The Big Gay Fiction Giveaway #BGFG

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Discover a new author – better yet, discover more than 80 authors writing m/m fiction in multiple genres: historical fiction (like mine), literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and more.

Free books, short stories, and sample chapters are just a click away.

Yes, free! Opt into an author’s mailing list and you can download something new to read just in time for the long holiday weekend. This is a great promotion for both readers and authors! Readers can find a lot of freebies in one place, and rather than each author individually trying to promote their own book, we have 80+ people teaming up to share this giveaway on their websites and through social media. That will reach a lot of people! Their readers may spot an intriguing title on BGFG, drawn to a book by its cover and blurb. and sign up, which will help each of us build our own readership.

My BGFG giveaway
I wasn’t able to offer a free copy of Battle Scars I, Men of the Cross. It is part of a program called KDP Select, which means the ebook is exclusive to Amazon, at least until early January. So my giveaway is Chapter 10 of For King and Country – a chapter that isn’t part of the Amazon preview. I know a lot of readers don’t want to read Book 2 of a series before reading Book 1, but I hope they’ll read the free chapter and decide to get Book I (and/or II). I am offering an incentive: a Kindle Countdown on Men of the Cross on Amazon (US & UK) to coincide with the BGFG all week. The price today is 99p/99c, but it won’t stay that low for long. Get it now before it goes back up to full price at the end of the week!

Benefits of being on my mailing list
If you sign up for my mailing list you won’t be bombarded with email – promise! I’ll use my newsletter sparingly to offer exclusive content and to let you be the first to know about special offers. Sign up and you will see the cover reveal for Book III, Swords of the King, before I show it off here on my website. You’ll be the first to read a draft of Chapter 1 of the new book, too.

Find a new author to curl up with!
Browse the free books, short stories, and sample chapters.

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Charlene Newcomb is currently working on Book III of her Battle Scars series, 12th century historical adventures filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. There will be more to come, so sign up for Char’s Newsletter. It will be used – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and and to let you be the first to know about special offers.

talking about the book… Blessed Isle

book cover - Blessed IsleBlessed Isle
by Alex Beecroft

A tidbit about the author:
I love reading Alex’s “about the author” page:

“… Alex lives…in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist… Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has lead a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800 year old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.”

I’m jealous. I wonder if I can come up with a bio that sounds half as much fun.

The scene that made you laugh out loud:
Blessed Isle
is told diary-style, alternating between the two main characters Harry Thompson and Garnet Littleton. Harry is writing their story and Garnet reads what he’s written and sometimes comments on Harry’s entry before giving the reader the next part of the story. They’ve survived one storm, and Harry is looking through his spy glass. He thinks he’s seeing land. But no, it’s another storm bearing down on the HMS Banshee. Garnet describes it as “watch[ing] your own death flying towards you across the water. It’s just like the poets say. It’s sublime.” Nothing really funny there – it’s a mad, crazy moment – but this is the moment Harry realizes that he’s in love with Garnet. Garnet’s response in the diary entry that follows is what made me laugh:

You felt that too? I wish I’d known! I still think there could be no better way to die than that—the glory and the ecstasy of it.

or from another of Garnet’s entries…

My poor Harry! Such heroics, and I not conscious enough to applaud. Had it been me, I would have resented my audience’s lack of interest, but he is a better man than I. Oh, don’t argue, you know it’s true.

The place where you wanted to throw the book across the room:
Oh Harry… Harry, you see, is captain of a group of ships on an ill-fated voyage to Australia. Prison ships. Harry’s crews are decimated by a horrendous storm and typhus. Harry makes a decision that proves disastrous – he releases the prisoners to let them help man the sails. Bad move, Harry.

A memorable line:

Shadow fell black on the ship. Columns of solid water pelted the deck like ammunition, and then one of the convicts screamed, a high-pitched, pig-like noise that echoed strangely in the trough. Solid water curled above us. Spray whipped away horizontally as the glass roof paused before it fell.

and another one…

“Your prison is my refuge.”

A quote from someone about the topic of the book:
“Blessed Isle
embarks you on a grand adventure around the world. The delivery is inventive and full of humor. You will fall under the spell of this poetic forbidden love story.” Book Lovers inc.

And to sum up, I think you’ll find yourself thoroughly engaged with Harry & Garnet. Their voices are so unique. Shy about gay romances? Don’t be. There are no graphic scenes in this book. Passion & romance, yes. And told exquisitely by the author. Enjoy!

things that come in the mail…

The time to squee is now. 🙂

the proof copy of my book

The proof of my book arrived in the mail! I did a quick check of it today and handed it over to friend Mary B. She’ll do a read-through to see if, during the adventure <insert major sarcasm here> of CreateSpace formatting, I created any typos, caused ellipses or em-dashes to wrap to the beginning of a new line, or accidentally wiped out a sentence or two. Fingers crossed. If all goes well, in another 10-14 days, Keeping the Family Peace will be available in print via Amazon.

I am giving up my regular Thursday Walks on the Blogside posting. I don’t think I’ve managed to ready a post for Thursdays in weeks. I haven’t noticed too much traffic linking out to the posts I’ve found informative, entertaining, or outrageous, but I’m going to continue to link to a few each Friday.

So on to the blog highlights:

Interesting figures reported: Amazon’s KDP Select Has Its Hooks In Me
I didn’t go KDP Select with my novel but after reading this, it sounds like I should do a bit more reading up on it. For non-writers, Select makes your published work an Amazon exclusive for 90 days, which means pulling it from all other distribution channels. I haven’t looked at my sales in the last 10 days, but prior to that, I can tell you that I’ve had 10 times the number of sales on Amazon as on B&N. So perhaps withholding B&N & Smashwords for 3 months isn’t such a big deal? Hey, writer friends, what’s your take on KDP Select?

A thought-provoking essay/review at Romance Novels for Feminists: The politics of M/M romance and Alex Beecroft’s BLESSED ISLE

How to Publish Your eBook from Word to Kindle in under Ten Minutes by Ed Ditto
Hm… Ed makes it sound easy but I bet it would take me a lot longer than 10 minutes, especially trying to figure out how to make and insert glorious chapter heads & scene breaks.

Speaking of which…

Jaye makes some excellent points and has some fantastic tips in Scene Breaks In Ebooks: Giving Readers A Clue. Jaye formatted my ebook and it looks spectacular. A question for readers: what bugs you about ebook formatting? What kind of scene breaks do you like?

* * *
or scene break

Have a great weekend everyone! See you on Monday.

rough draft of Battle Scars is done!

“The first draft is nothing but your ingredients. Once you have them in front of you–a beginning, a middle, an end, and all your characters–then and only then can you write your novel.”–Tiffany Reisz.

I call it my rough draft. Rough, first, whatever. I took a different approach to Battle Scars. I’d worked from an extensive outline for Keeping the Family Peace. This time, I just plunged in. I had a few lines on each of 7 cards on the corkboard in Scrivener. So last week, I finished pt. 3 (which is THE END)! (I think I’d previously mentioned I’ve broken this novel into 3 parts.) Finished!

ONE STEP FORWARD…

And you know what happens next.

TWO STEPS BACK.

Gotta love writers group and beta readers who bring multiple perspectives and their own writing experience into a critique. I love ’em. Truly I do.

The beta readers just finished reading pt. 2. Writers group heard this particular scene, which also drew comments from the betas. Hence my 2 steps back.

Beta #1: the 2 main characters (MCs) reconciled too quickly after the break-up scene.
Writers group comment: are we near the end of the book? That reconciliation feels like the climax. (Well yes, they did. But no, it’s not. 🙂  My thoughts, not hers.)
Beta #2: yeah, drawing out the reconciliation is a good way to keep the reader hooked

I’d considered this earlier and had not been able to figure out when/how/where the MCs could get back together except right where I’d place that particular scene. I had the plot lines for the rest of the book laid out – in skimpy detail – and it wasn’t happening for me. When I finished the rough draft of pt. 3, I still couldn’t see it.

LET THE REVISIONS BEGIN
On Saturday, I started working on revisions so pt. 3 is “readable” for my betas and for writers group. I was ignoring their comments. Oh, they lurked in the back of my mind. I almost dreaded the revisions to the early chapters of pt. 3 – I’d flown through those chapters in my first attempt to get words down on paper. I had a lot of bracketed notes, a lot of comments to myself on that early draft. Ch. 1 wasn’t bad, but I think I stared at ch. 2 for an hour before the scene gelled.  By mid-afternoon today, I’d finished both ch. 1 & 2 of pt. 3! (Are you following all this? Bless you if you’re still here.) I thought they were coming along really well.

Then I went back to read my beta readers’ comments again.

RETHINKING THE LOVERS’ MAKE-UP SCENE
I re-read the scene. There was an obvious place where Henry’s & Stephan’s dialogue could be reworked. (Yes, folks, this is historical fiction with a m/m romance sub-plot. And no, it’s no 50 Shades. Sensual, yes. Erotic, no.) I skimmed the next few chapters, identified other scenes I’d have to change. Not too bad. Then I glanced through the chapters in pt. 3 looking for the right moment to bring the two lovers together. (I do believe in happily-ever-afters.) Was there another climactic moment there? Well, of course there is! At that point (3 chapters from the end) I really AM getting close to the end of the novel!

NEXT PLAN
I’ll ready pt. 3 for writers group & betas with these new plot points in mind.

Life is good.  How are you?


Keeping the Family Peace update: I just ordered my print proof copy via Amazon’s CreateSpace. I’ll be holding my book in my hands on Friday! With luck, it will be in distribution, available in print by early February. If you can’t wait, buy it as an ebook now at  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords (for other eReaders).