Thursday, July 20, 2017

Talking about the Scrimmage Series today.

I started writing Blindsided in Tampa two years ago this week. I know this because I got the memory thing from Facebook telling me I was at Rainbow Con two years ago this past week. I started Blindsided in the bar at Rainbow Con.

In two years time I haven't written much more than I did while I was in Tampa. I think I left it at around fifteen thousand words that weekend.

I hadn't planned to write Blindsided at all up to that point. Up to that point I was going to finish out the series in two more books. Sunday Schooled and Last Man Standing. I had covers made. I wrote half of Sunday Schooled before I realized that story was something else entirely. It wasn't going to finish the series. It was retelling the series from Bo and Dylan's POV. I stopped writing that story because I was wasting my time and needed to get the final story told. I left it at the point in Six Ways where Bo finds out Dylan is alive, but not before they are reunited.

I had planned to tell the final story through the eyes of a fourth couple. I linked that couple to the series in Offside Chance. Both of them. One had a name. The other was pure speculation.

I couldn't figure out how to go about introducing that character to the world AND take his story away from him to finish out what is Levi's story.

The whole series is Levi's story. All of it. Even Six Ways from Sunday is Levi's story even though he's not even in it.

If I had never written Sidelined there would be no further story to tell. If I had not linked Levi to Bo in Sidelined and not written this series at all... if I had not linked Levi to Bo, Levi would have no story at all. Just a quarterback without a team. He'd have no backstory. He'd just be there, get sexed up by the new coach of his old team. Figure out how to come out in post-football small town big hero way.

Sometimes I regret writing Sidelined.

I wouldn't be in this pickle if I hadn't written Sidelined. Six Ways from Sunday would be just a short story stand alone. I would never have written another football book.

Offside Chance came along and Jude with all of his resentment and baggage started screaming that everything was always all about Levi. Why can't he have something without his brother? He chose his brother's best friend to fall for. It was always about Levi. And how Levi links every damned one of them.

I wasn't going to write Last Man Standing. I was going to incorporate that one needed character into Blindsided and not deal with Angel. I didn't know Angel. Angel wasn't part of this story. Angel was just some kid who replaced Levi. He didn't matter. Sully mattered.

So I was writing Blindsided in Tampa, when I made the mistake of kidding that I killed Levi. I even said I was kidding. I got blasted. I got blasted in blistering fashion and not just by one or two people. By many, many people. So I set Blindsided aside because I was finished with that series. Offside Chance can sort of stand as the final book. There are threads dangling... but... that ending could actually stand as an ending.

It waited another six months to let the anger over that situation, my anger, die down. I don't like being told what I can and can't write. I mean, that's why Cold Shadow stayed in moth balls for five years. Because I was censured for even hinting at the possibility that I would do something so heinous as bring a third into their HEA when the Cold series isn't even a romance... I put it away and didn't take it out again because I didn't want to deal with the blowback of taking a story where I thought it needed to go. Cold was left as a HFN. It didn't need a second book. If I released the second book I'd have to finish the series and god knows y'all don't want to go down the rabbit hole that book will go down... but this is about the Scrimmage men and how I was going to finish this damned story off without pissing everyone off and still be true to the story that is unfolding throughout all of the stories. Levi's story.

How am I going to tell all of Levi's story in one damned book and pull this big huge rambling saga to a close without writing Gone with the Wind.... or worse, The Winds of War? What the hell is Levi's story anyway? I have all of these little pieces of him scattered throughout this series. I have this vision that his backstory is far more complicated than being transgendered and queer in a world where he can't be either. I have the seeds of abuse and neglect and crippling self doubt. I have... myself.

I started writing Blindsided two years ago this week and the first thing I did was kill Levi's mother. Until this point Samantha Brody was a mention or two. She was a ghost who may or may not be alive. She was nothing tangible at all to the story. Because she's my mother and I wasn't ready to purge my goddamned mother. So I killed this person in this story that I didn't know with the intention of using this death and Levi's surgery as the plot devise to push this story to an unnatural ending in which Levi has to confront his father... because that's all that was left to do in his story. Nothing else was tied together. The rape charge. Jude's resentment. Why they were pariahs in their own hometown even though they returned successful. Why... WHY!

I set Blindsided aside again to write a backstory for Levi. I never intended it to be anything but notes for me to flesh out this character so I could know him. Really know him.

What I got was a first person account of his life from the day he woke up to the harsh reality of his life, through the ending off Offside Chance. I wrote ninety thousand words of brutal backstory that included his high school lovers. The creation of the Liv persona. His drag queen mother to replace the real mother. His mother. The shadow of his father. The hints of abuse and neglect and how Levi coped with raising a brother who resented him... and Jude, through Levi's eyes, as the only person he truly loved.

When I was finished with Diva, I had no real intention of making the story public. I thought I could incorporate most of that into Blindsided and move on. I can't. It's ninety thousand words that need to be canon before Blindsided. Or Blindsided will be bogged down in more backstory than it needs to move forward.

After Diva I thought I could jump into Blindsided and pick up that final scene and go. I tied that final scene into the beginning of Blindsided. That final scene sets all of Blindsided.

I couldn't just jump in. I tried. I managed another five thousand words and knew I had to go back one more time and write Sully in. Sully couldn't just come sashaying in and say surprise. Sully had to have his own reason for being in Blindsided.

So I wrote Last Man Standing. I tied it in to that final scene in Diva, and everything in that book runs concurrent with the first twenty thousand words of Blindsided. Dylan, Tracy, Bo, Will, and Jude play small roles in that book, those same scenes where they are featured will lace throughout Blindsided until they collide.

Last Man Standing was released in August of last year. More than a year after Rainbow Con. I'd written two complete Scrimmage books in six months. In the year since those books were released they have yet to sell combined what Offside Chance sold in it's first month. I wrote two books in a popular series that were not accepted and ignored by 90% if the previous audience for this series.

I had told all of the backstory that I needed and was ready to finish Blindsided. I commissioned a beautiful cover, because I was twenty thousand words into this mess and I had the backstory told so I went ahead with the idea that I'd take a small break from the series and write something else then come back and finish it.

My mother died in October.

I stopped doing everything.

I came to a complete crashing halt.

If Levi's story is me fictionalizing my own story and dealing with my demons there was no goddamned way I was going to touch that story again. I'd killed his mother. The whole book is about Levi figuring out how to live now that he's lost everything that ever mattered to him and dealing with the demons that will never allow him to be happy until he purges them.

It's about throwing away happiness with both hands and finally hitting rock bottom.

When you're sitting there watching your own life spiral down that same rabbit hole and recognizing life imitating art and you're watching your career come to a screeching halt while your personal life becomes a living nightmare and you're grieving for something that never existed at all.

I've been there. In that rabbit hole for a very long time. Throwing away everything good with both hands and ignoring what I don't want to deal with and not coping.... at all.

I released the first half of Sunday Schooled as Any Given Sunday, I have no idea why. So that you understand the beginning, so that you'll understand the ending. To tie Bo into Levi's sordid crazy.

I released a book I swore I'd never release and I regret every second of that decision.

I have written two brand new books from scratch hoping for something light and fluffy.

I never want to write Blindsided. I know that now.

I don't want to cut open that part of me that is Levi and bleed his blood. I don't want to do it.

I will. I've made that promise.

I can't do it now. Not now. If I write Blindsided now I will never write another book again.

If I can salvage something of this mess that is my life and career, I'll have it next year sometime.

For now, I'm writing light and fluffy and playing it all by ear.

Thanks for listening,

Mercy

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cover Reveals and Coming Soons

I shared a gorgeous new cover with you a little while back. It's pink and pretty and looks like an old surf shirt I had. It's for my next brand new book. 

Match Day

About a brand new doctor about to start his residency, hence the title, who is jilted at the altar. His best friend surprises him on his honeymoon cruise. Ten days trapped together in a room with one bed on a ship surrounded by ocean. Where they get to know one another way too well.

The last chapter of Match Day spawned a character I didn't know I'd love. He had a blink and you'll miss him role. But, he got his own book out of that audition. 



Long Way 

A May December story the begins with a funeral of sorts and takes us into the deep woods with blizzards and bears and feelings that should never happen but can't be denied. And that's all I'm
saying on that book right now. 

I finished Match Day and sent it to beta readers and had a brain storming session with Jambrea Jo Jones and Cam Kennedy and jumped right into Long Way and didn't stop. I will finish it in less than a month.

Jay Aheer took my little bit of details when I said make it look like the first cover but in the woods in the cold. And she did. And it's gorgeous.


















And then there's a third book. It's not finished. I've been sitting on the cover for nearly a year now. I shared it on Facebook today. It's not something I want to talk about. I would prefer that it not be shared on Goodreads until next year. But... well... here it is.

Release Dates:

Match Day
September 12, 2017

Long Way
October 10, 2017

and 

Blindsided
Fall of 2018

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Twincest Book! and where to find it



I wrote this on a dare. It lasted four whole days on Amazon before it was removed and the file blocked. As shown below, as compared to a book I personally pulled from publication... screen capped today.



It's important to note that the book was in the number 1 spot on all gay romance charts and in the top 100 all books at the time it was removed. 

All Romance ebooks waited six months to block the book. They waited until it had stopped making money.

Barnes and Noble has not allowed the relisting of it recently. 

I have not tried to place it with any other sites because I'd like to keep my account with them.

So... if you find it anywhere it's a pirate copy. The only legitimate place to purchase this book is through payhip, which is to say payhip is the service I use to host my books and are not a publisher or a book selling site. I pay a fee to them and they route my books. Consider it my personal publisher site.

I offer mobi, epub and pdf formats. Please note that mobi does not always open immediately and will need to be emailed to your kindle device. I can not do that for you, the email must come from the email address attached to your Amazon account sent directly to your kindle's email address... yes your kindle has an email address, you can find it under manage my devices.

the payhip direct buy link is below: 


Buy Now

Saturday, July 8, 2017

What do those letters mean? And what the hell is Erotica anyway?

I joined RWA about twenty years ago. I've been running around the romance community is some fashion for two decades. I've been to conferences and workshops and writing classes and monthly group meetings and online and what have you for a very long time.

Before that, I was a romance reader. I started reading romance when I was twelve. I read those first love books in my teens. And hid the dirty historicals under my bed. The first dirty historical I read was about two twin girls, named Gia and Gina, one was betrothed to a wealthy man and was sent to marry him, she was killed in a buggy/train wreck. Her sister had amnesia from the same accident. The groom didn't know there was a twin. He took home the wrong sister.... except the other sister wasn't killed she'd been thrown clear of the wreckage (must have been a buggy) and the other body that was severely unrecognizable (I thought burned so must have been a train) was thought by the readers to be one of the twins.... lots of premarital shenanigans went on. The other twin comes back... she wasn't nice about her sister being pregnant with her betrothed's baby... I can't remember how it ended. I was thirteen. It was sex.

Of course, I read Fear of Flying by Erica Jong around that time too. It wasn't a romance. I read my first menage scene when I was too young to know what menage was. Or sex for that matter.

For some reason, my parents had a box of smut books in their closet. I mean SMUT of the smuttiest smut to ever smut. I remember this pulp fiction porn fest titled Amanda set during WWII. In which Amanda is a slut who bangs all her boarding school friends, is sexually assaulted with a fireplace poker by her boarding school friends. Goes to college and becomes a spy for the Allies... and is caught behind German lines, taken hostage and gang banged... uh... yeah... so... my early reading wasn't all sunshine and rainbows.

I read Valley of the Dolls, Peyton Place, and Myra Breckinridge before I was fifteen. Sex, drugs, incest, and transsexuality.

I don't know if I should be ashamed or not.

I read my first official romance when I was twenty-one. Or rather, the first adult romance that I bought and didn't hide. It was Johanna Lindsey's Gentle Rogue.

I proceeded to Kathleen Woodiwiss, who pretty much had the phrase 'bodice ripper' coined just for her books. And Virginia Henley for her sweeping British historical sex romps. And Bertrice Small... for her... well... uh, sex sex and more sex. Susan Johnson for her incredible American frontier sex books.

But before that, there was Anne Rice. Exit to Eden was my first actual penetrative gay sex scene. It was rape. Sure it was. But it was sex club dom/sub and expected... then her Beauty books. I was still in my teens then. I read the Story of O somewhere along to line.

Sex. Multiple partners. Gay. My early reading education was... messed up.

It's why I write what I write. I didn't like the sweet romances. I didn't like books that didn't explore human sexuality, I guess because I was already reading on a higher smut level at fourteen than most adults do in their forties.

I must admit that I've stopped reading smut. Mostly because most of it isn't well written.

There's an art to erotic literature. There's an art to pornographic literature. I've read both. I've read terrible pulp spank/cum fests that were horribly written and felt dirty afterward for even knowing it existed. I've read gorgeously written pulp spank/cum fests that I regret having lost.

But when it all came down to it, I gravitated to the books that the sexual relationship and the nonsexual relationship were given equal time. I didn't need a happy ever after. I just wanted the couples to come out of the story better than when they went in, even if they didn't stay together. Even if it was just a fling.

When I started writing, I thought I could write outside the romance genre. I tried. I can't. I was too young and didn't have enough life experience to write something like Fear of Flying. I'd never read young adult books that weren't sweet romances, so I didn't know that was even an option. I'm still not widely read in the YA genre unless you count Harry Potter. I went from middle school books to teen romance to adult erotic fiction to erotic romance.

My first few finished books were straight romances, with some sex. Not enough to fit into the erotic genre. Too much to be considered traditional romance. Sensual is now the preferred term for those books. Three sex scenes and a Happy Ever After.

They didn't sell. Or I couldn't get a publisher interested. Most publishers were chasing Ellora's Cave's skirts at that time. Erotica was in. Sweet was out. The dirtier the better.

So I wrote a dirty one night stand that I gave an HEA. It didn't sell either.


I wrote my first menage. And I peppered it with this illusion that there was some big secret between the two male protags. That I was too chicken shit to delve into. I published that book as an MFM or M/F/M. And regretted it for two years. I knew there was more to the story.

My next book was an M/F or F/M depending on where you look. It had some mild bondage and spanking. This was before that 50 Shades book. Or right about the same time. It sort of got swept along in that to a small degree. There was definitely more than three sexy time scenes going on in that book. And it sold very well... well by my standards at the time. Since I had no standards and my first three books hadn't sold enough combined to pay my phone bill for a month.

I gravitated to MM or M/M right after I wrote that book. I don't know why. Because of all of the books I'd loved in the past, the ones that stayed with me were the ones in which the men had more than friends relationships. I mean, Louis and Lestat weren't just splitting the rent if you know what I mean. The scene in which Lestat turns Louis is probably one of the most erotic scenes I've ever read and it doesn't involve a single penis.

Sex in MM was easier. I didn't have to stick to the 'rules' of conventional romance. I didn't have to have pure as the driven snow heroine and the alpha who saved her. I don't like those. I don't relate to those. I don't relate to the books in which the girl is only about clothes and fashion and makeup and saving her inheritance or getting a billionaire. I wanted books about women like me. With dark pasts and demons and hardscrabble existences that they pulled themselves through, finding the guy who'd come in and maybe lift some of the burdens off their shoulders but not save them. I wanted people who weren't perfect. I wanted people who were equal. And broken who needed someone to accept their brokenness.

That is not going to happen in MF romance. Like ever.

MM fills that need. But that's not the only reason I write MM.

I write what I call porn with plot. I write erotic romance with a plot. I write sex books with equal brain works.

When I say that most erotic romance is poorly written... well, it is. Erotic romance isn't about sticking it in and pulling it out and body fluids.
 

Erotic romance is about the brain. It's about two people connecting in more ways than just the slots and tabs being filled. It's about making a mental connection in bed and out of bed. Or it's just porn. Really bad porn.

Erotica, erotica isn't erotic romance. It's sex, smart sex, just for sex sake. There is no plot. There is no HEA. There is only sex between two or more consenting adults. Add toys to take it to the next level. Erotica is where everything with sex is now tossed. Erotic romance and erotica are not the same. In erotica, the partners can have a romantic relationship, or not. There is no expectation of a ring unless it's on a cock. There is no expectation of a day after or a second meeting. A married couple can bring in a third and it's fine. Or swap partners and it's fine. No hearts are broken. In the end, it was just about the sex.

Erotic romance has the same expectations of some kind of HEA for all parties involved.

Sensual romance is romance with three sexy time scenes, probably not fully articulated and double entendred to death.

Romance has sexy time but without the graphic words or descriptions. And is usually over quickly. Sex is not the focus of the story. The romance is the focus.

Sweet romance... no sex. None. They don't even think about it... there's no quivering anything.

Fiction with romantic elements is not the same as a sweet romance. It's fiction, with a plot that isn't about romance, but the two main characters have a romantic interest. Can have sex. It's not the point of the story.

In romance, you'll find letter combinations, especially if there is sex involved.

F= Female

M=Male

FM, F/M, MF, M/F= one male one female

MM, M/M= Two males

FF, F/F+ Two females

Now it gets a bit tricky when you throw in a third person. It's how the letters are placed that tells you what kind of sex you will be getting.

If it's two males and one female:

MFM, M/F/M= all three have sex at one time, the dudes do not have sex with each other or touch or mingle body fluids.

Or


MMF, M/M/F, FMM, F/M/M= They all have sex at one time and the dudes to touch and mingle body fluids and enter each other as well as the female.

The same if it's two females and one male just switch the letters to the appropriate opposite.

When you add a fourth person with different sexes... hell I don't even know. Three guys and one girl and not one dude touches the other dude is damned unrealistic or a gang bang.

More than that... I can't even. Just... assume the chick is tired all the time and there's a line.

But when you get to the ones where the pairings are separated like this:

MF. MM. MMF. FFM.= This means that there are multiple sexual encounters between different partners who most likely won't but could pair up with another couple in the story. I know I'm confused just writing that. So a guy and a girl have sex in the first scene, then two dudes, one might be the first dude with a boyfriend on the side or could be two completely different dudes altogether. Then a dude and a chick have sex with another dude. Or a dude and a chick have sex with another chick. Just realize there are multiple different scenes between different partners and watch the placement of the letters, two of the same beside each other means same-sex sex. Separated by the different letter means no same sex touchies.

After that, it's just an orgy.

If there are no letters... assume it's not a romance at all. Or at least that there's no sex.

So, if you were wondering and you're still here reading this... that's the official RWA take on this genre that has evolved over the past two decades. Doesn't mean the publisher knows how to categorize their books or how to code them in the blurb.
 

Clear as mud?
 

Clear as mud.
 

But you should be able to navigate the lingo now. Unless I don't know what I'm talking about... which is highly possible.


Anyway:


Peace,

Mercy

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Midsummer talking to myself post

Hi, happy 4th, if you're in the states you know that's a holiday, if you're not, it's a Tuesday. But happy day anyway.

Seems like a long time since I rambled on about nothing. This summer has gone by pretty fast. The kid just got out of school and she has one month left. It's rained a lot this summer. We had a tropical storm pound us for nearly a week. Still picking up tree debris from that. Haven't been anywhere. No vacation this year. Maybe Thanksgiving week. I'd like to take one last Disney trip, when it's not Mercy melting hot. I lived in central Florida for a year it's always melting season down there. I'd thought to register for Coastal Magic and kill two birds with one stone. But it's the week after Mardi Gras break so the kid can't miss school so there's no point in going. If Mardi Gras had been one week later. 

Speaking of conferences. I will not be at GRL again this year. If you were wondering. Not sure anyone really cares but there it is. 

So... the question that keeps coming up and I keep ignoring... when is Blindsided coming out?

The thing is... I killed a person in Blindsided. Then my mother died. I am not ready to get back to that story while I'm still dealing with the fallout from her death. I'm too raw to open that vein and bleed story right now.

When will the third Cold Country book come out? One day. Maybe. Five years from now. I don't know. After Blindsided.

So... what am I doing if I'm not writing those books?

I have a new book coming out in probably August. It's too late to plan for July. I haven't sent it to be edited yet. I haven't finished the final draft yet. I haven't started the final draft yet. I finished writing it and decided I wanted to let it sit for a while before I read it... that's right,  I haven't even read it yet. I never read a book while I'm writing the first draft. I read the last Chapter I wrote so that I know where I left off and what I was thinking at the time and I keep going. Technically, I do read the book. I just don't read it straight through until I'm ready to write the second draft, which is usually my final draft before sending to an editor.... and I finished Match Day by introducing a character in the last chapter who decided he had a story to tell so I sent Match Day to beta readers and started writing Long Way on June 15. I should be finished with that one by the 10th. And if I am that is the fastest I've ever written a book. EVER. I wrote Wicked Game for NaNoWriMo in 2010. To date that 63,000 words in 30 days is my fastest book. 

Anyway, I'm sitting just below the 50k word mark in Long Way, in a series that has no name, because it wasn't supposed to be a series. And now I have two characters from the first book talking about how they got shafted and made the bad guys and left behind and... the summer of the accidental series might have a third story with another vacation type theme... it even has a damned title... Fast Getaway. I picture a Sam and Dean motel crawl across the country with that one... After I rewrite Match Day and find out their names, because I forgot their names. 

It's all fluff. I'm just writing fluffy light sex stories with some angst but not gut wrenching angst. Because that's all I can emotionally handle right now.

I'm just trying to stay cool and pay the bills this summer. Not much going on. 

I've read six books in the past two months. Not sure I read that many books last year total. I've watched a lot of television. Went to Florida on business. Ran through the rain to do the basic shopping. Bought a kid a fidget spinner. Celebrated two birthdays. There's one left for the summer. The DH turns old. Then back to school. Then football season. Why am I waiting for football season? Don't know.

So this is me rambling. Hope you have a lovely day no matter where you are. 

I'll ramble at you later. 

Peace

Mercy

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Book Cover Reveal: Match Day

If you follow me on Facebook you already know there will be a brand new Mercy book in July. If you don't follow me on Facebook... well, now you know.

I started writing Match Day last year. I stopped writing Match Day at fifteen thousand words because there were so many books coming out that were just like it in trope.

I called it my accidental honeymoon book. One man gets jilted at the altar but has nonrefundable tickets to use.  Best friend goes on honeymoon with him. They spend the cruise figuring out they have feelings for each other... yeah... that trope. 

Is that really a trope in gay romance? Has gay romance been around long enough for that to be a trope... does it matter... it's a trope.

I wanted to write something light and fluffy then. I stopped writing because there were way too many dudes in tuxes on a beach covers. I didn't want to jump on that bandwagon that I didn't know was a bandwagon until the wagon had left the bandroom.

So I stopped writing it and moved on to other things. I finished Last Man Standing and sort of fell apart after that.

I still wanted to write something light and fluffy and I found this fifteen thousand word file in my abandoned projects file. I still remembered the plot I'd half formed for the story.

I pulled it out, and a month later that fifteen thousand is now over sixty thousand words.

And it's spawned a sequel that is almost twenty thousand words as of last night.

So Match Day spawned Long Way and I'm hoping to pull Long Way in at around the same word count. It's a spin-off sequel with new MCs because there's a character in the end of Match Day that told me he had a story too.

Besides the jilted groom goes on honeymoon with best friend, what is Match Day about?

Well, brand new doctor, Zack Sorensen is about to start his residency. Which is where the title comes from. He plans to get married, get the house, get the family started and all that before he does... except his fiancee doesn't show up. 

Best friend Brian O'Daly is left with her cruise tickets when Zack leaves. He decides to surprise his friend and meets him at the ship.

They drink a lot. They share a bed. They go island hopping. 

They have sex.

There's a couple of twists.

It's cute and fluffy dammit. CUTE AND FLUFFY... said while wielding a chain saw over my head. AHAHAHAHA! 

And it's coming in late July. Or as soon as I get it rewritten and edited.

I can't talk about Long Way yet. It would spoil Match Day. They are related. Really related. really really related related.

But here's the gorgeous cover the gorgeous and talented Jay Aheer did for me.... I asked for a cover that looked like a surf t-shirt. I got exactly what I wanted. It's gorgeous and it fits the story and I might do a whole series of accidental vacation stories just because I need cute and fluffy in my life right now.