GRNW and Beyond

Yesterday I arrived home from a two-day trip to Seattle where I participated and benefited from a full day of programming at Gay Romance Northwest 2014. In a way I was wrung out, exhausted from travel and almost non-stop socializing, but in another way I was revitalized.

Like last year’s call to action spurring readers to request authors and books from the LGBT* spectrum if they’re not seeing it on their shelves, this year’s conference came with a to-do list. If we’re not seeing something in the industry that we think we should be–or worse, seeing something we shouldn’t–this year’s follow up is easy. The Amazon marketplace shapes a lot of what we see in the bookseller industry today. The avidly covered war between Amazon and Hachette is proof of that. If you’re not seeing LGBT represented on Amazon the way titles in other genres are, drop a line to jeff@amazon.com.

That’s it, that’s the follow up. And you will get a response, though whether action follows…well, that’s another thing. It’s a process. But the more people in the community ask for what they want to see, the better our chances are at getting action. And the more we ask for what we want to see, the more they know there are people who want that.

Tracy, the conference’s organizer, emailed Jeff to let him know that LGBT romance wasn’t included in the breakout of various romance genres. He referred her email to one of his directors, who said they would look into it. Tracy began to compose a longer response explaining the issue to the director, went to the romance by genre page, and discovered the issue had already been corrected–LGBT romance was appearing alongside vampire romance, steampunk romance, and whatever else. Not every issue, visibility and otherwise, will have a fix. But if you see something on Amazon, or any site for that matter, let them know. How will we get it fixed if we never ask for it? Privilege is invisible, and so are the needs of a minority community when the site runners aren’t a part of it.

The conference was great, but as I also mentioned, draining. At the same time, it gave me fresh hope and determination. Over this past year I’ve been discouraged and distracted by turns. It’s like my fire went out. A variety of circumstances has gotten me questioning whether it’s worth it to keep up this publishing venture and whether I ought to go back to writing for fun. (I swear, it has nothing to do with my increased nightly involvement with Mass Effect and now Destiny.) Work has been leveling up to the point my situation may change, and I may not have the energy or even the time for that second career in writing.

I showed up relatively unprepared for Saturday’s author events. I didn’t bring swag, or cards, or stacks of books to give away. My table at the evening author meet and greet was sadly unadorned and scarcely attended. At events like this for someone who’s barely gotten a foothold it’s like being a mote of light in a roomful of sunshine; how to distinguish myself from the big celestial bodies? I could have left the event depressed and downtrodden, but what I did take away from GRNW was this: there are stories that need to be told in only the way that I can tell them. It may be difficult to get connected with the readers who will love them most, but it’s not impossible.

There are a number of things I can do in order to be better prepared, promote myself, and reach out to find the readers both through this event and all the social media tools available to me. And between now and Gay Romance Northwest 2015 is the time to be doing them. No task, no matter how daunting, is insurmountable when I break it into its small component steps.

So if you’re reading this, thank you for being here. This is the first step on the journey to put myself out there. And here’s what I have coming up next:

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Today is the last day to enjoy preorder savings on Satisfaction Guaranteed through Less Than Three Press.

My story, “My Sexual Superhero,” rounds out the tale of Jessan, mild-mannered and somewhat awkward geek boy who works at a comic store by day, call center by swing shift, and won’t let himself think he’s looking for the right guy rather than someone for right now, even though he totally is. Jessan has a hard time putting himself out there as a minority within a minority, half-Persian and half-Jamaican and all introvert. When he meets Felipe at the local club, his geek-savvy banter is at odds with the flashy club gear and allows Jessan to think he may have found his short, dark, and handsome. Any hope for a happy ending, though, is quashed when he’s all but kicked out the door the next morning.

During Gay Romance Northwest 2014, I was on a panel for worldbuilding and I chose a moderated question that had impact and importance for me. I asked what role diversity plays in authentic worldbuilding. To me, this goes for everything from contemporary on to the science fiction and fantasy that are highly beloved yet so very whitewashed.

Ever since The Fall Guide I’ve asked myself what my character’s background should be. Instead of what kind of white guy (or girl, or trans person) I’ll be writing, the question has become, why not a person of color? Why not someone trans? Why not someone with a disability? Why not someone older? Why not someone ace? I want to see everything represented in LGBT fiction, so this is what I’m putting up.

If this is something that interests you, or anything in my summary strikes you as appealing, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Satisfaction Guaranteed. Not to mention, it’s got many fine authors including my gals Mina and Leona. The theme of the call is service, and the payoff is to leave everyone fulfilled–that’s what it’s all about!

Coming next, a full GRNW debriefing.

Throwback Thursday: Contemporary fiction

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It’s Throwback Thursday! I have two contemporary titles out right now: From the Inside Out, in which a shy, closeted young barista meets his match most unexpected in the conflicted bisexual boy he’s met online; and The Fall Guide, where Eric’s failure to launch his business is complicated by a cheating boyfriend and a distractingly sexy business-savvy producer he meets in Vegas.

Right now is a great time to check out either one of these titles, because like all my titles, if you add either one (or both) to your cart through July 31st, you can save 20% off my titles. Just add ANDOR to the coupon field during checkout.

Have you read either of these novels? Let other prospective readers know if you liked them in the comments! And let’s get celebrating, it’s still my birthday month and there’s a full weekend to have fun.

Throwback Thursday: The Appetite series

Appetite is still going strong!

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I should have been working on a prior commitment these past couple of months. I should have, but an Appetite story, Five Stars Rising, snuck its way into my heart, insisted to be written, and now I have 50k+ words completed and waiting for a cool-off session before I do a self-edit and find one last beta reader before submission. (And if you’re interested, by all means feel free to volunteer.)

Most recently, Boys on the Brink gave A Cut Above the Rest a lovely review and I certainly hope Jamie continues to read and enjoy the series.

Appetite is my tale of attraction, distrust, hot tempers and hotter guys in the kitchen. It goes from behind-the-scenes fine dining to competitive cooking and back again, as Alex and Nik battle for supremacy with their cuisine and their growing desires for one another.

There’s no better time to check out the series! Add any one of the books, or the Appetite compilation, to your cart at Less Than Three Press, enter “ANDOR” for your coupon code, and save 20%! But act now, because my featured author savings is good only through the end of this month.

Are you excited to hear about another installment of Appetite?

Throwback Thursday: Fantasy and Paranormal stories

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Throwback Thursday is all about the stories of yesteryear.

Are you looking for fantasy, adventure, and solid relationships?

In Fireborn, Thaniel has been chosen for the sacrifice that will renew the lands and bring sorely needed rain. It’s a duty he’s always accepted, but his resolve is tested on his last day of life when he must say goodbye to his dearest friend…

In Convergence, Chris and Ling are a treasure hunters extraordinaire. When Chris hires a vampire guide to retrieve a lost treasure deep within a perilous mountain, their venture may collapse unless they can find the opportunity in one another…

You can save 20% on these stories if you purchase them through Less Than Three Press. Add them to your cart and enter “ANDOR” as your coupon code during checkout.

Happy reading!

July’s Featured Author

Klaxon at the Core

This month, I am the featured author at Less Than Three Press!

I’ve written a variety of fiction for Less Than Three Press, running the gamut from short fantasy stories to contemporary, paranormal adventure and sci fi horror. My characters range from bisexual to gay, and I have an upcoming trans short story with Project Fierce as well as a fantasy lesbian romance premiering with Damsels in Distress next year.

This means there’s a range of different things for you to try from my fiction, and there’s always something new.

All month, you can check out my titles through Less Than Three Press and enjoy 20% off savings on most titles (excluding collection bundles) for the entire month!

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Did you miss The Fall Guide? It’s a nice light, sexy romance good all year round. Waiting on reviews for Body Option before grabbing a copy? All its reviewers agree it is a recommended read! And of course, the only thing bigger than the rivalry between Alex and Nik is the compilation volume of their romance, so I advise picking up Appetite now while it’s on sale.

Several titles are also available in paperback for all your beach-going needs. 😉 So come and check me out – and enjoy a nice discount while you do. Use coupon code ANDOR at checkout to save.

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Project Fierce: Preorder

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I combed through my recent entries and realized I’ve neglected to unveil Project Fierce here on the blog.

Project Fierce Chicago is up for pre-order here and you can enjoy 15% off on this beautifully large, richly diverse volume through the afternoon of July 15th.

My story, Castle on a Cloud, was inspired by The Little Matchstick Girl but of course I had to go and give it a happy-ending twist … and a bit of a steampunk makeover along with a few other surprises.

The project benefits LGBTQ homeless youth in Chicago, so you’re not only investing in some quality fiction by a number of talented authors, but the entire proceeds go straight to charity. I finished proofing my galley copy this morning (for my story, I wouldn’t be so hubristic as to go through the whole thing) and you all are in for a treat!

More posts to come, so check back tomorrow and Saturday for news and a chance to win a shiny prize.

Signal to Noise audio book giveaway

To honor the upcoming audio book release of Signal to Noise, as well as the upcoming sequel Klaxon at the Core, available for pre-order here, let’s get this party started!

This is an audio book giveaway for Signal to Noise.

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It’s been three years since the Incursion; three long years since Bastian and his twin brother Theo became the sole survivors on the planet Noise. Their distress calls have gone unanswered, and they are running out of supplies. They have no one but each other. And when the long-awaited rescue finally arrives, it brings with it complications that make being alone and forgotten look easy.

The listing for this audio book is available here. It’s 6 hours and 38 minutes long. I will email a ZIP audio file to the winner once I’ve selected and heard back. I choose the winner with random.org.

Entering for this giveaway is a two-part process. I know, I’m making you work for it a little, but a free audio book is pretty awesome, and I’ve been listening to it over the past week–trust me, it’s worth it. Also, I don’t have a marketing team, so having you spread the word is a huge help.

1. Do one (or more) of the following:

– Tweet, or retweet, about Klaxon at the Core’s upcoming release, such as my tweet here.
– Blog, or reblog, about Klaxon at the Core’s upcoming release, such as my tumblr post here.
– Post about Klaxon at the Core’s release on Facebook, or share my update here
– Review Signal to Noise on Goodreads, Amazon, or anywhere on the web. If you’ve already reviewed it, that still counts! It doesn’t have to be a long review, either–a sentence or two letting people know what you thought of the book (and maybe why they should read it) is all that’s needed to qualify.
– Promote the release of Klaxon at the Core in any way I haven’t mentioned and link back to the publisher listing here.

2. Drop a comment here and link me to your reblog, retweet, shared post, review, or any kind of promo that spreads the word. Make sure to include an email address or means of contact. Winners will be chosen Monday, June 23rd, evening Pacific time.

If you haven’t done a promo and a comment, the entry is invalid.

Questions? Ask away! Thank you for your support, and stay tuned for an awesome Klaxon at the Core giveaway yet to come. ♥ May your reading list be long and bring you everything you love!