Debut Novel Now Available Through Torquere Press

Prodigal

Well, the big day’s here – you can now purchase Prodigal at Torquere Press here, and you can get a print copy from Amazon.  If any of you are familiar with my novellas Wanderlust and Threshhold, then Prodigal should feel familiar: it’s the novel that grew from those novellas.

If a romance between a smart-ass wanderer and an anal-retentive graduate student strikes a chord with you, pick up a copy!  I’ve included the blurb below.

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Spring Fling Event!

spring fling banner

During April 3-5 I will be launching a new short story – and I want to thank my new readers – so I hope you can join me for some fun and freebies!!

On April 3, I will be holding a giveaway: it’s your chance to win a free copy of my novel Prodigal! To enter, give me your name (or nickname) and email address either here, via Twitter, or on my blog between now and then.

On April 4, I’ll be making my winter short story A Winter Reverie free on Amazon for one day only – it’s a good time to say goodbye to the bleak cold dampness that is now hopefully (HOPEFULLY) behind us.

And on April 5 I will debuting A Winter Reverie’s sequel, the short story A Secret Path to Spring.  It’ll be a good grab for just 99 cents!

Can’t wait to welcome the spring with all of you~

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Chart Your Life, Writers. Seriously.

tomoe writes

I like my writing to be elegant and creative and inspired, but sometimes you have to turn to the spreadsheet.

 

I’m allergic to Excel and to spreadsheet programs generally.

I hate them.  They make me mad.  The cells, the sterility of them, the blank formless nothingness of them: they are the opposite of everything I love.  And I know it doesn’t have to be that way.  I have a mathematician friend who talks about Excel the way most people talk about their lovers: Excel is beautiful, he tells me, and deceptively simple, and oh god the things you can do with it.  You can stay up all night with Excel.

But I have a writer-brain that doesn’t want to moonlight as a math-brain, or an Excel-brain, and so I hate Excel and I mostly only use it when I have to for some kind of project. I try to keep it away from the free-flowing creativity of my writing. Until recently, that is, when I was struggling with finding time or enthusiasm to write.

My partner suggested I use Excel to chart my writing habits, and it has changed everything.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

To all of those who have supported me, encouraged me, purchased my books or spread the news by word of mouth, and to all of my followers here: go raibh mile maith agaibh!

St+Patricks+Day+Lucky2015

Enjoy 40% off a purchase from Torquere Press – perhaps even my new novel!

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Seven Ways To Break Through Writer’s Block

If you’ve ever found yourself staring at the blinking cursor on your computer screen with nary a word to show for it, you might be me, or you might be a writer with a bad case of writer’s block.  Either way, you have a problem – especially if there’s a deadline breathing down your neck.

How do you break out of the rut?  Here are my seven road-tested tried-and-true methods:

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A Straight Woman’s Five Rules For Writing Gay Romance

I write gay romance.

But I’m not gay.  I’m a straight woman.  And the audience for m/m romance is, from what I understand, predominantly female. And so I spend a lot of my time writing about a community that isn’t mine, and thinking about the responsibilities that come with that.  Because there are responsibilities, and I don’t take them lightly.  To that end, I’ve come up with five rules for myself to hold myself accountable – to remind myself that although my stories are fiction, the community I center them on is not.  I want to be a respectful and responsible writer of gay romance and – although I’m still learning and I’m sure I’ll make mistakes – this is how I try to do that.

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Nettles and Journeymen

Stinging nettles hurt.

I found this out when I was twelve years old, tromping through the forest next to my family’s summer cabin in the Appalachian mountains.  Wearing shorts, I marched through a patch of them and then started wondering why an invisible fire had started on my calves.  My panicked cries drew the attention of my father, who ran through the trees to find me clawing at my legs.  Without a word, he picked me up and dumped me – fully clothed and still yelling – into the nearby creek.

I remember laughing when the pain finally eased, splashing around in the creek and letting my dad show me where the wild strawberries grew.  I collected a whole handful of them.  And it’s that cabin – and the memories associated with it – which partially inspired Prodigal. Continue reading

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How To Cope With Writer’s Burnout

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It hit me the other day when I sat down at my computer: absolute, full-body malaise.

I couldn’t muster the tiniest bit of enthusiasm: not for writing fiction, not for blogging, not even for tweeting.  I stared at the screen for at least twenty minutes without typing a single letter, rubbed my hands over my face and through my hair, and encouraged myself aloud, “Come on.  Let’s go.”

Neither my body nor my brain seemed interested in obeying the command, and that’s when it hit me: I was smack dab in the middle of some serious burnout.  Every writer faces it at some point or another; I’m here to tell you what the signs are, and how to get past it.

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Writing With Anxiety

I struggled home several weeks ago in tears.

My purse strap was twisted around my neck, but the purse was in the passenger seat; I caught it on the gearshift when I pulled it over to me and almost accidentally choked myself getting out of the car to go inside.  My legs were shaky when I went up the steps to my house and my agitation had produced a series of unflattering red blotches on my neck and cheeks.  I had to try the doorknob three times before it opened, my palm so sweaty I couldn’t get a good grip.

My partner eyed me.  He knows the signs, and so he immediately went to heat water for tea, and then to give me a long tight hug.  “What happened?”

I half-laughed, but mostly cried a little when I heard myself say, “The doctor’s office moved to another location, and there was a roundabout, and I got lost.”

It was silly.  It is silly.  But I have generalized anxiety (an actual psychological condition not to be mistaken for simple fear or aversion) and so it’s a part of my reality.  That’s why I want to write about what it’s like to write with anxiety, to deal with a glitch in the switchboard of your brain that means any spike, any deviation from the mundane, gives your lizard-brain permission to run around screaming “shit oh shit oh shit danger scared fuck” while your intellect struggles helplessly in the backseat.

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On What Duolingo Taught Me About Writing (In English, Even)

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up Duolingo.

It’s a free language-learning app, and I like learning languages.  Unsure of what to expect from it, I knew there would be one thing I could count on, at least: verb conjugation charts, the nightmare of my language-learning adolescence.

I remember spending weeks on those charts back in high-school French and Spanish.  “I eat, he eats, she eats, they eat,” we’d drone.  “Yo como, él come, ella come, ellos comen.” It was our job to memorize every possible verb conjugation.  And only then could we use the verbs in sentences like adults, with a halting pause in the middle to mentally flip back to those cursed conjugation tables.

But Duolingo doesn’t do that. A few weeks into the app, I realized I was already translating verbs: Duolingo simply snuck them into sentences here and there.  And although I’d seen nary a single verb-conjugation chart and hadn’t been taught the first thing about how to conjugate verbs, I already understood how to do it.  I’d picked up the conjugations and verb endings innately simply through exposure and immersion.  Through listening.

That process has made me think a lot about writing dialogue.

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