Rainbow Snippet Dec 17-18

Hi everyone! I’m going to start posting a weekly snippet as part of the Rainbow Snippets Facebook Group. According to their description: “Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).”

Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!

Starting next week I’ll be posting a snippet on Saturday and my regular blog post will get bumped to Sunday. This snippet will be from the WIP I just sent out for publication, the one I’ve been talking about for the past few weeks on here. Since I have multiple WIPs going on, I’ll refer to this one as Stray anytime I post from it.

Anyway, without further adieu, here’s my first Rainbow Snippet, from chapter 2 of Stray (from Trystin’s POV):


A heavy sigh gusted from my lips and I threw my arms out to my sides, sprawling across the California king. Maybe it was for the best that he’d left. I might have done something stupid if he’d stayed, like asked him for his number. He’d been young, wanton, eager… If he had any idea who I was, he would have only been more so. It’d be easy to get hooked on a guy like that, to let it get out of control.


Check back next week for another snippet, and don’t forget to visit the Rainbow Snippets FB group and read all the other authors’ snips!



It’s difficult to find a balance in life. Especially in December, when you suddenly realize if you don’t accomplish That One Thing before the end of the year, you’re going to hate yourself a little bit. (okay a lot) So you have these personal goals you set for your own accomplishments (must submit book for publication!), you have goals you set for your enjoyment (I want to read such and such book soon!), you have obligations with family due to holidays (gotta visit grandmas, parents, in-laws, aunts and uncles), there are expectations due to society (decorate your house? mail cards? bake cookies? buy gifts!)…

Let’s not even bring up your resolution to lose weight this year. Now you have 3 weeks left and you’ve GAINED ten pounds this year. No way THAT’S going away before 2017.

So it’s all hurtling towards this December 31 deadline for all this crap you need/want to do. I have a list of six things I need/want to accomplish this month, and I’ve finished one of them so far. We’re a third of the way through the month. It is not looking good for accomplishing the other five.

My plan for this blog post was to blast through Josh Lanyon’s new book, Curse of the Blue Scarab, last night, and then post a review of it today. But yesterday did not go as planned and I only made it through 25% of Curse of the Blue Scarab. I passed out while reading, because I work a full-time job and then stay up until midnight/1am trying to accomplish all the personal goals I have set for myself, and by the time Friday rolls around and I’m on Day Five of Not Enough Sleep, I am running on nothing but energy drinks and determination.

This is not healthy. I do not have balance. Do not be like me.

I do realize that if i don’t accomplish all of my goals, the world will not end. December 31 isn’t some kind of due date. Real life is not school and we are not going to have points docked from our Life Accomplishments grade if we don’t accomplish all our goals. December 31 is just a convenient date.

Going into 2017, I propose two things:

  1. Breathe. Don’t overbook yourself, don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a deadline or lose inspiration or eat a lot of cookies. The World Will Not End. I promise.
  2. Don’t wait to get started on your goals. You don’t have to wait until January 1 to get a “fresh start” or whatever. Dates are arbitrary and meaningless. Start now. Start now, and tell no one. Do it for you. Forget society’s expectations. Society can suck it.

And if you don’t have a cat, go rescue a cat. Cats are masters of zen and very good at telling society to suck it.

This is my fat cat, Ryu. He gives no shits about impending deadlines.

The Road So Far

In my initial post back in October, I said I would be keeping you, my lovely reader(s), apprised of my writing progress, publication attempts, etc. Initially I did not think I would take NaNoWriMo so seriously, but I did, so there has been no forward momentum in the publication process thus far. My plan is to get the manuscript sent out to at least one publisher by the end of 2016. If that means I send the email on December 31 at 11:59 PM, I will consider that goal a success.

To get us all caught up, this is what has happened in my writing/revising/publishing process so far:

I started writing this thing in 2012, and the characters were in my head for at least a year or two before that. I wrote a large portion of it over the summer between school years in 2012, and then didn’t touch it for six months. I finished the first draft in 2013.

I then revised it, and revised it again, and revised it again, and wrote the first draft of a sequel, started to revise the sequel, decided I hated the entire sequel, trashed it, revised the first novel yet again, wrote another draft of the sequel, and now here we are, three years and four revisions later, getting ready to finally try to publish it. I never felt motivated to publish it until recently, so I’ve just been dilly-dallying. My next novel will not take three years to get submission-ready.


I am going to tweak it yet again; just one tiny little thing about one MC that’s always bugged me and I finally figured out why and how to fix it (thank god it’s fixable with a small tweak). Then I will be done.

In preparation for the publication attempts, I have: begun paying more attention to who publishes the M/M romance books I read. I’m investigating every publisher I see. I’m following publishers, editors, and authors on Twitter (I created a Twitter specifically to do so). I’m entering giveaways, joining reading lists, and of course, reading more in the genre I write. (contemporary gay romance)

These are all things the internet has told me I must do in order to prepare to publish a book. And so far I’m finding it helpful.

Now I just need to figure out how to write a synopsis. God save me.

What I Learned from Doing NaNoWriMo

I know, a month ago I was saying I probably wouldn’t bother trying to win NaNo this year. Here I am saying it’s great.

This makes my second win in four years. My first win was in 2013. I’d been wanting to do NaNoWriMo since I first learned about it more than five years earlier, but unfortunately I was in school. In August 2013, I finally graduated with my Master’s degree, and in November 2013, with just a full-time job and no homework, I was able to pound out over 1,667 words a day to complete NaNoWriMo a day or two before the end of the month. This year, I demolished the word goal and won the whole kit-n-kaboodle in 20 days.

Here are a few thoughts on NaNoWriMo, things I learned, habits I developed, and why I think NaNo is a valuable expenditure of your time (even IF you don’t go on to complete, revise and/or publish your draft)

1. It forces you to make writing a habit

I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I’ve always had things to write. Usually those things were persuasive essays, comparative research papers, and analyses of other peoples’ literature, though. Things change when you get out of school and no longer have deadlines and assignments to keep the words and thoughts flowing, no longer have classmates struggling alongside you to hit that page goal and finish that paper, no longer have teachers there to guide you. If you’re the kind of person who needs to set a goal or have a deadline to get anything done, NaNoWriMo is a great motivator. It gives you a deadline and an achievable goal. All you have to do is make writing a habit. In order to achieve the 50k word count goal, you need to write 1,667 words a day. For me, that’s about 45 minutes of focused writing. If you have other habits–morning coffee, going to the gym, brushing your teeth–then you can attach writing to one of those pre-existing habits to help make it stick. Get up, have coffee, write. Or, brush your teeth, write, go to sleep. Whatever works for you. If you make it into a habit, soon you’ll feel weird if you’re not writing, and NaNoWriMo will be a breeze.

2. You may (probably will) surprise yourself

If you’re not a habitual writer, it may surprise you to realize how much fun it is to write. If you are a habitual writer, it may shock you to realize how productive you can be–and how much you may have been selling yourself short all this time.

I am a habitual writer. I write every night… But if I must confess, I’m very lax about it. I pull out my laptop and sometimes I devote some solid focused effort into my project, but other times I open a word document, get on Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, etc etc, and then fall asleep on my computer (that happens really often you guys. When I was a kid I would fall asleep on books–Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets suffered several breaks in its spine thanks to me zonking out on it–and now that I’m an adult I doze off on my computer).

This year, I participated in NaNoWordSprints. They’re led by NaNo staff on Twitter, and the idea is that you sit and focus on writing for a set amount of time–anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Really focus. Don’t sit there with twelve tabs open and the TV on and your word document minimized and call it writing.

I wrote nearly 12,000 words in one day doing that. It took me almost the entire day (I took a few breaks), but I’d been hoping to maybe bust out 5,000. I realized that I have been selling myself short for a long time. I can be way more productive than I think, if I just stop dicking around on the internet and calling it writing.

3. There is a great community around NaNoWriMo

If you’re the type of person who needs other people to hold you accountable for your goals, or if you get motivation from competition or from seeing other people succeed, engage yourself in the community. The NaNoWordSprints Twitter account is very active and responsive and supportive. They keep things fun with competitions, such as the #nanocivilwar and #nanohousecup, where your word count per sprint is points scored for your chosen team.

If Twitter isn’t your thing, there are forums on the NaNoWriMo website.

If you’re a more in-person socializer, there are write-ins and meet-ups in most cities.

Authors write “pep talks” which are sent out via message and email to registered NaNo participants. One of the most encouraging things I’ve ever read about writing was the pep talk Neil Gaiman wrote for NaNoWriMo, where he admitted that about 3/4 of the way through his own books, he starts telling his editor/agent how awful his writing is and how he should just quit and trash the whole project. I read that and thought, if Neil frikkin’ Gaiman doubts his own writing, and he’s successful and prolific and talented as heck, then maybe my writing isn’t as awful as I think it is.

The whole environment of NaNoWriMo is nothing but encouragement and support. It’s delightful. So take advantage of it.

4. Maybe you should hire a maid in November….

If your SO/roommate/child/house guest/pet is not a tidy creature, maybe you should hire a maid for the month of November, because when you build that habit of writing and engage yourself in the headlong rush to meet word count goals and finish a novel, suddenly the facts that autumn leaves have been tracked all over your house (thanks dogs) and the dishes haven’t been done in two weeks (…we have plastic cutlery) and there’s no food in your house that isn’t frozen and microwaveable (or stale or rotting from neglect) don’t seem very important anymore. Then, on December 1, when you poke your head up out of your fantasy world and take a breath for the first time in a month, you realize… yikes.

Then, if you’re like me, you shrug and say “Fuck it” because who cares what’s going on in the real world when your characters are about to find the treasure they’ve been hunting for the past 50,000 words?!

5. Never give up, never surrender!

Even if you find yourself 10,000 words behind with only two days to go, IT IS POSSIBLE TO MAKE IT! Obviously sometimes real life interferes, but if you have time, don’t stop. Never stop writing, because even if you only write 20k or 30k words the entire month, you’ve still done more than you did in October, right? And just because you didn’t “win” NaNoWriMo doesn’t mean you should quit on your novel. Don’t lose that writing habit you developed in November. Keep plucking away at it. Even if it takes you until next November to finish your first draft.


Let’s Not Talk About Politics

I considered writing a blog post weighing in on the political field, but I just can’t deal with it. I try to be an adult and not sweep problems under the rug, but… I’m just overwhelmed by what’s going on in this country right now.

So let’s not talk about it here.

Instead, I continue to focus on improving myself as a person. Improving my writing. Spreading light and acceptance and joy where I can. Books have always been an escape, albeit temporary, for me and millions of other people. Sometimes, when things are out of your control, the only thing you can do is mentally escape to a fantasy world, invest your heart in fictional characters, and share their joy at a happy ending.

I feel like fiction is going to be a very important part of many peoples’ lives in the next four years. I’m going to keep writing. Hopefully I will have something published next year. I’ve been treating writing as a hobby, but I need to start treating it more like a second job. I see all those quotes that say “people need your writing” and I’ve always kind of scoffed at that, but I’m starting to see that it may be true. Given the results of the US election and the likely struggles to come in the next four years, my writing may very well help someone. And if it does, if it can, then it should.

So let’s not talk about politics.

Let’s just focus on being lights in this mess.

Here’s a picture of my cat for good measure.


Audience of Zero

I am currently writing this blog for an audience of zero. Or, I suppose, an audience of one: Me. I’m kind of okay with that, because I’ve always been writing for an audience of one. Some people start out writing with the goal of publication in mind. They want to tell a story, to have people read it, to develop a following.

I write because I want to write. For me.

However, when you finally get to a point where you’re done with something, you’ve revised it twenty eight times and it’s finally ready for the light of day (or you’re so sick of revising it that the other option is to just throw it in the toilet), you just have to take a plunge and try to publish.

And if you want to make any money off your book, you need to market. Sure, publishers do that to some degree, but an author needs to have their own social media accounts going on to help build interest. I like to follow authors for advice and to see their thoughts and keep up with their work. It’s nice to be a fan of a person and be able to interact with them in some way.

So I need to have social media.

So I have this blog. And I now have twitter. And I have Goodreads (which I am not very active on currently because it’s NanoWriMo. Cut me a break!)

I have recently been reflecting on the fact that I’ve very much withdrawn from internet interactions with strangers. I don’t know when or why it happened, really. I used to go on forums and I used to use AIM and Livejournal and Fanfiction.net and myOtaku and I had followers and I commented on posts and had interactions with strangers. I had a lot of friends online that I’d never met in person.

But at some point, I just stopped doing all that.

And now, as an aspiring author, I’m having to try to go back to that. To start throwing things out there and seeing what sticks. Trying to make connections. To do things outside my comfort zone and interact with strangers.

As an adult they call it “networking.”

It’s very strange. It feels like a lot of work. But of course, any goal worth achieving is difficult.

New Story

First things first, I feel like I should clarify that I do not write short stories. I need to start. Maybe if I can bust out some short stories, I can get them published. However I tend to devote all my time to novels and I don’t really know how to write short stories, so anytime I talk about a “story” I’m writing, it’s a novel. I just don’t like saying I’m writing a novel because it sounds pretentious.

That said, I know in my last post I said I wasn’t going to really devote myself to the word count goal of NaNoWriMo, but so far I’m really motivated on this new story and I’m on track with my word count. It’s day 5, so I should have ~8,300 words, and I have just over 8,700.

I’m getting to know the characters. I did some development and pre-writing in October, but things always go awry whenever I start the actual writing process. The character profiles I put together are a good starting point, but once I sit down and get into their heads, things always start to change. Or a secondary character throws me for a loop because I didn’t spend much time developing him so he doesn’t want to fit into my preconceived plot ideas.

This story is meant to be kind of an action/adventure but also a m/m romance. The idea originated in my head when I played the final Uncharted game for PS4. Around the same time, I also read Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon. I decided I wanted to write a cool swashbuckling treasure hunting type character. I sat down to create said character. I didn’t want him to be a Nathan Drake rip off, though. I wanted him to be not quite what you’d expect. So I ended up with a cat burglar with a sweet tooth who is incredibly squeamish.

That guy did not survive. We didn’t click. I felt no real motivation to write him. But the idea continued to linger in my head for a couple months. I wanted to write urban fantasy. I wanted to write an adventure type novel. And obviously, I wanted gay characters.

I often start writing with a concept or an emotion in mind, and no idea who the characters are. I just enjoy exploring the emotions. Plus sometimes I just want to write empty plotless smut. This one day in particular, I had an idea in my head that basically went like this: Two characters on opposing “factions” or sides of some issue or event. But they can help each other. But one doesn’t trust the other, even though the other is literally the most trustworthy person in existence. So the non-trusting one tricks the trustworthy one and basically takes him prisoner (even though there’s no need for it) and demands his help in exchange for freedom.

That was the vague notion in my head, and I started writing. And none of it went according to plan. It just all fell apart… into something better. Lo and behold, this new guy just steamrolled my brain. He just came barrelling in, full tilt, got up in my business and was like “Here I am! I know I’m not what you had in mind, but I am fucking fabulous. Write me.”

So there’s no longer any kind of opposing factions or taking prisoner or deep-seated distrust of each other. One character is a mage in a modern-day city (haven’t decided which one yet) and the other is a bit of a scholar/explorer type guy. I’m working really hard to not make either of them seem anything like the characters who gave me the desire to write an adventure/urban fantasy type novel (Indiana Jones, Nathan Drake, Harry Dresden, Atticus O’Sullivan, the characters from Strange Fortune whose names I cannot remember right now) while also still making them compelling. And of course gay.

Anyway, that was the birth of this story. It’s very strange how an entire novel can be birthed from a single vague notion or feeling or image. (I guess I shouldn’t say that as if I’ve already finished the novel, because I haven’t. I’m 8700 words in.)

I’m going to go continue writing said novel now.