LOL still not writing, but I am publishing. And podcasting.

Hi, friends–

JFC I just have not been in the mood to write. And for writers, that might be a problem. But whatever. I’m trying to hold down a fort here with some relatives who are in higher-risk groups for COVID-19, so I’m making a lot of decisions about how we get supplies and what they can or can’t do. They’re not always happy about it, but then, nobody is truly happy right now, so we’re all just sucking it up and being responsible toward each other and our larger communities.

I have, however, been doing a bunch of editing and prepping as the publishing house I co-own is putting out a couple of things in the next couple of months. Check out the Dirt Road Books Facebook page or Twitter account (@DirtRoadBooks) for deets.

I’ve also been able to do some small projects around the house like painting and doing some grounds cleaning and other stuff of that nature. I’m still podcasting biweekly with author and colleague Lise MacTague — we do the Lez Geek Out! podcast, which deals with queer and feminist rep in various media. We just posted episode #76, which is about representation and gender in media, and we had awesome queer book reviewer Tara Scott with us to talk about things gender-related like gender expression, gender presentation, gender vs. sex, butch and femme, gender queer, gender nonconforming…you get the point.

You can check that out HERE on Apple podcasts (but we’re on a bunch of other platforms you can think of, too). If you dig it, please like and subscribe so others can find us, too. 😀

And you can find Lez Geek Out! on our website at lezgeekoutcasts.com and on Twitter (@LGOpodcast).

A couple of reminders. May is Mental Health Awareness Month (super important, but maybe now more than ever). Here are some links for resources:
Mental Health America
Mental Health America resources that are COVID-19 specific
National Alliance on Mental Health
NAMI’s LGBTQ resources
Human Rights Campaign and LGBTQ people (HRC partners with Mental Health America)
National Council for Behavioral Health
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
15 mental health podcasts for people of color
Project LETS, resources for people of color

It’s okay to feel like poo. It’s okay to not be okay and to talk about it.

Take care of yourselves and others as you can, and if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask.

Still not writing, but I’m damn sure talking about it

Hi, friends! My colleague and friend Lise MacTague (if you haven’t read her stuff, omg, DO SO NOW and hit the link to check out her website) and I do the Lez Geek Out! podcast, and we just dropped episode 75, in which we talk about the joys and pitfalls of writing book series.

You can find Lez Geek Out! on all the major podcast platforms if you’re interested or you can go to our website to check out previous episodes, which involves talking about fangirl stuff, books and authors we love, movies we watch, and TV shows and comics we’re checking out. We’re all about queer and feminist rep.

Here’s the link to our website:

RIGHT HERE!

Here’s the direct link to episode 75 on iTunes: HERE

So if you’d like to hang out with us this week as we chat about our experience writing series. please do!

And you can find us on Twitter: @LGOPodcast. Let us know if there’s something queer/feminist rep you’re into and maybe we’ll get into it on one of our episodes!

Take care, everyone. Stay safe.

I’m not f*cking writing; it’s an apocalypse

Hi, friends–

I really, really hope you’re all doing well and staying safe and I hope that you’re able to find the resources you need to get through this giant bucket of fuck that has beset us.

I’ve been talking to my writer friends and some are throwing themselves into their next writing projects while others just can’t and they’re feeling really freaked out about not writing to which I say:

It’s all right.

These are fucked-up times, and we all have to figure out what works for us to get through. Some of us are struggling with anxiety and depression. Some with hunger. Some are struggling with no jobs. Some are struggling because they’re trying to balance what work they have with suddenly homeschooling kids in the house. And some are dealing with ill family members (blood-related or not) or dealing with illness themselves or, goddess forbid, dealing with a loss as a result of this pandemic.

I’m trying to keep a household with a couple of older relatives even-keel; we’re passing depression and anxiety around like a soccer ball but I’m working on getting household projects assigned practically every day so we all have things to do that maybe have needed to be done in the past.

All these little podunk projects that we laughed off in the past now have profound meaning because they engage us and keep us routinized and no matter how small the task or project, I feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s done. It’s grounding, in seriously ungrounded times.

So don’t feel guilty if you’re not finding the time or the drive to write. It’s okay to freak out and try to deal with things in other ways (please make those healthy things). These are incredibly difficult times, and we’re all trying to figure out how to help ourselves and help others when a lot of us are confined to our households.

So here are a few things I’ve been doing to deal with things while I’m not fucking writing:

  • I’ve gotten a routine going. I’m fortunate in that I still have a day job and though it’s remote, now, I keep regular hours at it and treat it like going to an office. After I’m done for the day, I do evening stuff — make dinner, clean up a bit, then do emails for my writing and publishing stuff (not actual writing) and check in with friends and family.
  • On weekends, I do bunches of little projects. I’ve been painting some trim in my house, for example, and doing some clean-up of the grounds (weather permitting).
  • I’m trying to be kind to myself. So you try to be kind to yourself, too, no matter what form that might take. If you have a few hours and you don’t want to do anything except binge something on TV and you have that luxury, do it. I recommend you watch stuff that isn’t going to increase your anxiety or depression, though. If you can grab a few minutes outside by yourself or with others in your household to play a quick game of catch or something as you’re able, do it. Something that makes you feel good and connected to yourself and maybe others might help alleviate some of the internal turmoil you may be feeling, at least for a little while.
  • If you’re not dealing with as much anxiety and depression as others in your life, check in with those folks and see if they need you to do a regular check-in at the same time every day to help them establish a new routine. It might help you, too, if that becomes part of YOUR routine.
  • Try to do something physical every day. Even if it’s some kind of jerry-rigged home workout using stuff around your house and your body weight. 15-20 mins a day with a set physical routine can do wonders for your state of mind (I also like to dance around my house with earbuds in…SILENT DANCE PARTY!).
  • Make goofy videos or photos to share with your friends and family. And hell, if you want to, post them on social media. Or do like some people and re-create famous artworks with whatever you’ve got.

Point being, shit is real right now, and if you can’t bring yourself to write — if you’re in survival mode however that looks for you — that’s okay. Really. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and help how you can.

Take care, all. And if Easter is your thing, I hope it’s safe and happy.

Blog Tour with KD Williamson! “One Reason”

HAI, FRENZ! Welcome to this here whistlestop on the KD Williamson blog tour! We’re celebrating the release of her latest F/F romance, Big Girl Pill, and that involves giveaways and blogs and happy fun times! WOOOOO! See below for the schedule and for the giveaway deets!

SYNOPSIS:

Maya Davis is done hiding. It’s left her empty and out of touch with her family. Now she’s a young woman on a mission: getting rid of residual feelings for her former best friend from college. Her plan is to put herself through a wringer by being in Nina’s upcoming wedding and burning away whatever emotions are left, so she can start anew. Her plan, however, has big holes, and everything she’s been feeling rushes through and leaves her thinking that this was a bad idea.

Nina Sterling is a work in progress, torn between being two very different things—the person others expect her to be and who she wants to become. For the past couple of years, it’s been easier to give in toher demanding, steamroller of a mother and her pleasant but controlling fiancé, but with Maya’s return for a lengthy stay in town, and encouragement from Nina’s hilarious cousin, seeds of rebellion are sown.

As Maya and Nina try to patch up the past and get closer, old sparks rekindle, and as they both grow into who they are meant to be, those sparks might just become a fire.

And now, I’ll leave it to KD. Thanks for joining us. 🙂

One Reason

I don’t write about black people simply because I’m black. That’s only one reason. Having a degree in literature has made me privy to some incredible books and epic poems, but I also got the chance to see a huge selection of harmful tropes and stereotypes about women and about people of color. I told myself that if I ever got to really write I’d do my best to educate and illuminate that POC, especially, are not “other”. Our experiences are similar. Our lives are similar, and I think I really got to showcase that in my latest novel, Big Girl Pill.

Family as a concept has a huge role in this book. As one family comes together, the other disintegrates. I delve into the importance of loyalty, communication, empathy and caring, which are things most of us strive for in family life. Just because Maya’s family is black and non-traditional doesn’t make that any different. They are flawed, but they don’t have to be broken. They laugh. They try to be there for each other and they try to be honest.

Sound familiar? Nothing “other” and unrelatable about that.

On the flip side is Nina Sterling’s experience, which is completely opposite from Maya’s. Nina doesn’t find strength in that bond. Instead, there’s toxicity. It takes her a while to really see that, but she’s young. Give her a break, yes? Still, she forges ahead and unconsciously forms something completely new for herself, which does indeed lift her up. In other words, they both pretty much strive for the same thing as they move closer toward each other. I mean, it is a romance after all.

So, what I’m trying to say is take away our skin suits and we’re pretty much the same and want the same things. Some may go after it differently, but that’s an individual thing, not a race thing.

How about we just read romance and enjoy?

KD Williamson is a Southerner and a former nomad, taking up residence in the Mid-West, east coast, and New Orleans over the years. She was a Hurricane Katrina survivor displaced to the mountains of North Carolina but has since found her way back to Louisiana where she lives with her wife and the most horribly spoiled pets in history.

She enjoys all things geek from video games to super heroes. KD is a veteran in the mental health field where she works with children and their families. She discovered writing as a teenager with the help of her English teacher, whom she had a huge crush on. With her teacher’s help, KD wrote her first short story but afterward had a hard time finding inspiration. Years later, writing fanfic became her gateway into lesbian fiction.


Indeed! How about a giveaway? Hit the link to get all signed up.

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY LINK OMG

AND!
To buy Big Girl Pill:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Find KD:
Website
Twitter (@Rizzleslovr72)
Facebook
Instagram
Goodreads Profile

KD Williamson blog tour schedule:

1/21 Dirt Road Books
1/22 KD Williamson
1/23 Cheyenne Blue
1/24 RG Emanuelle

1/27 Andi Marquette
1/28 Sacchi Green
1/29 Women and Words
1/30 Dirt Road Books

Cookin’ for charity with Dirt Road Books!

Hi, Friends —

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up on a cool charity project my fellow founder and colleague at Dirt Road Books put together.

It’s a small book of recipes based on the DRB first year’s newsletter, which included a new recipe every month. My colleague, author and chef R.G. Emanuelle, is in fact a trained chef and she developed several recipes for the newsletter based on seasonal events but also short stories by fellow DRB authors.

So you’ll get a couple of sexy drinkie recipes, a few main dishes, and some sides. There’s a rib recipe and a pickle recipe, for example, and for those of you who are BBQ aficionados, you know BBQ and pickles ARE A THING.

So here’s the thing. Every year, DRB tries to put a project together in time for the holidays that benefits a charity. A Year in the Kitchen with R.G. Emanuelle is this year’s project, and ALL PROCEEDS benefit the Oregon Food Bank. It’s $3.99 to pick up your ecopy, and hot damn, you’re doing awesome-ness in addition to a little bit of cooking.

A Year in the Kitchen with R.G. Emanuelle is a collection of recipes from the first year of newsletters fromDirt Road Books. It offers twelve delectable dishes, from hearty family fare to party take-alongs and fabulous cocktails. Some are seasonal fare while others are inspired by stories written by DRB authors. DRB is proud to donate all proceeds to Oregon Food Bank, which has partnered with agencies that provide spaces that make it easy for the LGBTQ community to access food.

Find it on Kindle, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and other platforms.

Not only will you get some cool original recipes, but you’re helping a great charity out. Thanks and happy Monday!

BLOG TOUR! Author Louisa Kelley and a giveaway!

HI, frenz! So…Dirt Road Books just released author Louisa Kelley’s first book in the Shift series, Fianna the Gold, and I am hosting today’s stop on the Fianna tour!

It’s a F/F dragon shifter contemporary fantasy story set in the Pacific Northwest. Adventure! Romance! Suspense! Intrigue!

And did I mention DRAGONS?

And dragon SHIFTERS?

YEAH! ALL OF THAT! Below, find all kinds of cool Fianna stuff, including an excerpt AND the chance to win books!

So come on! Spend some time with Fianna!
Continue reading

Get your Boots and Hat! Audiobook now available! AND GIVEAWAY OMG

HAI, FRENZ!!! LOOK AT WHAT AUDIBLE DID WITH SOME BOOTS AND A HAT!

Women and Words

Hi, friends!

So, I’ve had this thing going on for the past few months. I’ve kept it under my hat (see what I did there) because I’ve been nervous about it and I’m kinda superstitious about some things, so I keep ’em under wraps until I feel like it’s time to talk about them.

It’s time.

I’ve been working with Audible to make two of my books available in audiobook.

And Audible just notified me that my novella, From the Boots Up and the sequel novel, From the Hat Down, are now available AS AN AUDIOBOOK! WOOO!

I AM SO STOKED! I totes did a happy dance (and I’ll probably do a few more) and now, I’m passing this info on to you.

They’re a twofer, y’all. That means you buy it and you get both. Or, if you’re an Audible subscriber, you’re gonna get both of these…

View original post 732 more words

5 basic tips for approaching a publisher

Hi, friends!

I thought I’d reprise some basic tips for approaching a publisher (since I am one).

I’ve talked a bit about this in the past, most recently, these 5 tips for finding a publisher that’s right for you. But let’s get down to some essentials.

So let’s say you’re interested in publishing a manuscript you’re working on and you decide to approach a house. Here are some tips to help you do that correctly.

1. Make sure your manuscript is finished. This may seem obvious, but it’s not to some writers, especially those who are just starting out. I get it. You’re working on a novel and you’re really excited about it and you want to get it published. BUT…

There’s an old saying: “Don’t put the cart before the horse.” What that means is, don’t do things in the wrong order because it’ll cost you time and effort at the very least.

Most publishers do not want to see a partially-written manuscript. Publishers don’t grant contracts on the basis of a chapter or two (unless you’re a long-established author). They may read the first few chapters, but they will only do that if the manuscript is complete and the query letter and synopsis piqued their interest and if the manuscript fits their lists.

So don’t send an email to a publisher saying you’re working on a manuscript and you have X words done. They don’t care. They want the COMPLETED project, not 10,000 words of a draft.

2. Do not ask a publisher to assess the first few chapters of your unfinished manuscript to “see if you’re on the right track.”

Time is money, people. You want someone to assess your work? That’s what editors do, and they’re professional and offering a service. So pay them. Or get some fab beta readers who are willing to work with you.

This scenario — asking me as a potential publisher to assess part of an unfinished manuscript — has happened to me more than a few times in the past and just so you know, it’ll get you tossed out the airlock at almost every house you try this. I’m an exception, because I’ll explain to you that this is not how you go about approaching a potential publisher and I’ll probably provide you some links to resources that tell you how to effectively approach a publisher with a submission. Then I’ll toss you out the airlock, but gently.

Unless you’re a dick in your approach. In which case, no resources for you. Just a “we do not consider unfinished manuscripts. If you’re looking for guidance, we recommend you consult with beta readers or hire a developmental editor,” and then we put your name in the “hell, no” forever file.

It is not a publisher’s job to assess your work or help you write your manuscript so they can publish it. That’s a developmental editor’s job, and you should hire one if you’re having trouble writing a manuscript. Or hire a writing coach. Or chat with your beta readers. Don’t have any? Get some. It’ll save you getting flung out a publishing airlock and/or being put in a “hell, no” file.

3. Put a professional query packet together so it’s ready to go. This includes your FINISHED manuscript; a query letter (no more than 2-3 paragraphs that includes your background, bio, and any other things you’ve written); brief synopsis (no more than about 250-300 words). And have a longer synopsis ready to go in case a publishing house requests one.

The key here is to look professional. You want a publisher to take you seriously? Then put together some serious materials that help a publisher get a sense of who you are and what your writing approach might be. Don’t forget to have a website for your writer self ready to go to include in your contact materials.

Caitlin Berve has some great info on query packets at Ignited Ink. You should go see.

4. Make sure you read the submissions guidelines THOROUGHLY and prepare your query packet and manuscript accordingly. If you don’t do that, a publisher will wonder what other instructions you ignore. Every publisher is different, so make sure you know what each one is looking for.

And with that in mind, make sure you send the right query packet to the correct publisher. This has happened to me more than a few times, too — I’ve gotten query letters addressed to someone at a totally different house.

Details are important, friends.

5. It’s okay to ask if you’re not sure about something in a publisher’s submissions requirements. It’s okay to send a quick email to ask for clarification. Be polite and get to the point immediately in that email. Don’t go on about the project you’re working on or your super-sexy query packet. Just ask your question, say please and thank you, and go about your business. And if the publisher doesn’t respond to that one little email, well…maybe you’ll want to approach other houses instead.

All right. Just remember, publishing is a business. Think of approaching them as if you were getting ready for a job interview. You want all your materials ready to go, and you want to present yourself as a fellow professional. Don’t give them reasons to think otherwise.

Happy writing!