Visiting ghosts and old friends

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Last night I joined Haunted Rockford and the Ghost Research Society on an investigation of the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum. It was a fun night, and it was great to see some old friends again and meet some new people.

Up in the Red bedroom (so called because, well, it’s red) an EVP session didn’t provide any immediate results, but down in the basement, we got some interesting things. Barbara turned on a device called a ghost box and we asked some questions. Other people in our group used some dousing rods, and we asked any spirits present to point the rods to where they were standing. They kept pointing behind a female team member. She was standing near the doorway at the time, and when she moved I saw a shadow dart from behind her and down the hallway. At first I thought this was just her shadow, but then I realized hers wouldn’t have gone all the way down past the stairway.  We then asked if that was Mr. Tinker I saw moving down the hallway, and the answer came very clear: “You bet!”

 

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IMG_3956Upstairs we examined a photo taken by one member on a previous visit to the museum. This was taken in the master bedroom, and was of the mirror on the dresser. They got some strange anomalies in the photo and what looked like a transparent female just at the edge of the frame, wearing what looks like a bonnet and old fashioned clothing. That photo will be examined further, but here’s one of Zach investigating in the same room.

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Do we HAVE to have sex?

I was reading some reviews of an audio book I’d recently listened to, mainly because I hated the narrator chosen to read the book. He was horribly wrong for the book, and pretty much ruined a good story. And I wanted to know if others felt the same way (they did!). But I was also a little annoyed at other comments I read. Two readers of the book disliked that there was no on page sex in the story. Hey, that’s what they want in a story. Fine for them. Me, I prefer no sex / fade to black. That’s me. But one line really gnawed at me.  I’m paraphrasing here, but it went something like: “This wasn’t a romance because there was no on page sex.”

What the everloving f*ck?

There was romance. Guys falling in love, going through hardships, finally getting their HEA. How is this not a romance?

Must MM romance be so rigid? Must every story fall into the same box, square peg in the square hole? Can’t we have wiggle room?

Or do we all have to write dot to dot stories, just changing the names and locations? I’m pretty sure the world is big enough to have books about gay men who fall in love in which there aren’t explicit sex scenes.

Maybe that’s just me.

We’re almost there!

Okay, for anyone who cares: the next Duncan Andrews is almost finished. I’ve got to write the last scene and then go through and re-write a few scenes and add a bit here or there (things that occurred to me as I was writing, but didn’t want to go back and change at the time and interrupt the flow). The villain just insisted on being nastier than I’d originally intended, so I have to change a few things in the first several chapters to reflect this. But we’re nearing the point where I can send it off.

This was a tough one to write. I always knew how it would end, but getting there was a struggle. I had written about 50,000 words on one draft and decided I hated it. So I did what I always do…sat back and gave it a good think. I sat there for several days. It may have been weeks. Then I realized what was wrong, and started pretty much from scratch. I think I kept one scene from the original draft. But that’s the way I write. I have to throw down a bunch of crap first so that my mind can reject it and figure out what I really need to do.

Next, I want to do another Raven’s Rest story. And then…back to Duncan and company. Although the next one won’t have Duncan in it. It will be a Robbie story, which will lead up to the last and very final book in the series. I promise.

Things They Don’t Tell You in “Author School”

As if there was one. Well, in a way, there are. Workshops like Dreamspinner Press holds every year. I just don’t leave home much, so things like that aren’t really a good fit for me. I can’t stand to be away from my dog, nor she me. Plus, I’m super introverted, and it’s hard to put on my “public persona.”

Swag. I understand it, but I don’t. Authors go to conferences and give out stuff, 90% of which is immediately tossed out. The author spent loads of bucks for someone to look at their swag as it falls down into the trash receptacle. Bookmarks? Who uses them nowadays? It’s hard to mark your place with a physical bookmark on an e-reader. Postcards? Yeah, right. I’m going to write to someone with the cover of your book on the other side of my message. Pens are nice, but they’re pretty expensive. If you want to give out 300 or so pens, it could cost you around $600 (depending on where you get them). Are you going to get $600 worth or more of sales back? I don’t really know.

I’m going to be attending Rust City Book Convention in August, and I’ve decided to do a charity basket. Now, this I can get behind. I’m having fun coming up with ideas that match my weird little worlds I’ve created. A few books, lots of ghostie stuff, and I’m looking around for a plush bulldog I can make look like a zombie.

Who the hell wouldn’t want a plush Daisy the zombie bulldog?

I don’t like to get involved in controversy…but…

If you write MM romance, you’re undoubtedly heard at least an inkling of what’s gone down this week. Someone said something, people were offended, it seemed the original people felt attacked, etc. Every now and then something like this comes up. And people, very well meaning people, try to patch things up and say things like, “We’re a community. We should all get along.” Or “The LGTB community are supposed to be accepting. Why are you attacking so and so?”

Here’s a news flash. ANY group has in-fighting sometimes. Because we’re all human beings. We say things sometimes without thinking. We get our feelings hurt, and we lash out. So if you think the MM writing group is somehow exempt, or should be, think again. Never going to happen.

I don’t want to get into the original post that began this whole kerfuffle. It’s been hashed out to death by now. But I will say this: if you write about gay men, and you feel you support gay men and rights of LGTB+ in general…and you post something that gay men feel insulted by, or is misconstrued…try to remember that these are the people you support. If I hear one more person say something like “MM romance isn’t for gay men. It was started by women and it’s for women, and gay men should just keep out of it” I swear I won’t be responsible for my actions.

Jeff Erno wrote a very good piece about this controversy, as did F.E. Feeley and TJ Klune, and they expressed themselves a heck of a lot better than I can. It’s weird that gay men often feel marginalized and excluded in a genre that is supposed to be about them. Is it any wonder that sometimes we  feel like throwing up our hands and just giving up? I know I’ve felt that way several times.

I’m sure I’ll upset someone by posting this, and I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen.  But if it does, contact me. It can be private on Facebook, or leave a message here. Let’s hash it out. Maybe we’ll both learn something.

That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

Weekday update and an apology.

I’m a slow writer. I guess if you’ve been waiting for the next Duncan Andrews book, you’ve figured that out by now. The good news is I’m finally happy with how it’s going. It’s taken 5 drafts and 3 major re-writes, but now I like it. I’ve always known the ending…it was just getting there that was bothering me. So I’m about 1/3 of the way through the 6th draft, and now I don’t feel like just walking away and calling it quits.

I’m also working on comic novel for when the Duncan words aren’t flowing. I like it so far. We’ll have to wait and see if it gets beyond the 20,000 word mark, which is where I often sat back and say to myself, “This is crap.”

Now on to a semi-excuse as to why the writing has slowed down. My left hand isn’t working quite right. There’s some nerve damage in the fingertips, and typing a lot doesn’t help. I’ve got B12 anemia, and while the treatments are working (I think, we’ll have to wait and see) the first doctor I went to dismissed my hand complaints as “cramp” and thought the reason my red blood cells had gone a funny shape was because of one the drugs I take. I no longer see this doctor.

New Doc immediately asked me if I knew I was having trouble with B12 and started me on injections. Sigh. One wonders if 1st doctor hadn’t been so dismissive of my symptoms…but there you have it. I gots tingly fingers on my left hand. And, to top it off, I’m left handed. Sometimes it’s not too bad. Sometimes…well, I hate to complain.

But enough bad things! More Duncan coming…slowly, but it’s coming. And other things as well!

Love you all!

More Coastal Magic

15665856_1050176745093957_6815972842081809546_nIt’s been weeks, but the memories linger…

Well, I learned quite a lot at my first convention. For one thing, the concept of swag was bewildering to me. What was good swag, what didn’t work at all? Well, I got some good tips. Usable swag, yes. Bookmarks, postcards…good for filling bags, but my guess is they get tossed away before attendees even get to their airplanes to go back home. Or cars. You get what I mean.

Author signing. Thanks goodness I was seated next to Neil Plaksy, with whom I had a marvelous conversation. I’d been included in one or two anthologies he’d edited, although there was that slightly embarrassing moment when he asked me which ones I’d been in. That was years ago! I can hardly remember what I did yesterday! Luckily, I think I remembered one correctly.

Saturday night: game night. I’d thought (silly me) that I wanted to get in the round of Cards Against Humanity, but there were so many at that table, and no one I really knew. I wandered past Kiernan Kelly and T. C. Blue, who were setting up a game of Telestrations After Dark. At first I thought I’d pass, as I can’t draw, but T. C. didn’t take no for an answer. I’m pretty sure she rarely does. And I’m so glad she convinced me, because much hilarity ensued. I can’t remember exactly what I was SUPPOSED to be drawing, but the result of one looked like a stick figure pole dancing while many smiling faces looked on. Sue (Davinci Kitty) got in on the game and had to decipher my drawings. She’s probably scarred for life.

Friday night: Dinner with the Dreamspinner crowd! We went to Smokey Joes, I believe it was called. The food was good, although the sandwich I had was impossible to pick up, and hard to eat with a fork. And I waited and waited for the waitress to bring me back my change. Never happened. I guess she thought she deserved a 50% tip.

Mary Calmes signed up for my table at Saturday’s Lunch With An Author. Mary Freaking Calmes!!!! She was wonderful and asked me about the Weasel books. Earlier in the day, someone asked me who I’d signed up to sit with, not knowing that I was a featured author. I told them I was sitting with Mary Calmes! I hope I didn’t fan girl over her too much. Or Amy Lane. Both were very sweet and nice.

And how amazing was T. C. Blue? That steampunk hat, and her outfits, and the different hair every time I saw her. She took my breath away. She was on my team for the Author Family Feud, and she was hysterically snide when it became apparent that our team was being railroaded. Our questions were impossible, and the judges (we’ll be nice and call them that) wanted pretty exact answers, despite the fact that on the actual Family Feud, anything even close they accept. We lost by one point, but T. C. won in my book.