SEPTEMBER

SEPTEMBER

Celebrating LGBTQ+ Authors

09/12 E.J. Russell

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Life of a Freelance Copywriter by Kristin Wallace


While many may know me as an author, I also have a “day job” as an advertising copywriter. That means I come up with the words for marketing materials, from TV commercials and radio spots to print ads, and brochures. I also do a lot of social media and blog writing. 

Right now I’m working as a freelance copywriter so that means “I” am the boss! Before my current role, I worked at an ad agency for 10 years.  

My job requires me to do a lot of research so I can develop ad copy and blogs. I’ve learned so much about different subjects. When I was at the ad agency we worked extensively with hospitals and health plans. As a result, I learned so much about healthcare topics. I can tell you about heart surgery procedures, heart disease, orthopedic surgery, cancer treatment, women’s health, diabetes, rehabilitation techniques, and on and on. 

As a freelancer, the subjects I write about are a lot more varied. I work with a company that produces blogs and web pages for car dealerships. I have learned a lot about different models and car systems/features. With some of my clients, I’m assigned a blog topic. With others, I’m able to choose from a list of available topics. In a single day, I can go from writing about the best fishing spots near Branson, MO to the gas mileage of a Jeep Wrangler. Look at these topics…

·      Phishing schemes

·      Sensory processing issues

·      Remote learning

·      How to pick the right college

·      STEM education and STEM jobs

·      Best roof materials for hot climates

·      Best wheelchairs for seniors

·      Best camping sites in Missouri

·      Lead Magnets

·      How long laptop batteries last

·      Wound care

·      Backyard landscaping ideas

·      South Carolina real estate

·      Best Nashville neighborhoods

·      3D scanners

·      Training your dog to become an AKC Trick Dog

·      Dental implants

·      Different kinds of valves

·      Chevy Suburban

·      Mazda CX-5

Obviously, I’m not an expert on valves or AKC training. I don’t truly understand “scientific” medical terms (that’s truly another language). But I do know "a little bit about a lot of things". 

My job is all about learning new things and that keeps it interesting. I couldn’t do it without the Internet, though. It makes my job possible. Google is definitely my best friend. 

What’s the most interesting thing about your job?

Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of sweet contemporary and inspirational romance filled with Love, Laughter, and a Leap of Faith. She is the author of the three best selling series, Covington Falls Chronicles, Shellwater Key Tales, and Palm Cove Tales.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Hopeless? Writing In A Pandemic #amwriting

 

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. And this month's topic is hope.

Right now, hope might be a hard thing to find or hold on to. For me, the start of lockdown wasn't an issue because I'm pretty much a hermit at heart. Not so for my SO, who found the constraints on where he could go and what he could do pretty frustrating. He was lucky(?) in that his place of work remained open throughout, which at least kept him busy, but weekends became a special kind of torture for us all, and eventually that began to have a knock on effect on the whole family.

But then restrictions started easing. We could go out places. Ironically, I found this more stressful than enjoyable as people often didn't seem to think social distancing applied any more, which meant I often insisted in wearing a mask out and about (before it became compulsory in a lot of places). So now I was the one getting anxious while my SO enjoyed the regained freedom. 

This coincided with the start of the summer holidays, so I still wasn't going into work. Having spent the beginning of lockdown doing a lot of physical jobs that I'd planned to do during my summer break, I found myself bored. I'd figured trying to write in the current conditions was a fail from the get go. Imagine my surprise to discover I actually felt like writing again after a super long break. Seems boredom is a big writing trigger for me. And while two of the three pieces I set myself to work on were started many years ago (seven in one case!), both had storylines that some might very well see as dark and hopeless, perfectly fitting the pandemic. Maybe that's why they called to me at this time.

Whatever the cause, the depressing stories still gave me some personal hope. My long period of burnout and lack of inspiration had apparently come to an end at long last. And now I have hope for my future works (and two set publication dates!). Maybe it's not so hopeless after all...


How could a moment's anger destroy so much happiness?
It is a question that will haunt him. When an old enemy comes to Kasha-Asor to kidnap their daughter, armed with a weapon that could end everything, Keir is forced to leave an injured Quin on Lyagnius. But his quest for a cure and their missing daughter will come at a terrible cost.

Book #2.5 of the Redemption series.
Trigger warning: the loss of a child. Releasing 21st March 2021

Solstice on Vintro

A Science Fiction Mystery novella.

    Part of the upcoming Star-Crossed Souls collection.

Vintro. The planet that had stolen all her dreams.

 

Melandria Solei has always dreamed of commanding a starship and exploring the universe. When her own dark-eyed older lover steals the position she's worked for, she never expects to go chasing after him in a stolen ship to a world colder than revenge...

Releasing 21st December 2020





Wednesday, September 16, 2020

I had the best day !

 
After six weeks back in Stage 4 lockdown here (Melbourne, Australia) there is a glimmer of light (and hope) at the end of the tunnel. Restriction now allows those who live on their own to hae a 'bubble friend' - one person who is allowed to visit - and today I had my first visit with my BFF in three months!

For the last six weeks we've had a restriction of 5km as the furtherest we can travel from home (and only travel for essentials like food shopping, pharmacy, medical reasons) so to be able to take the nearly hour-long drive to visit her was a real excitement, especially as the drive is just beautiful. She does live in Melbourne too, but the trip to get there skirts around outside of our fabulous city and takes me through some beautiful scenery. It just made my heart sing to be take in blue sky and greenery. 

My BFF is also a romance writer, so there was plenty of writing talk about our current WIPS and alllll the story ideas we have. Our friendshp grew from meeting at my local romance group (shout out to the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild) so have something that is so important in our lives as a common interest with your bestie is such a blessing.

I've been super lucky in that (unlike for so many others) this pandemic, thankfully, hasn't changed too much in my life. Having retired from working 9-5, I'm not at risk of losing a job, and haven't had to supervise remote learning for kids. While we can't visit our kids or go to movies or go out to dinner, that's not the end of the world, and it's not for ever. 

It's a worrying time world-wide but hopefully we're starting to come out the other end - at least here in Australia. Writing every day (and reading) certainly offers escape into a world where such major issues don't exist. Having daily online contact with my writing tribe gives us all a a boost of friendship and support. My local romance group hasn't had a face-to-face meeting (usually monthly) and the anuual Romance Writers of Australia conference was cancelled (but held online) but I think most of us are sooooo grateful for the technology of Zoom! 

Having my excusion today, in the glorious Melbourne spring sunshine, was such a welcome thing after weeks of isolation and hopefully just the start of things returning to (probably a new) normal.

I hope everyone out there is staying safe and sane - and reading lots of romance!

Find all Andra's books on her Amazon page.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Romance…the Genre of Hope by Delsora Lowe

Who knew back in late 2019, when RTG drafted blog themes for each month, that September 2020 would most need this theme of HOPE. Every January, I go through the monthly themes for the new year and jot down notes on what I might discuss in my blog.

My note for September 2020 was:

Why writing romance is my contribution to the world of hope in a world gone crazy!

Who knew the world would get substantially crazier than it was when I drafted my theme in late 2019?!?

As I write this draft in August, there are so many things going on in our world. Still the devastation from the pandemic, all over the world, but truly out-of-control in the United States of America. We have warming climate and oceans, that have already birthed a tropical storm that wreaked havoc as far north as Maine and into Canada. And as I write this, California is in flames, Iowa just had another devastating storm, and it is not yet fall. Businesses, schools, public services, and governments are all in trouble, and all that trickles down to each of us, just trying to manage the day-to-day. And today I edit, and will note it was 101 in Denver, CO over the weekend and today it is 32 and snowing. Craziness.

Color and Flowers Give Me HOPE!

Now that I have totally depressed you, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

My brain is pretty much mush at this point. And although I LOVE writing, especially romance, it has been a gigantic struggle to put optimistic words on a page. But this is my job. And as I said, I love this job. I know that when people read romance, whether my book or others, they can escape for a bit. And, they know, at the end, there will be a happily-ever-after.

I have read a TON of books since January. Okay, I read a ton anyway, but this year I believe I have read at least a ton and a half, perhaps, two tons.

I admit, the genres I lean toward are the ones with a fairy tale quality. By that I don’t mean magical (although those stories are fun to read,) but ones that uplift my spirit and bring me hope. I do tend to steer away from books, even when I know there will be a happy ending, that might have some heavy topics, or villains that might be too true to real life. But that is just me.

Caveat: I have many author friends who do write thrillers and stories with more serious tones, and I do read those books, because I believe in supporting my friends. Right now, many of those books are on my Kindle. And, they will be read, but some might not be read right now.

The field of romance is so wonderful because of the many genres, from thriller, medical, sci-fi, historical, rom-com, western, sweet, inspirational, hot, and on-and-on. The characters also run the gamut of representing people from every walk of life, every color and religion and sexual persuasion, and those from magical, fantastical, made-up worlds, and… Again, the variety of romances go on and on.

My advice to you, when things get tough, and hope seems hard to come by, find a book and get lost in the fiction of your choice—especially ones that are uplifting.

A new release in production. I hope to release this Rhode Island steamy novella in late fall.

And I will make a promise to get back to crafting those uplifting stories that I love to write. Because I think in some small way, what I do, and what all romance writers do, is offer HOPE.

WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?

A new fall cover, for my very first book and book one of the Starlight Grille series.

 ~ cottages to cabins ~ keep the home fires burning ~


Delsora Lowe writes small town sweet romances and contemporary westerns from the mountains of Colorado to the shores of Maine.

Author of the Starlight Grille series, Serenity Harbor Maine novellas, and the Cowboys of Mineral Springs series, Lowe has also authored short romances for Woman’s World magazine. Her new novella, The Love Left Behind, will release in late fall.

Social Media Links:
Author website
: www.delsoralowe.com
Author FaceBook page:
fb.me/delsoraloweauthor
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Delsora-Lowe/e/B01M61OM39/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Books2Read Author page:
https://www.books2read.com/ap/8GWm98/Delsora-Lowe
BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/delsora-lowe-93c6987f-129d-483d-9f5a-abe603876518
Goodreads Author Page:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16045986.Delsora_Lowe

Clip Art: 
Butterfly HOPE: https://www.kindpng.com/imgv/hbRxRxo_fantastic-hope-clipart-butterfly-clip-art-at-clker/#gal_fantastic-hope-clipart-butterfly-clip-art-at-clker-hope-clipart-hd-png_hbRxRxo_4104920.png 
Romance Hand Holding Heart: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1623683 
Love Heart: http://clipart-library.com/hope-heart-cliparts.html

 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Once Upon a Time!

 




By Marcia King-Gamble





www.lovemarcia.com

When you think of nursery rhymes, you think of doting mothers putting their cherished kids to bed while reciting their favorite nursery rhymes. And what better way for mom and kids to bond than to repeat these catchy rhymes together.


 Nursery rhymes were what my parents, and children of my generation grew up with. These rhythmic rhymes were passed down from one generation to another and still exist today.  We smile when we hear them, and we test our memories to see if we can still recite them. 

They make us think of better days. But so often these rhymes aren’t the catchy, lighthearted words that on the surface they appear to be.  There’s so much history behind them. Not all of it good. Many are political commentary and some are dark with warning.




This month’s blog is supposed to be about hope. So, what am I hoping?  I am hoping that we can still look back on these rhymes fondly, as they transport us to a time when we felt safe, happy and secure. How ironic, since they aren’t exactly what they appear to be. Let me explain.



Take for example, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep (1731.) It’s said to be about the tax placed on wool in 1275 and goes something like this.

Baa, baa, black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir
Three bags full

One for the master
And one for the dame
One for the little boy
Who lives down the lane

Supposedly, the word black and master are meant to be racial in nature. In fact, in the latter part of the 20th century some schools banned the rhyme. Some even switched out the word black for something considered to be less offensive.



Goosey Goosey Gander (1784)

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs,
And in my lady's chamber.
There I met an old man,
Who wouldn't say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg,
And threw him down the stairs.

This is actually said to be a rhyme based on the religious persecution of the day. Catholic priests were not allowed to say their Latin-based prayers, even in the privacy of their own homes. Imagine having to hide to pray?

 



Then there’s Mary, Mary, quite Contrary (1744) which went something like this:

 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row

Allegedly, this has nothing to do with gardening  and more to do with what was going on in the time period 1553-1558. This was the time when Queen Mary (Bloody Mary) reigned.  Queen Mary, a devout Catholic, had protestants executed. Silver bells and cockleshells are the torture devices used.



Then there is Ring Around the Rosie (1881)




Ring-a-ring-a-roses,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down.


This rhyme supposedly refers to the 1665 Great Plague of London. The Rosie refers to the rash covering the afflicted, and the posies are the attempt to cover up the stench as a  result.   Since 15% of the population died,  ashes are self-explanatory.



We wind down with Old Mother Hubbard. 

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard, to fetch her poor dog a bone. But when she got there the cupboard was bare And so, the poor dog had none.

The story goes that this is a mockery of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who refused to grant King Henry VIII an annulment so he could marry Anne Boleyn. This supposedly later led to the Cardinals political downfall.



All this to say, that despite the politics of the day, plagues that took lives, and some of the worst atrocities committed, (sound familiar?) hope springs eternal and  humankind still exists. We are a resilient group and we will soon put 2020 and the lessons learned behind us.

Like Richard Cromwell, who lasted only a short time as a monarch, it is countdown to change time. Hickory, Dickory, Dock is supposed to be about him. 



Hickory, Dickory, Dock is a rhyme allegedly invented to help kids tell time but really is symbolic of a countdown to change, and meant to indicate better days lie ahead.

Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory, dock

To sum up, hope keeps us alive and functioning. Without it, we wither up, die, and become bitter people. And who wants to be around a downer? Not me.




 About Marcia King-Gamble

Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This former travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, caring for her animal family, and keeping sane, well not too sane.

Visit Marcia at www.lovemarcia.com or “friend” her on Facebook: http://bit.ly/1MlnrIS

Be sure to join her mailing list.

Marcia's latest releases are on Amazon.



Marcia King-Gamble
www.lovemarcia.com

Instagram * Amazon * Website * Facebook * Twitter

 



Saturday, September 12, 2020

Is That a Trick Question? by EJ Russel

Thank you, Genre-istas for inviting me back to Romancing the Genres today. The last time I was here (April 2016), I had published two books (one M/M and one M/F), with the release of my third (also M/M) looming the following month.

Now, if we don’t double-count re-releases or include omnibus editions, I’ve got twenty-five published titles under my belt. And you know what? That first M/F book remains the only M/F romance in my entire backlist. My primary couples (with one exception in a currently out of print novella) are cis men, although their sexual orientations run the gamut from pansexual through asexual.

https://ejr.pub/duking-it-out-amz
When Judith suggested “why I write M/M romance” as a potential topic, my knee-jerk answer was “because that’s what was contracted.” Beginning with my third book, I wrote for a publisher that specialized in queer fiction, and for another that only published M/M romance.

But that’s not the only reason. 

I came of age smack in the middle of the second wave of modern feminism--the first issue of Ms. magazine was published two years before I graduated from high school. I’m an introvert who had always been a high achiever in school (sneeringly referred to as “a brain”), and as I hit puberty and entered the scary world of non-platonic relationships, I began to get seriously irritated by the way boys were defined by their success and accomplishments while girls were defined by their looks or their domestic function.

It wasn’t fair, dammit.

Although this implicit gender bias isn’t as pronounced as it was back then—barely a decade past the 50s—it’s still with us today, and any female character you put on the page has an automatic disadvantage because of it. At this stage in our societal evolution, that power imbalance cannot be overcome. It’s baked into all our systems, reinforced by tradition, the media, politics, and interpersonal baggage. When I first began writing romance, I struggled with this dichotomy. I mean, a kick-ass heroine can only kick ass so far—because a hero who allows his ass to be so kicked apparently isn’t “heroic.”

On the other hand, two male characters, while they might have other personal and relationship issues to confront, at least start out on a level playing field with regard to gender expectations. Their relative social power, as a function of their genital configuration at birth, is the same. I found that writing about two men falling in love, besides being fun, was much better for my blood pressure!
https://ejr.pub/silent-sin-amz

But that’s not the only reason either.

My best friend in high school was gay. He came out to me in 1975—and mind you, consensual intercourse between men was still a felony in California at that time, so I was constantly concerned for his safety and well-being. I’ve had countless queer friends over the years. My twin sons are both gay. All of them—not just my family or personal acquaintances, but the whole glittering spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientation in the LGBTQIA+ community—deserve stories that are just as happy, just as funny, just as charming, ridiculous, heart-warming, uplifting, and romantic-AF as any cis heterosexual couple. It’s only fair, dammit.

In my books, everybody is out. LGBTQ+ relationships are first-class relationships like any other—and characters who don’t subscribe to that view are quite obviously Wrong with a capital W. 

I write romantic comedy—both contemporary and paranormal. I write supernatural romantic suspense. I write historical romance. But as far as the question about why I write M/M romance? Yes, I want to write it--I love writing it as much as I love reading it. It makes me happy to tell stories about LGBTQ+ folks finding their soul mates. But when it comes right down to it, the real question is…

Why not?

Multi-Rainbow Award winner E.J. Russell—grace, mother of three, recovering actor—holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business intelligence consultant (as one does). She’s recently abandoned data wrangling, however, and spends her days wrestling words.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Find E.J. here:

Facebook group (Reality Optional): https://www.facebook.com/groups/reality.optional

E.J.’s latest release is a tale of the Tokyo Olympics that-might-have-been.
It’ll take more than medals to mend their relationship.
https://ejr.pub/thomas-flair-amz
Diabetic gymnast and team alternate Sol Ashvili had one thing on his agenda when the 2016 Rio Olympics wrapped up—confess to his teammate and best friend Tony Thomas that he’d been in love with him for years. But Tony took a major deduction in Sol’s heart when he jetted out of Rio and turned his back on an almost-finished college degree, international gymnastics meets… and Sol. The first two Sol could forgive—barely. The last? Not a chance.
Tony’s crowd-pleasing, no-holds-barred, high-octane gymnastics style stole its nickname from a legendary gymnastics move—the Thomas Flair. After the 2016 Games, he vaulted into a career as an internet celebrity, specializing in extreme sports and risky stunts. When Tony decides to battle his way into competition shape to earn a spot on the 2020 Olympic team, he has to survive the most extreme risk of all: facing Sol again.

For the sake of the team and the reputation of US men’s gymnastics, Sol and Tony must leave the past behind and get a grip on working together. And as the Games draw closer, they realize that being more than teammates might be the only way they can truly fly high and stick the landing.
The Thomas Flair is available at Amazon on Kindle Unlimited.



Friday, September 11, 2020

Grateful!


By Diana McCollum

 

I’m Diana McCollum, a writer and the author of The Witch with the Trident Tattoo, a contemporary paranormal book about a contemporary sea witch and the coastal coven she belongs too. She is as much at home on land as in the sea. I’ve always been interested in myths, legends and science, and try to incorporate these subjects into my writing. 

 

During this time of isolation I have found many things to be grateful for. I thought I would share some happy and joyful things I’ve discovered.

 

1)    I go for a walk around the block every morning. Where we live the lots are quite large. Ours is an acre, most are between ½ acre and 5 acres. Most of the folks work in Central OR. Since the pandemic many have been forced to stay home or work from home or work part time. Because of these circumstances I have been able to meet many of my neighbors that I had not met before. Gone are the paid landscapers. Neighbors are out weeding, planting or mowing their yards. I wave and we chat from a distance. When I sit outside to read I can hear kids playing outside, which is a joy. Usually they are in school or at a sitter’s house. It feels like a neighborhood! 

2)    On my walk I pass out extra produce my husband has grown. The neighbors are delighted and it makes me feel good.

3)    My sister Sarah, Judith and I have a standing weekly Zoom meeting. We talk about everything. I see their smiling faces and it makes my whole week better! We laugh a lot. I’ve gotten to know Judith better and consider her my sister of my heart. They have given me so much. Love, support and laughter.

4)    I’ve been forced to find things to do. I’ve rekindled a love for sewing and working on crafts.

5)    Weekly calls to my children who live far away has brought me much joy. To hear how they and the grandkids are doing and keeping up on the goings on in their lives makes me happy. Those shared moments are so precious.

6)    And I am grateful for all my online friends. Without my writing loops and this blog I’d be sorely lacking in the beauty of friendship. For even though I haven’t met many of you in person I feel as if I know you.

 

What have you found to be grateful for during this pandemic?