Why Fantasy Romance, with Antonia Aquilante

Today my guest is Antonia Aquilante, here to talk about her first novel, The Prince’s Consort, and her choice to write a fantasy story.

Thank you for having me here today, Shae! I’m Antonia Aquilante, and I’m happy to be here to talk with you about The Prince’s Consort, my debut novel releasing October 16th from Dreamspinner Press. The Prince’s Consort is a fantasy romance, which is one of my favorite subgenres of romance, both to read and to write. I’ve been reading fantasy and enjoying fantasy stories since I was a child—I loved fairy tales and stories of other worlds and magic. Journeying to Narnia or Prydain or Oz or any number of other places set my imagination flying. When I was around eleven, I discovered Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet, and then dove into the works of authors like Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey, and basically lived in the fantasy section at my local bookstore and library. I loved immersing myself in the worlds they created and getting to know the characters who populate those worlds, and returning again and again. Fantasy stories swept me away in magic and adventure.

Around the same time, I read my first romance novel—a Nora Roberts that I still have the same worn copy of on my bookshelf. I was twelve, and I proceeded to devour romance novels the way I devoured fantasy novels. I didn’t have to haunt the bookstore for these for a while—I just borrowed them from my mom’s bookshelves. I loved immersing myself in romance too, in the way the characters met and how relationships progressed and happily ever after was reached. Stories of romance swept me away too, and I fell in love with the romance genre as well.

But as much as I loved fantasy novels, something started to bother me. I loved the fantasy worlds and the fantasy plots, but I wanted more of the characters and their relationships. I wanted more than just the romantic subplots that might or might not end happily. I wanted more romance in my fantasy. And I wanted happily ever after. (Because some fantasy is very romantic but not very happy.) I still read books that are more fantasy than romance and romances that have nothing to do with fantasy stories, but I do love finding that perfect combination of both.

I often gravitate toward this idea in my writing – fantasy worlds but stories that focus on romance and the building of relationships in love, friendship, and family. The Prince’s Consort came from there. It’s a fantasy story, taking place in a fantasy world. Tournai is a place filled with magic, both large and small. Tournai’s royal family, for instance, possesses a secret magical Talent that is steeped in legend. But at its heart, the story one of two people coming together, falling in love, and fighting to stay together. I hope you enjoy visiting Tournai and seeing Amory and Philip fall in love as much as I did.

ThePrincesConsort_coverThe Prince’s Consort
M/M Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Release Date: October 16, 2015
Length: Novel (290 pages)

Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time.

Or have they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.


About the Author:

AntoniaAntonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers.

Website: www.antoniaaquilante.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/antoniaquilante

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AntoniaAquilanteAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/44514257-antonia-aquilante

Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/antonia-aquilante

“What Happened in Vegas??” Blog Hop Wrap-Up

You guys! I cannot say enough thank yous to the authors and blog sites that teams up for the “What Happened in Vegas??” Blog Hop, celebrating the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States. The complete list of links to the stories is below. Each post highlights an LGBT charity that the post’s author supports, so be sure to check those out!

Here is the complete schedule:

8/3 Shae Connor The Novel Approach
8/5 Kelly Jensen Charley Descoteaux
8/10 Holley Trent Kelly Jensen
8/12 Grace R. Duncan Prism Book Alliance
8/14 Ann Anderson Anne Barwell
8/17 Jenn Burke Dirk Greyson
8/19 Jana Denardo J.P. Barnaby
8/21 Anna Zabo Hearts on Fire
8/24 C. J. Anthony Love Bytes
8/27 Nicole Dennis Joyfully Jay
8/29 JP Barnaby Bike Book Reviews
8/31 Hunter Frost Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Recommended: Eugie Foster


Many of you have probably heard about the controversy surrounding the 2015 Hugo Awards, which were given out (or, notably, not given out in several cases) at Worldcon over the weekend. I’m not going to get into the details, but one of the biggest disappointments around the whole thing is those deserving authors who were denied a nomination as a result. One of those was Eugie Foster.

Eugie was a good friend, my predecessor as director of the Daily Dragon at Dragon Con, and is sorely missed by all who knew her. Her final short story, “When it Ends, He Catches Her,” was published the day before she died, was nominated for a Nebula, and should have been on the Hugo ballot as well.

Eugie was a previous Hugo nominee and Nebula winner for her novellette “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast.” A complete list of her many fiction titles is available on her website. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

Meeting the Parents with Erin and Racheline

My guest today is Erin McCrae, here to talk about her latest release with co-author Racheline Maltese, Twelfth Night, the second in the Love’s Labours series. Take it away, Erin!

If you’ve ever dated anyone, chances are you’ve had some version of the awkward, unpleasant, or just downright embarrassing version of the meet-the-parents experience. For me, it was the first time I met the woman who would become my mother-in-law: I had just slept over at her house, with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Ben.

As far as I knew, his mother was fine with him having girl- and/or boyfriends sleep over. But I’d never slept with someone and then had to look their parents in the eye before. As far as my emotional state was concerned, embarrassment was an understatement. Like, what smalltalk was I supposed to make while standing in the kitchen of a woman I’d never met before, whose son I had just slept with. Also, I was in my pajamas. It is hard to feel like an adult in pajamas.

Like in Twelfth Night, when Michael has to admit to his parents that he’s dating someone seventeen years older than him, and John has to admit to his parents that his boyfriend is seventeen years younger than him…and a boy.

We love writing about people navigating romantic relationships and having awesome sexytimes (and Twelfth Night has plenty of both). But we also really like the fun, and farce, and yes, embarrassment, of people meeting their S.O.’s parents for the first time. Because no matter how embarrassing or awkward things get as our heroes try to introduce their boyfriends to their families, it makes a great story.


Twelfth Night CoverMichael and John, a May/December couple, navigated the repercussions of their gay-for-you love affair in the hothouse of a summerstock theater production.

Back in New York City at the conclusion of their show’s run, John is overwhelmed by his obsession with Michael and the difficulties of learning to date again after the death of his young son and his recent divorce. John gradually comes out to his colleagues, his football rec league friends, and even his ex-wife.

But when he invites his parents over for Christmas to meet the person he’s been seeing, the holiday—featuring Michael’s family’s amateur production of Twelfth Night—quickly turns into a French farce of potentially catastrophic proportions, forcing John finally to take the lead in claiming his evolving identity as he takes the next step in his relationship with Michael.


Erin McRae is a queer writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. She has a master’s degree in International Affairs from American University, and delights in applying her knowledge of international relations theory to her fiction and screen-based projects, because conflict drives narrative.

Racheline Maltese lives a big life from a small space. She flies planes, sails boats, and rides horses, but as a native New Yorker, has no idea how to drive a car. A long-time entertainment and media industry professional, she lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their two cats.

Together, they are co-authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry—Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (June 10, 2015)—from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella series Love’s Labours, set in the theater world—Midsummer (May 2015), and Twelfth Night (Fall 2015)—is from Dreamspinner Press. They also have a story in Best Gay Romance 2015 from Cleis Press and edited by Felice Picano. You can find them on the web at http://www.Avian30.com.

Social media links:

Joint Blog: http://Avian30.com
Joint Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Erin.and.Racheline
Erin’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/erincmcrae
Racheline’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/racheline_m
Erin’s Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8323893.Erin_McRae
Racheline’s Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1015335.Racheline_Maltese
Erin’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Erin-McRae/e/B00M7A0SVC
Racheline’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Racheline-Maltese/e/B001JRVS2C

Buy Links:

Google Play


John doesn’t expect Michael to be as weirdly taken with the ocean as he is with the wild woods. It doesn’t seem like his element the way the trees are. But he is mesmerized by the beach almost instantly upon their arrival, insisting they walk along the hard wet sand of the tide line. It doesn’t matter how many times John says their muscles will ache unhappily tomorrow from miles walked at the edge of the frigid fall water; Michael either doesn’t hear him or doesn’t care enough to respond.

John is fascinated as Michael keeps a close eye on shells and rocks. One is shaped like a small egg, and he’s disappointed when it’s not. Still he makes John hold it for him, running ahead to a rock jetty to comb through the midden of mussel shells left by persistent and angry seagulls.

John tries not to be horrified, but the sight of Michael’s fingers picking through the dead bivalves and seaweed stinking in the sun is a bit much.

“What’s this?” Michael asks, eventually, holding out a shell, colored and swirled, to him.

It’s in perfect condition, and John is about to be impressed with the find until he realizes there’s still a creature using the shell as its home.

“That’s an animal in there.” He doesn’t actually know what kind. But it’s gelatinous and of the sea and not really a thing they should be messing with. They’ve seen dozens of jellyfish washed up on the beach already today.

“Does it go in the ocean or not in the ocean?”

“Ocean,” John says. He’s not 100 percent sure, but he suspects, like the jellyfish, the sun and the birds will eventually cook and peck it to nothing if it’s not saved by the sea.

Michael throws the shell back and returns to the tide line as they walk, gaze carefully on the ground and picking at every shell he sees that looks like whatever creature he just rescued. Most of them have their animals in them, and John suspects the coming hurricane that’s going to ruin their trip is churning them up.

As Michael throws each one back into the water, John is charmed that he’s trying to save creatures that have no spine, names he doesn’t know, and forms he’s never seen before.

Eventually Michael decides they can leave and reaches for John’s hand. John flinches away. It’s not the strangeness of the town this beach is attached to, half religious meeting town, half gay beach paradise. There’s even a club down the block from their inn that advertises “Less Lights, More Fun!” It’s that he can only think about whatever bacteria Michael is now coated in from all the dead mussels.

God, but he’s going to look like an idiot explaining that.

When he tries, stumbling through a mini monologue about seaweed and sea creatures and sand, Michael just listens with his head tipped to the side.

Finally John’s speech drags to a halt under Michael’s incredibly unimpressed gaze. He sighs and starts again.

“Okay. I swear the handholding thing has nothing to do with anything except your gross dead bivalve hands. But I think I may be freaking out.”

Michael blinks at him. “Did this start when we checked in and you had to deal with people who know we’re here to fuck?”

It’s sharp, but John knows he probably deserves it.

“You know I don’t mind being out in public with you,” he says cautiously. He wants to be honest with Michael, but he also doesn’t want to provoke anger by being less willing to be out than Michael deems sufficient.

Thankfully Michael considers John for a moment and then grins. “Somewhere in the romantic beach getaway, I got that.”

John lets out a relieved sigh and wraps an arm around Michael’s waist. He wants to prove his willingness to be fully in this relationship without shame, but life is also just better when they’re touching. Michael leans into his side, and they start walking down the sand again.

“But it’s something I can’t help being aware of,” John says quietly as they walk. “What we are and what people see when they look at me. Which apparently means I’ve found my internalized homophobia, and I am completely aware of how gross that is. I’m going to work on that, but there it is.”

“You still want to, like, go out to dinner tonight and make out on the boardwalk, though, right?”

“Oh my God, you have no idea. I want to tell everybody about you.”

Michael smirks. “So why don’t you?”

“Coming out at my age is kind of more complicated than it is at twelve. Or however old you were when you did.”

“I was fourteen, thank you.”

“So how did you come out to your parents?” John asks after they walk for a few minutes in silence.

Michael cracks up.

“I’m serious!”

Michael buries his face in John’s arm and apparently can’t stop laughing. “You do understand how ridiculous this is, right?”

“I understand that I’m forty-two and have to come out to everyone in my entire life that I give a remote shit about, because you are addictive and fascinating and wonderful and also are sadly holding me to some pretty legitimate ethical standards. So help a guy out, okay?”

“I was making out with my first high school boyfriend in the living room, and my mom walked in.”

John is entirely not surprised. “So hey, when you meet my family, let’s not go with that plan, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Michael says, drawing the word out in a way that makes it clear it’s his turn to be defensive and weird.

John smirks, pleased to be off the hook for the moment. “You haven’t told them about us either,” he says smugly.

Michael mumbles something against John’s arm.

“What was that?”

“You’re really old,” Michael says. “And they’re going to freak.”

Joe Cosentino’s Drama Queen In Audio

My guest today is Joe Cosentino, here to talk about his recent release Drama Queen, the first in his Nicky and Noah mystery series, which is now out in audiobook format!

My novel Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, came out in June and has frequently been in the top twenty in its category on Amazon Kindle’s bestseller list since its release. The paperback is taking off now too, and everyone’s been telling me it should be made into an audiobook. So I was thrilled when Steve Berman told me Lethe Press was producing an audio version of the book.

With twenty-four characters of all ages/races/genders/sexualities/personalities (one bipolar), as well as Nicky and Noah using their theatre skills to impersonate other people during their investigation, it was important to find the right narrator. The audiobook is now available narrated by Michael Gilboe, a gifted actor, character voice artist, and college theatre professor/director—like Nicky Abbondanza, the leading character. Michael has a dry wit in his reading, which fits the wacky humor of the series. He also does an incredible job bringing to life all twenty-four characters!

The audiobook is on Audible and Amazon, available for download on any audio device or computer. I think you will laugh hysterically at Michael’s performance, and be captivated by the clues, red herrings, reversals, and surprise ending of the story. Don’t miss it!

Audiobook purchase links:


DramaQueencoverIt could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

Paperback: 194 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press
Language: English
Cover Design: Ben Baldwin
ISBN-10: 1590214676
ISBN-13: 978-1590214671
Release date: June 6, 2015

Paperback: Lethe Press || Amazon
Ebook: Smashwords || Amazon (Kindle)

About the Author

Joe Cosentino is the author of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll, the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays “Infatuation” and “Neighbor” were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press fairytale novella), and Porcelain Doll, the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press).

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KRPXJP6

“What Happened in Vegas??” Blog Hop Schedule

Thanks to some awesome authors and bloggers, the “What Happened in Vegas??” Blog Hop, celebrating the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States, kicks off on Monday and run through August 31. Posts will generally appear on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. I’ll be updating the list below with direct links to all the posts as the hop goes on. Each post will highlight an LGBT charity that the post’s author supports, so be sure to check those out!

Here is the complete schedule:

8/3 Shae Connor The Novel Approach
8/5 Kelly Jensen Charley Descoteaux
8/10 Holley Trent Kelly Jensen
8/12 Grace R. Duncan Prism Book Alliance
8/14 Ann Anderson Anne Barwell
8/17 Jenn Burke Dirk Greyson
8/19 Jana Denardo J.P. Barnaby
8/21 Anna Zabo Hearts on Fire
8/24 C. J. Anthony Love Bytes
8/27 Nicole Dennis Joyfully Jay
8/29 JP Barnaby Bike Book Reviews
8/31 Hunter Frost Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

From New York, With Love

I’m just home from a whirlwind trip to New York for the 2015 Romance Writers of America conference. It was a fabulous week, filled with meet-and-greets with lots of author friends plus a few NYC locals, plus some really good content on the pro-writing side of things.

I only made it to two panel sessions during the conference, but both were great. The first, “Diversity in Romance: Why It Matters,” featured five authors (four POC authors) who had wonderful things to say about, well, why diversity matters. One of the panelists, Alisha Rai, compiled a Storify of many of the tweets from the panel. (I especially loved her “duke-fic” analogy, LOL.) The second panel, “The Human Experience: Throwing Away Stereotypes and Creating Realistically Diverse Characters through Empathy,” included the awesome Farrah Rochon, who was also on the first panel (and who I assured I was not stalking!), and Suzanne Brockmann.

Yes, diversity was a big topic of discussion at RWA this year. It’s one of the ongoing issues in the romance genre, and one that’s changing, albeit slowly. Romances about and written by people of color, LGBT people, and people with disabilities are gradually becoming more and more common and are working their way into the “mainstream” of the genre, rather than being relegated to the sides—though that still happens too. It’s a slow process to change decades of industry practice, but many amazing, smart women are making it happen.

(Adding a bit to the discussion, while I was at RWA, my July Outside the Margins post went up: Mainstreaming the Rainbow.)

One of the best things about RWA is that the “official” events are just the tip of iceberg. I attended a grand total of four events: the Literacy Autographing, the two panels, and the RITA/Golden Hearts awards ceremony. The rest of my time was spent in small groups or one-on-one discussions with other industry professionals. I was part of a critique workshop on Thursday afternoon that gave me some great insight into one of my works in progress, had a meet-up with members of a Facebook author group, and ate several meals with author friends. But mostly, I spent many hours just hanging out in the lobby, chatting with whoever was around. I met so many people I’m afraid to list them for fear of leaving some out!

So now I’m back home, tired and brain-dead, but at the same time energized and ready to dive back into my works in progress. Too bad I’m still booked up with Dragon Con and my sister’s wedding on the horizon!

J. Scott Coatsworth on Finding Inspiration and Following Where It Goes

My guest today is J. Scott Coatsworth, telling the stories behind the stories for his two new releases, “Between the Lines” and “The Homecoming.”

People often ask me how I get inspired – where I get the ideas for the stories that I write.

They come from all sorts of places, depending on the story.

Case in point – I have two different novellas coming out in July, my first stand-alone stories, and they have very different themes and backgrounds.

The first, “Between the Lines”, out from Dreamspinner on 7/15, is the story of a chief of staff for a state lawmaker, and the curious things that happen when he discovers a medallion that lets him see the words behind the words people say.

I’ve been writing for a long time, but with some big gaps, and Between the Lines started out as a story fragment called “The Box”. I wrote it in a sitting or two, one of those “let’s open up a blank page and see where it goes” sort of things, and then it sat on the shelf for a decade or two.

Flash forward to 2014, and I needed something to submit to Dreamspinner’s “Random Acts of Kindness” anthology. I pulled this one down and dusted it off, and thought it would make a perfect entry. I plotted out a direction for the rest of the story and set about writing it, using my current hometown of Sacramento as the backdrop, and voila, a full fledged story.

It was rejected for the anthology, but DSP encouraged me to extend it and resubmit it as a stand-alone, and once I did, they bought it.

The second novella, “The Homecoming”, also started out as a story fragment, albeit with a much longer history. In elementary school and junor high, I used to draw maps of this world, Antana, that experienced regular worldwide floods. I built a whole history for the world, and then one day I started out a story with the idea of an expedition back from Antana to old Earth – what if Earth was taken over by intelligent wolves?

Less Than Three called for submissions for an anthology “Lovely, Dark and Deep”, about things that happen in the forest. Once again, something off my dusty shelves seemed perfect. I pounded out the story, where the wolves were now werewolves, and submitted it.

And here, too, I was rejected, but with a request to resubmit the story as a stand-alone. I did, and three days later, they said yes.

The takeaway here is that inspiration can come from a myriad of sources.

And you never know when an idea you discarded a few years back will finally come into its own.

BTLcoversmallPublisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63476-235-9
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Length: 15k
Format: eBook
Release Date: 7/15
Price: 3.99

Brad Weston’s life seems perfect. He’s GQ handsome, the Chief of Staff for a Republican California State Senator, and enjoys the power and the promise of a bright future. And he’s in a comfortable relationship with his boyfriend of six years, Alex.

Sam Fuller is Brad’s young, blond, blue-eyed intern, fresh out of college, running from a bad break-up, and questioning his choices and his new life in politics. To make things worse, Sam also has a thing for the boss, but Brad is already taken.

While looking for a gift for his boyfriend, Brad wanders into a curiosity shop and becomes fascinated by an old wooden medallion. Brad’s not a superstitious man, but when he takes out the medallion in his office, he sees the world in a new light. And nothing will ever be the same.

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble
All Romance Ebooks

THcoversmallPublisher: Less Than Three Press
ISBN: 978-1-62004-583-1
Cover Artist: London Burden
Length: 20k
Format: eBook
Release Date: 7/29
Price: 3.99

When his own world is destroyed, Aldiss and his crew barely manage to escape, leaving friends and lovers behind. What was meant to be an exploratory trip back to the home world turns into a mad dash for survival.

When they awaken from stasis on Earth, which was abandoned by humanity five centuries before, they must quickly learn about their new home. While exploring the region around the ship, Aldiss meets Hari, a shape-changer, whose people harbor secrets that might cost the crew their lives.

Buy Link: Less Than Three

About the Author

j-scott-coatsworthScott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Coming Next Week, It’s RWA Time!

I am just a wee bit excited that a week from tomorrow I’ll be getting on a plane headed to New York for the 2015 Romance Writers of America conference. In addition to three full days of panels and workshops focusing on the profession of romance writing, I’ll be visiting friends, meeting new ones, and attending the Saturday night ceremony for the RITA and Golden Heart awards (the “Oscars” of the romance genre).

If you’ll be in the New York area on Wednesday, July 22, you can get to see many of your favorite romance authors, including me, at the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing. More than 480 authors will be signing books, with all proceeds going to benefit three literacy-focused charities. You can get more information and check out the full list of authors here.

Hope to see you there! :)

literacy promo

K. Lynn on NaNoWriMo Success and Crossing Gender Lines

My guest today is K. Lynn, another author who’s won the National Novel Writing Month challenge of finishing a novel in a month. She’s here to talk about the finished product, His Womanly Ways.

I’ve written a number of manuscripts over the past few years, full-length novels that are in different levels of editing. And I’ve written quite a few short stories and novellas, all of which have been published to date. However, I’ve only done NaNoWriMo once. The push to write at such a fast pace, in such a short time, is both freeing and terrifying. But, I figured I’d give it a try once. And as a result, I completed the first draft of His Womanly Ways.

This novel is unlike my usual fare of works, and perhaps that’s why it came so fast to me. I let myself go and just saw where the plot would take me. And it turns out that it took me to quite an interesting place. The only thing I knew going in was that I wanted to do a genderswap book, but one that was unlike those I had read prior. I have always been interested in the genre, but I find most of it jumps straight to objectification rather than exploration. You’re turned into another gender, so the first thing you do is feel yourself up and try to have sex with the nearest willing person? I don’t buy that.

Essentially your body doesn’t match your inner self anymore. That should cause some kind of journey to either accept or reject the situation. That’s what I tried to do with His Womanly Ways. Alex didn’t ask for this to happen to him, and the process is gradual, as is his acceptance of the changes. His mind doesn’t match the image he sees in the mirror, and that’s important to realize.

hiswomanlyways_smallAlex is a womanizer. He makes no excuses for it. Yes, he picks up women at the local bar, leaving them with just a memory of a good night and a good lay, but he hasn’t had any complaints yet. That is, until he picks up the wrong woman. Not satisfied to be tossed aside as just another notch in Alex’s bedpost, she curses him, wishing he “knew what it was like for a woman.” And he’s about to find out what she means, embarking on a genderswap journey that he can’t stop.

Alex starts slowly gaining secondary female characteristics. Waking up with his cock gone, replaced by a vagina, was bad enough. Then it gets worse, as his body becomes more like a woman than the man he used to be. Alex tries to hide the changes he’s going through, for fear that someone will discover his secret, but keeping this quite literally “under wraps” might be impossible before the curse runs its course.

With the help of his female best friend, Eve, Alex tries to deal with who he is becoming.  He feels like he’s lost his identity, his mind not matching the body he now has. But Eve sticks by him, and they become closer as Alex’s changes progress. What started out as friendship may become something more before Alex’s journey is over. Perhaps this curse was actually a blessing in disguise.

Did I strike the right balance between humor and drama? Create an interesting storyline with realistic characters, despite the extraordinary circumstances they are in? That’s up to the reader to decide, but I do hope I provide a new way to look at the concept. Because a change in gender is not something to take lightly.

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About The Author:

writerklynnK. Lynn has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. While in college, K. Lynn increased her involvement in LGBT issues and writing within the LGBT fiction genre. She has become a long-time fan of the authors that seek to explore the commonality that exists within all sexualities and genders. Most of K. Lynn’s work features LGBT characters, many of whom are in established relationships and show how love perseveres through every trial and tribulation that life holds. She also has a particular interest in seeing transgender characters gain a larger foothold within the LGBT fiction genre, hoping that the market for these works expand in the future. Contact K. Lynn at writerklynn@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @WriterKLynn