and then decades later on Deep Space Nine, the franchise gave us this scene, in which Jadzia Dax is faced with the woman she was once married to–but as a man.

 

 

One of the things I love about this scene is that the love is between two characters–not their external bodies. Not who they are on the outside, but who they are on the inside. The taboo in the relationship is not that they are both women now, but that Trill society forbids romantic relationships between former hosts from past lives.

We need to keep breaking the ground on what is ‘acceptable’ in terms of romantic fiction and refuse to play into the old tropes where a woman had to be forcibly overcome during sex so that she wouldn’t come across as a slut, or that a man had to come over all alpha and dominate his partner in order to be seen as a ‘proper’ romantic lead.

It’s up to you readers as well. In many cases, you hold the most power. Vote with your purchases and your reviews. Don’t accept the tired old tropes (unless of course, you like them). Tell authors what you love about their stories. Tell your friends about the books they must read. Leave reviews on the stories that touched your heart and why. Share. Promote. Talk about it. It’s time to embrace your own sexuality as well. Yesterday I tried on a pair of ridiculously inappropriate shoes. Inappropriate because my life is filled with mud and animal hair, with horses, dogs, and cats. Inappropriate because I nearly killed myself trying to walk down a short flight of stairs in them.

My Frozen ShoesBut damn, they looked good. And that’s reason enough to have them. I feel like a princess when I put them on, and I’m learning to embrace my Inner Princess. She’s the one who dresses up simply because it pleases her, and she’s not afraid to ask for what she wants–and take it when it is offered.

Like Pir8 said, I cannot accept this sort of passivity any longer. I want my heroines and heroes to embrace their sexual selves. And that means starting with myself.

Here’s the link to the rest of the blog hop! Do join in the fun!

My latest release is Walk a Mile, the second installment in the bestselling Sixth Sense series from Dreamspinner Press. FBI agents John Flynn and Jerry Parker are struggling to keep their evolving relationship together while on hunt for a murderer. Do check it out!

UnspeakableWordscoverWalkAMile

A Love Letter to Autumn

Halloween cat in leavesIt’s no secret: I love autumn. I know a lot of people who hate it, who get depressed by the shorter days, the creeping cold, the leaves changing color and falling to the ground, a metaphor for death.

Not me, though. I love it.

I love that first morning you wake up and there is no haze over the mountains, the air is as crisp as biting into a nice Macintosh apple. You have to put on a jacket to walk the dog, knowing that by the time you get back, you’ll be shedding layers.The leaves scritch across the sidewalk with the blustery wind and crackle underfoot as you swish through them. There’s  the smell of woodsmoke in the air, as well as the smell of dead leaves and rich, damp, earth. A fine layer of frost rimes the grass in the mornings, and etches crystals on your windshield.

Harvest MoonThe moon is a ghostly sickle in twilight sky, or a giant orange orb, or a shining silver globe that bathes everything in a clear, cold light so bright you could read by it, throwing the shadows into sharp-edged relief.

And the night sky. Oh, the night sky in autumn! The stars are so brilliant, and the skies so clear that you can see star fields beyond star fields, as though someone scattered handfuls of diamond of all sizes on a black velvet cloak. There is Cassiopeia, with the running “W” of her throne, and low in the autumn sky, the Big Dipper. There, too, is Venus in the early evening, and sometimes later on Saturn and Jupiter as well. By winter, the familiar sight of Orion’s Belt will greet you, but for now you stand huddled in your coat, watching the horse’s breath come out in plumes, and glance up at the starry sky, grateful for this moment in time. You can hear coyotes howling in the distance, sound traveling in the clear, cold air, and it makes you shiver.

waiting for dinnnerThe afternoons are tinted with a yellow light, so rich and warm as it shines through the nearly translucent leaves and lights them within like Halloween pumpkins. Everything is orange, and gold, and red, colors that do nothing for you at any other time of year but that you embrace come autumn. The horses have become furry; you can place your hand against their skin and have hair come up between your fingers. The dog races ahead on the trail, stopping alertly to listen to the forest, and you listen too. It calls to you, tells you to keep walking, that this day is yours and that you must enjoy it while you can. What other season can give you both leaves and snowflakes falling at the same time? You carry the camera with you wherever you go because you have this compulsion to capture the light, the color, the dog frisking among the leaves and immortalize it. It doesn’t matter that you’ve walked this same path a thousand times before. There is the hope that perhaps this time you will take that one photograph that utterly seizes the essence of the moment and stores it for all eternity. One day, you’ll want to look at these images again and remember how rich and blessed you were in this moment.

Autumn Dog Walk2It does seem to me that autumn is shorter every year. It’s not entirely my imagination–I read a report that stated due to climate change, our autumns are roughly two weeks shorter than they used to be. And I know, too, there is something about the change from October to November which spells the end of autumn for me. The light becomes harsher, slanting into the whiter spectrum of the season to come. The skies are pewter more often than not. The leaves are brown, what few remain on the trees. November comes in with a vengeance, stripping the trees of their glory and spitting sleet in your face. It reminds you that winter is coming. Now, I love winter almost as much as I love autumn. I spend almost as much time with the camera trying to collect images for my memory treasure chest. But I won’t lie, I don’t look forward to the deep cold. It was fifty-five degrees in my bedroom this afternoon. After I turned on the heat, I got it up to fifty-six. Give me another month or so, and I’ll be moaning about how miserable I am. :-)

Fall roadBut I will always love autumn.

In less poetic news, Walk a Mile was listed as one of October’s Recommended Reads by Prism Book Alliance! It’s up there with some of the best stories from some of the brightest stars in the genre, so I am delighted and pleased (and surprised) to be among such a stellar crowd. If you follow the link and leave a comment at the post, you’ll  be entered into the giveaway for your choice of one of the recommended reads. What are you waiting for? Check it out!

The Apocalypse is coming–thank God! Now I don’t have to clean the house…

Golden HillsideI confess, I’ve been struggling a bit of late. As I’m coming to learn, it is a combination of things that sends me to a darker place. Work stress can definitely do it, and when I get snowed under by work is when I am the most likely to lie awake at three am and dwell on all my failures in life.

Not getting enough sleep will do it. So will feeling crappy, which is also something I struggle with, especially when I get tired and stressed.When I get pushed for time and energy, I find myself snarfing candy bars instead of snacking on the apple I brought in with me to work. I say ‘screw it’ when the staff brings in pizza (and that is the absolute *worst* thing I can eat–I’m supposed to be avoiding all dairy and wheat while I figure out what I’m allergic to) and I have a slice anyway. I recently commiserated with a friend about the constant battle to eat the kinds of foods our bodies now insist we must have, to get enough sleep, to pay the bills. The constant worry about making ends meet and what our futures hold for us.

That’s not what this post is about, however. Nope. Yesterday, I read an article in the Guardian, about a NASA-funded study that predicts the collapse of industrialized society in about 15 years. And the funny thing is, it took a lot of the pressure off me. No, seriously. It’s not that I don’t believe the article; as a matter of fact, I do, give or take a decade on the timeline there. It’s just that the level of fear-inducing news (Ebola, the war on civil rights, ISIS, terrorism in general, pandemics, zombies, etc) has reached an all-time high with the prediction of the end of life as we know it. I am officially off the hook. I can stop worrying about the house that is falling down around me and whether or not it will see me out. The future is no longer some scary place where I dine on pate-type cat food spread on gluten-free crackers. While I might conceivably grow my own food (stop laughing, I do have land), no one will be prying a gun out of my cold, dead hand because I won’t be holding a gun in the first place.

So I can stop worrying about the future.

I can live for today.

Fall Mountain ViewOf course, that doesn’t mean I’m calling work and telling them I’m not coming in today. Because part of living for today means you have to think about eating tomorrow. But what it does mean is that there are fewer long-term consequences. It means I’m going to color my hair and go to work tomorrow dressed in costume for Halloween. It means I’m going to write my stories because they make me happy and I have fun creating them. That I’m going to walk the dog to the top of the mountain and consider myself the richest person in the world because I own that view. I’m going to suck the marrow out of the bones of life because that’s all we get, people. This. Right here. Today.

I can live for today.

I can walk into a room like I own it. I will laugh and appreciate what I have and be present in the here and now with the people and animals I love most. I will give the electronics a rest. I don’t need mirrors to tell me I’m beautiful or ugly. I don’t need social media to tell me I’m a success or a failure. It could all end tomorrow. So while I might not go out fighting, I want to go out without regrets.

The “We’re Not at GRL” Facebook Party Sat Oct 18th!

Woot!

This is the last day of the Walk a Mile book tour and your last shot at entering the Rafflecopter for the e-book giveaway before it closes. :-) It’s been a rush, going to so many websites, chatting with people, finding out how many readers have fallen in love with Flynn and Jerry and want more from them!

Tennant You Should Be WritingBut all good things come to an end, and the best part about coming to the end of the book tour is that I can go back to doing what so many people are clamoring for: working on the next installment in the series!

I’ve still got some stops today, and will be posting the entire schedule (with links updated) tomorrow, for those wanting to get in on the giveaway at the last minute. I realize that many of you already have a copy of the prize, Unspeakable Words, so if the winner of the rafflecopter already has a copy, we’ll exchange the prize for something else from my backlist. :-)

I won’t *entirely* disappear from the internet, though! Some friends and I were chatting on Facebook about how disappointed we were that we couldn’t to to GRL 2014 this year, and how much fun everyone was having–and we decided to host our own online party! Better organizers than me quickly got on board with this idea, and so we’re going to be at Rainbow Gold Reviews holding a “We’re Not At GRL” Party this Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm EST. Come on down and join the fun because this is for everyone who can’t go to GRL as well!

Today, on the final stops of the book tour, I’ll be at MM Good Book Reviews, Jade Crystal, Velvet Panic! I hope you’ll join me to talk about Walk a Mile, find out my darkest secrets, read some reviews, and enter the giveaway!

GRLsale_DSPsiteAs part of the celebration of Gay Rom Lit weekend, Dreamspinner Press is having a sale! 25% off everything in stock, and 35% off on all GRL participating authors! Go check it out, and get a good deal on my backlist while you’re there!

 

Coming into the homestretch: the Walk a Mile book tour & giveaway!

photo_30486_20110214Whew! It’s been a whirlwind but we’re entering the final 48 hours of the Walk a Mile Book Tour with Pride Promotions!

Today I’ll be stopping by Queer Town Abbey, The Blogger Girls, Butterfly-O-Meter, and making a special stop to visit my good friend, Anna Butler, as well!

It’s been an amazing two weeks, seeing Walk a Mile enter the bestseller lists on Amazon, Dreamspinners, and All Romance. I have been touched and flattered by all the emails and feedback I’ve received on this story–and I’ve heard everyone loud and clear: I must get cracking on the next installment! Never fear, I will. I will!

But I’ll be honest, it’s been exhausting. I’ll be glad to slip back into quiet obscurity and work on the next story in the series. In the meantime,  I’m happy to announce that Crying for the Moon is going to be translated into German! How exciting is that? This is the first original story of mine that is being translated into another language and I’m terribly pleased about it.

BedtimeBut it’s very late here at the moment, and I have a few more emails to get out before I crash into bed. Tomorrow is going to come all too early, I’m afraid! Time for bed soon. Time, also, to take a deep breath, re-prioritize, and get back to the important things. Like writing.

Whitley Gray lands on the site in “Crash Pad” for an interview!

Crash Pad cover mock-upLook at this cover! Isn’t it gorgeous? Whitley Gray is here with us today, talking about the new release, Crash Pad from Loose Id.

Blurb for Crash Pad:
Physician Remy Marshall has two loves: Emergency Medicine and running. Work doesn’t leave much time to meet guys, and most seem more interested in his bank account than him. With a week off to train for a marathon, Remy plans to make the most of his precious vacation. The last thing he needs is a distraction.

Jamie Sutton is new to the area. He hopes to make a fresh start after leaving an abusive relationship with an orthopedic surgeon. He’s got a new job as a massage therapist and wants to meet some nice guys. Against his better judgment, Jamie decides the best way to meet a cute rollerblader he’s seen in the park is on wheels.

With attention on his watch and not where he’s going, Remy crashes into Jamie and fractures the first-time rollerblader’s ankle. Jamie has no one to help him after the injury; Remy proposes Jamie stay with him. Jamie is reluctant, but it’s a better option than staying with the odd guy in the neighboring motel room. As the two get acquainted, Jamie’s past comes calling. Remy discovers the prize he really wants isn’t a medal in a marathon, but the man right in front of him.

BUY: Loose Id
Amazon 
Website

Hello! Welcome to my blog and thank you for answering my nosy, I mean discerning, questions! First, please tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of stories you like to write. Would you say there is an underlying theme behind your stories?

Hello. I’m Whitley Gray. I write male/male romance. In the past I did write some male/female erotica, but haven’t done that for several years. M/M is my true calling, as it were. I’m not sure there’s an underlying theme, other than I like characters with emotional (and sometimes physical) baggage. A lot of my characters have jobs in the medical field, but not all.

What part of the world do you call home? Can you tell us a little about where you grew up and where you live now?

I’ve lived in the Midwest/West for all of my life. Much as I long for a beach, I’m landlocked.

“Writers should write what they know.” What does this statement mean to you as an author?

It’s easier. I like to write characters in the medical field. I often still have to do research, but it is easier. My group of go-to experts helps keep me authentic when I’m outside my comfort zone. Every time an author journeys outside of an area they know well—like when I’ve written cops and FBI profilers—the research goes up exponentially. I don’t mind the research, but it’s a big time suck and increases the chance of making a mistake.

Of the stories you’ve written, which one do you like the most? Which one would you recommend a new reader begin with?

That’s like trying to choose a favorite child. For someone new to me, I’d suggest Artistic Endeavor. It’s a contemporary M/M novella (part of the Higher Learning: Campus Cravings Collection), and gives readers a good idea of my writing voice and the level of heat they’re likely to encounter in my stories (generally, four-flames hot). I love Cobey and Michael, and their story was a lot of fun to write.

handwriting_flickrDo you see your writing as a hobby or is it your goal to be a full time writer at some point in the future?

It’s never been a hobby. I see it as a second job. Someday, I’d like it to be the only job. In the beginning, I set out to learn the basics with copious workshops and I read a ton of books on writing. Education has always been a big part of my life, and information is comfort to me. For now, the dreaded day job is required to pay the bills. I take writing seriously, though. When not at the day job, I put in lots of hours in the writing chair. Discipline is necessary to make it when you have limited time.

That’s a really good point, Whitley! It IS like a second job! How often does your real life experience figure into your story telling? Do you base characters or stories on your actual experiences?

Like a lot of writers, my day job provides grist for the creative mill. After years in the medical field a lot of those experiences have become a mishmash. In addition, I tend to mix them up even more by changing details like age, location, circumstances. No one will ever read themselves or their medical misadventures in one of my books.

I’m so with you there, Whitley! I’m fond of saying ‘everything is grist for the mill”, and it’s true! Even in the middle of traumatic events, there is this Objective Observer inside me thinking, “That will make a good story some day…”

Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with us about this hot new release!

If you’re here looking for the next stops in the Walk a Mile book tour, today I’ll be at Wake Up Your Wild Side, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Fallen Angel Reviews! Interviews, excerpts,reviews, and your chance at a giveaway still on-going!

Got your running shoes on? Because Monday is here!

Nike_Free+_3_running_shoe_wikipediaWhew!

Got your running shoes on? You’re going to need them because Monday is here, and it’s going to be a hum-dinger! You know that the first day of the work week is going to be rough when a co-worker texts you with a warning ahead of time…

But that’s okay! The Walk a Mile book tour is in it’s second (and final) week. I had a wonderful live chat on Facebook yesterday, as part of Dreamspinners Meet the Author takeover of their fan page, and on Tuesday, Oct 14th from 8-10 pm EST, I’ll be co-hosting a takeover of the Dreamspinner Twitter account with fellow author Jude Dunn!

Today, I’m visiting Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, and The Hat Party!

Because work is promising to be, ah, challenging, I might be slow to return comments, but believe me, I appreciate each and every one. There will be interviews, chances to enter the rafflecopter, and more details on Walk a Mile and what’s next for the boys, Flynn and Parker. I hope you’ll drop in and say hi!

Today’s the last day to get Walk a Mile at 25% off during Dreamspinner’s Halloween Sale!

DSP Halloween SaleI want to make sure everyone knows about Dreamspinners early Halloween sale! All paranormals, fantasies, sci-fi, mystery and suspense e-books are 25% off but the sale ends today!

It won’t be your last chance to get Walk a Mile at a discount, however! I’m going to be taking over the Dreamspinner Facebook page from 2-4 pm EST Sunday, Oct12th and there will be a coupon code good for several days offered then. I do hope you’ll drop in for a chat and some giveaways!

The Pride Promotions book tour for Walk a Mile is ongoing:today I’ll be at Romance the Night, Cate Ashwood, and also at Shae Conner’s too. Stop by, enter the Rafflecopter, and ask me some questions–I’d like to hear from you!

Another big day on the Walk a Mile Tour!

Fall PumpkinsWell, I have a big day scheduled today! Walk a Mile is a bestseller on All Romance and Dreamspinner Press–and I have only you, the readers, to thank! I I know that sounds corny, but believe me, I knew that by taking so long to come out with the sequel to Unspeakable Words, I ran a huge risk of no one caring anymore about my boys, John Flynn and Jerry Parker. But you guys do. You still do! And that both amazes me and humbles me, too.

Today, I’m going to be stopping on some wonderful sites: Andrew Q Gordon, Inked Rainbow Reads, Love Bytes, and Smoocher’s Voice!

BestsellerIcon100X100This coming Sunday from 2-4 pm EST, I’ll be doing a live chat on the Dreamspinner Press Facebook page–I do hope you’ll join me! Barring spoilers, you can ask me (almost) anything! And on Tues, Oct 14, I’ll be taking over Dreamspinner’s Twitter feed with fellow author Jude Dunn from 8-10 pm EST. I’m looking forward to chatting with you guys and sharing about what’s in store for the Sixth Sense series!

DSP Halloween SaleAnd you still have a couple of days left to take advantage of the early Halloween sale on Dreamspinner! All paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and suspense e-books are 25% off, now until Oct. 10th! What are you waiting for? :-)

Skeleton: Suki Fleet on what it’s like to have one in your closet…

Skeleton_postcard_front_DSPToday I’m turning over the website to showcase Suki Fleet and her latest release, Skeleton, from Dreamspinner Press! Just released on Oct 1, this novella is currently sitting at number 18 on the Amazon bestseller list for short reads in the Gay/Lesbian genre. Not only that, but it’s 25% off on the Dreamspinner site, from now until Oct 10th! So be sure to check it out before the sale ends!

My Walk a Mile book tour is still going strong: today I’ll be visiting Amanda C. Stone, and Elizabeth Noble’s Emotion in Motion. There will be interviews and more–and most of my backlist is on sale at the same Dreamspinner Early Halloween sale I mentioned above, including Walk a Mile, and the first in the Sixth Sense series, Unspeakable Words.

So without any further ado, here’s Suki!

Welcome to the website, Suki! I’m looking forward to finding out more about your new novella, Skeleton. The premise sounds intriguing! Before we get to the story, however, I’m curious about your writing process. Are you a panster or a plotter? Do you outline extensively or write your story as you go along?

A panster…I’ve never heard that expression but I’m definitely not a plotter! I tend to know the direction I want the story to go in. I guess it’s like seeing a flag high up on a mountain and having to get to it in any way that you can. Sometimes you might have to walk, sometimes you might be able to get on a train sometimes you have to climb a sheer rock face or you might find a helicopter. It’s never straightforward and it’s not always hard but it’s not always easy either.

Do you have a favorite character that you’ve created? Why does this character resonate with you?

Remee from This is Not a Love Story. Because he never gives up although he wants to.

Of the stories you’ve written, which one do you like the most? Which one would you recommend a new reader begin with?

This is Not a Love Story is my only other published release. I’m very proud of it but it is a pretty emotional read. This one is much sweeter and lower in angst. I guess it depends on what you are looking for.

The Zombie Apocalypse has begun. You have a van with enough gas to get you to a defensible location. In addition to your immediate family, you can take three of your own characters with you. Who would you chose and why?

Ah, three is hard because someone would be unhappy :P I’d say Crash from This is Not a Love Story (he had his own story out soon (23rd Oct) called Wild Summer). Anna from Skeleton (because She is pretty awesome) and Remee because I have to but he would insist Julian come too.

Sad Man_flickrHow often does your real life experience figure into your story telling? Do you base characters or stories on your actual experiences?

Yeah, sometimes. Emotionally more than anything.

Editing: love it or hate it?

Love the edit :P (seriously)

Do you miss your characters when you come to the end of their story? Do you find ways to write sequels for them or do you become entranced with a new set?

Yes, I think about them for weeks and weeks after. It takes a while before I can fall into a new story.

Skeleton Blurb

Jan has given up on love, at least the romantic kind.He loves his five-year-old son Henry more than anything.

But when Henry starts school, Jan is introduced to Matthew, a very sweet but shy young man who helps out in Henry’s class. Although he tries desperately to ignore his attraction, Jan finds himself falling for Matthew—he’s everything Jan needs.

But amid creepy silent phone calls and possible break-ins, things start to fall slowly apart for Jan. Matthew wants to trust Jan, but the skeleton Jan has been trying to keep buried in his closet and the guilt he feels threatens to destroy everything good in his life.

Excerpt
Beyond the distant trees, the sun is sinking, leaving fire-shot ribbons of blue, clouds like the tail ends of meteors.

Jan opens the gate and stops in front of the front door, pulling Matthew with him under the shelter of the overhanging roof.

“I want to know everything about you,” Jan admits, bringing his hand up to gently brush away the raindrops from Matthew’s cheek, while trying desperately to hold his gaze.
There is a fire in his veins, burning through the tips of his fingers, and he wonders if Matthew can feel it. He wonders if that’s why Matthew’s breathing changes, if he needs his inhaler.

Reluctantly breaking the contact, Jan pulls out his keys to open the front door.
It occurs to him that this is the first time he has ever brought home anyone he wants to sleep with this badly. For Henry’s sake, he always told himself he needed to keep this part of his life separate. But now, looking at Matthew half-drowned, shivering, and otherworldly in the most beautiful way, Jan thinks maybe he just hadn’t found the right person to bring home before.

Author Bio
Suki Fleet currently lives in the heart of England. Her childhood was quite unconventional and she spent some time living on a boat and travelling at sea with her family. Since she was very small she has always dreamed of writing for a living, but though she has written original fiction online for years and encouraged many new writers to keep going and follow their author dreams, it is only recently she got the courage to make her own dream a reality and actually send something off to a publisher.

By day she runs her own business selling fabric (her second love) and juggling family commitments, by night she weaves the stories that the characters in her head dictate. These stories often start with pain or longing but always end with love.

Thank you so much for joining us here today, Suki, and sharing that magical snippet of Skeleton with us! Congratulations on its success, and good luck with your future endeavors!

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