Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mr. Mom

I've been playing with the idea of mpreg, men having babies. I'm not at the point where I want to describe the process. For Song of the Siren, I just gave the hint. In the next story, The Guardian's Prize, when Batair finally wins Aoki, there will be more.



Why mpreg? I don't know. I think for the merman series, it just adds more for me. It fell into place naturally, and I went with it.



Cardeno C placed a question about mpreg on Facebook this summer and the responses, all 327 comments. were varied. Some love the idea, and some don't. No surprise there. It's like reading book reviews and wondering if the readers all read the same book. They're that vast in the spectrum of their opinions.

Interested in checking it out?
https://goo.gl/QCZ3cE

[By the way, the URL for this was forever long. I used Google Shortener to fix it. It's my favorite for making those things shorter because Facebook doesn't stalk them as much.] 

Along with her question, there are mpreg groups, pages, videos and a true following.

Here are two videos that I found interesting:


Compilation of the best Mpreg Videos from Film911
https://goo.gl/ENF3Vp



Mpreg Seahorse - A young man is pregnant, not a seahorse.
https://goo.gl/LGCmwC


I found this article for those of you who've never heard of mpreg. Read through. It's interesting. This is more about the community of Mpreg than writing.

What Exactly Is Mpreg? A Male Pregnancy Enthusiast Explains

https://goo.gl/VmuqdA


I tried finding articles on writing mpreg, and the ones available are mostly forums and from writers of fanfic. But, I did find this one. It's worth checking out.

It's from Livejournal.

Workshop: "Writing MPREG" by Sasha_anu


http://superhero-muses.livejournal.com/21537.html

I think Sasha did a great job explaining what a writer needs to consider if they're interested.

As for me, I'm taking the dramatic/not so dramatic route that she refers to. I want my men to have their own children for the mermen series, and I want the emotional complications that occur with it. I want their lives uprooted because they've made the choice to bring life in the world and to have to make the decisions that accompany them. No, I'm not going through the month by month thing.
I'm more or less envisioning rounded bellies, twinges, the warmth of having a life within and later children. That works for me.



Now, it won't be easy. My mermen are going to have trouble convincing their men, especially Batair and Aoki. Aoki is half human/half dragon shifter. The idea of family does not appeal to him. Batair is a guardian, a merman whose not used to being told no. it's going to take him learning a different approach to have Aoki in his life.

In the end, though, they'll get their Happy Ever After. 

I'm still new to the writing world and am still exploring. I wonder if my small gathering of readers will be willing to explore with me. 

Love,
Deja





Saturday, September 16, 2017

Just Keep Swimming

Lately, it's been like I'm under water, trying to make it through the beginning of the school year, problems with the new changes for my class, kids' homework, writing, and life. With one kid needing reading interventions and the other threatening to add more to his already busy schedule, I'm just trying to come up for air.


But, I did find one thing to help, and that's been Grammarly. My editor suggested it, and she was right. I love it. In fact, I'll be using it before I send books to betas or the editor again. Highlights the repeats and other things I just knew I was good at but apparently wasn't.

So, now, I can see progress. 

Just signed the contract for Song of the Siren. It's a story about a merman and a broken soldier. It will be part of the Extasy Christmas anthology. Really excited about that one. The blurb? 



A broken soldier, a siren, a preacher and a song. Sounds like an intro to a bad joke, but it’s the Christmas story of how a siren’s song can heal. At a time when Christmas presents are given for the holiday, Graham and Kamau will receive the gifts they’ve dreamed of for a lifetime. Each other.

I've signed up for the Summer Shorts for 2018 with plans of helping one of Kamau's brothers to find love. The image I have in my head for that one?


This one's determined to find his mate, and he's not letting anything or anyone stop him. I can't wait to start this one, but I have to get over the new story jitters first. 

Broken Pieces is in second edits. It's the follow-up to Broken Bones. It took blood, sweat, and tears to finally get Broken Pieces ready for readers.  Grammarly was perfect. Repetitive words, grammar, and confusing sentences. Combined with the work the editor did, it's worthy now. The blurb for that one?



Remi Devereaux is a Louisiana born detective working murder cases in Louisville, Kentucky. While shopping for game-day with the guys, he spots the most amazing person he has ever seen.

Peter Romanoff is a photographer who possesses the spirit of two creatures. Two beings that are slowly tearing him apart. He needs a Supruga, a mate, to help give him balance.

The next in line to lead a powerful coven, Peter is hunted, and the people he knows and loves are being killed. It will take Remi’s love and Peter’s skills to combat the enemy after them. Can Remi be the balance Peter needs before the coven destroys them both?

Beyond that, I still have this other book that needs to be finished, Flirty and Red. They've been impatiently waiting for their story to continue. Hang on guys, I'll be there. 

Just as soon as I get my six-year-old on a regular diet of reading, convince my son that he can't be at every event at the same time, and find a way to breathe in between.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Warning: Jumbled Thoughts Ahead!

Well, I've got work to do.

I'm currently working on a Christmas story for Extasy that will be included in their anthology. I am beyond pumped about it. Yes, there's a monster involved. I've decided to focus on the siren this time.
So, there's a church, a preacher, a choir boy (no, man) and a broken soldier. And, there's a happy ever after.
I'm having trouble thinking of a name, though. My sister in law said, "Song of the Siren". I think that's a pretty good one.
We'll see how it goes.



Then there's Getting There. That was has a bit of a twist at the end. Okay, it's a brutal, vicious, gut wrenching twist that just might make you cringe. But, it's only a book. There's a happy ending there, too, so breathe. No worries.

Here's Creed and Lucas as I see them.




Thinking about breathing. I'm a teacher, and our school's moving to Mindfulness where we will be teaching our children meditation skills to help them resolve conflicts or even prevent them. I'm going to be working on five movements at home. I'm wondering if that will help with my stress level because I sure as heck could use it.


I could use some of that. There are five simple poses here to try if you're considering. These are the ones they made us do during our summer retreat this year.

https://goo.gl/tPDNPu

They said if we did these at least 21 times a day, it would add years on to our lives and make us look younger. Hey, who knows? I could use some of that, too.

Sometimes happiness means taking an extra step. Mindfulness exercises could be just the step we're needing. We'll see if it will help our students.



Oh, and the editing process has begun for Broken Pieces. That book and I have been through so much. There's vampires, wolves and a sandman there. There's also this nasty villain you'll love to hate. Need to find the pictures for that one. Hang on a bit.


 




Okay, so these are the photos that come to mind with Broken Pieces. Lots of pieces, right? We'll have to see how they fall.




Something I'm trying to improve in my writing right now? Pacing.








It's an ever going process that I hope to work out eventually. I think Getting There is solid on that. Broken Pieces? Tightening that up. Whatever the title of my siren story is? I think it will be fine, too.

I'm reading through this article for help.

https://goo.gl/Xho5Sq

I believe thinking of the story in acts as Kristen mentions could help me.

Give it a read.

I've had a few more reviews for A Place for Dreams.




Here are the links!



https://goo.gl/r5YXUR


https://goo.gl/A9Xqnz

There's one five star rating on Amazon UK right now.

https://goo.gl/meefwf

Interested after reading, here are the buy links:

Extasy Books https://goo.gl/oZm3Yk

Well, that's all for me. Until next time, people.

With love,
Deja!



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Book Blast for A Place for Dreams at Jessie G Books!

Hi!
Check out my interview and book blast for A Place for Dreams at Jessie G Books! It's absolutely beautiful and makes me smile every time I see it!

Here's the link!


http://jessiegbooks.com/book-blast-a-place-for-dreams-by-deja-black/#comment-3585






Saturday, July 15, 2017

Excerpt from A Place for Dreams

Have a glimpse of the latest book A Place for Dreams


Now Cole hurried to his car, glad he’d parked on the seventh floor rather than the second. If he parked any higher or any lower, he would have frozen to death, it was that cold. The lights stuttered in the parking garage, the only sound his own footsteps and the occasional screech of wheels from below. He had that feeling again, the one that crawled over his flesh, leaving goosebumps in their wake.

He was being watched.

He didn’t hear footsteps, any sound at all, but he felt eyes boring a hole in his back. He still felt the hints of earlier touches, traced the line where lips had run along the cord of his neck. He shivered, and not from the cold.

He already had his BMW X5 key fob in his hand, the vehicle’s immediate recognition welcoming him when he put his hand on the door and opened it quickly. His breath was chilling, the tendrils hanging in the frozen air. Cold. It had grown much colder in seconds.

Cole threw his East Dane briefcase on the passenger seat and moved to get in.

“Stop.” No, it was his imagination. It was the voice from before, the one that always called to him in his dreams. He would turn, look, but there would be nothing, no one.

He wasn’t there when Cole was twelve crying from pain he knew wasn’t his, his parents bundling him up late that night, rushing him to the hospital.

Back then, Ansu had watched from the door opening. He needed her and had stretched out his hands as he reached for her, screamed for her to make the pain go away. Ansu had only shaken her head, her regret clear in her bent shoulders and the curve of her frame.

“Stop that infernal noise, Cole Brightside,” his father growled as he maneuvered his latest luxury car at Mach speed to a place where Cole would stay for months, alone and afraid, each night more terrible than the last as he felt searing burns, sharp blades cutting his skin. The doctors, the medicine, the nightmares that came each and every night were brilliant in their vividness. Each night, his mind was in a different world.

Each night, he heard the voice, the sound of it seeping into his bones, calling for him while he slept.

Returning to the present, Cole slowed his breaths and practiced the relaxing exercises learned years ago, attempted to settle himself.

“I am here,” the voice said, but Cole refused to look. He put a hand out to close the door, the other to secure his seatbelt.

When the door failed to move, he looked up, and all attempts at control fled in the face of the man who held it.

Cole couldn’t breathe. He was here, so many years later. The years of therapy, of hiding what the doctors could never fix, and Cole knew in his soul the creature he’d seen, the keeper of the voice he heard so long ago, was outside of his car standing in the cold.

Cobalt blue eyes looked at him, traced his body from head to toe.

“I have hoped for so long, prayed for your return to me.” That voice. Cole would never forget it, the growl, the sandpaper roughness of it. Cole dropped his hand from the wheel, unable to look anywhere else but at the man currently staring at him.

“Why? How?” Was this real? When he sat before yet another therapist his parents had purchased, one who would keep the oddities of the only Brightside child a secret, he’d been convinced he was just dreaming, that these were the thoughts of an anxious child in his subconscious.

Cole shivered, his need for the stranger overwhelming him. “I don’t know you.”

“But you do, my Sunil. You have known me for centuries, and you will know me again.” The stranger moved toward him, his body throwing Cole further into the interior of his car. He had seen that face before, knew that touch, and knew how it would feel to be against his body.

“Mr. Brightside? Sir? Is there a problem here?” Mercer, the research company Cole worked for, had hired Freddy recently. Cole liked him and was grateful to see him now as the security guard peered around the car then reached for the walkie-talkie strapped to his ample hips. “Sir?”

The man looked at Cole, his blue eyes appealing to him, asking him to speak. When Cole said nothing, only shook, he stepped back. The light revealed the pale white blond hair Cole remembered but couldn’t believe shined before him outside his dreams. “I’ll leave you for now, Sunil.”

“Cole. My name is Cole.” Cole barely heard himself speak.

“You will always be Sunil to me.” Bending down, he pressed his lips against Cole’s, and Cole’s mind exploded. He saw things, people he didn’t recognize. Ice capped mountains, and not those in the French Alps where his parents often vacationed. He saw immense buildings with immaculate wooden doors carved with mythical beings and decorated in foreign script. He knew those words, knew them as if he’d read them moments ago.

When he was released, when he breathed again, he spoke. “Raksha.”

Raksha smiled. “Sunil.” When he pressed forward again, Cole leaned away.


I love this cover by Scott Carpenter!
Interested?
Check it out at the following links!
Extasy Books https://goo.gl/oZm3Yk
Amazon US https://goo.gl/DJeLbR
Amazon UK https://goo.gl/JzPdng

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Place for Dreams is available for preorder!


Raksha arrived from Nepal, along with his people, to reclaim his mate, Cole Brightside, a man afraid of a past he doesn't fully remember. Their only connection has been Cole's dreams where Raksha appears as both beast and man. Now, Raksha wants more. 

Can Cole defeat his own fears to become the man Raksha needs him to be? Can Raksha accept who Cole has become?


Can they find a place for dreams?

Only 3.99!
Releases July 7, 2017!

Extasy Books https://goo.gl/oZm3Yk


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Wrote a book? Well, that's not the only thing you're going to write!

When you write a book, you might think you're done.


This week, I had to write a blurb. Hey, I'm still new at this, and while I've "okayed" three blurbs, this is the first time I had to write my own.

So, let's do a little share here. The new book is A Place for Dreams.
Here's the cover!

Now, the blurb? It's short. I didn't look up anything to help me. I just said, "What would I want to know about a book from the blurb? What wouldn't I want to know?"

I would want to know the characters' names, a bit of their conflict. I don't want to know every last detail. Imagine you're going to see a movie. You want an idea of what the movie's going to be about, but you don't want the spoilers. It reminds me of my little guy and his request not to see the trailers because "they give away everything". 

So, I wrote mine:

A Place for Dreams

Blurb
Raksha has arrived from Nepal, along with his people, to reclaim his mate, but Cole Brightside is a young man afraid of a past he doesn’t fully remember. The two have only connected in Cole’s dreams where Raksha is both beast and man. Now, Raksha wants them together again in the real world.

Can Cole make it past his own fears to become the man Raksha needs him to be? Can Raksha accept who Cole has become?

Can they find a place for dreams? 



But, writing the blurb isn't the only thing you'll have to do. You'll also need to write a log line. I had no idea what that was, so I looked it up. Turns out it's just a few short sentences you need to hook readers for your book. I decided to use the bottom ones. 

Log Line
Can Cole make it past his own fears to become the man Raksha needs him to be? Can Raksha accept who Cole has become?

Can they find a place for dreams? 

I shared it with a few authors and a reviewer to make sure it passed muster. A word or two here or there and sold! Yes! 

But, did I get them right? Editor likes it, but editors are very busy people. Let's check out a few online suggestions:

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Blurb for Your Novel


Nice little list of do's and don'ts here by Malina Canizares along with some great advice.


Need more?

17 Tips on How To Write a Blurb That Sells


This article provides links to on-line resources that will help. 


Reading through the articles and checking with my writing friends, the blurb is solid. Yes!




And, the logline? 





10 Tips for Writing Loglines


After reading this, I'm thinking:
A businessman with a past and a being who wants to be a part of his future. Can they find a place for dreams?

Time to get some advice on that one. 




I've asked a few author friends and put a post in a GLBT writer's group on Facebook. Are you a member? Here's the group just in case you need it:


I'll also asked the promotion person for the publishing company. 

May even put it on Twitter. Couldn't hurt. 

Writing? It's not just the book. You'll need a blurb, logline, and let's not forget the dreaded synopsis. 



I'm with Smeagol. Sure, I hate the extra, but I love writing. 

Let's see what happens next.

Love, 
Deja






Tuesday, June 20, 2017

End the Story

So, I was reading through some new reviews for They Called Him Nightmare. If you haven't heard of that one, by the way, it's a short story I wrote that many people loved for reasons that I never envisioned when I penned it. Go figure. But, one thing that came to mind while reading a review was that there wasn't an epilogue.



Oh, They Called Him Nightmare? Don't know that one? Wait. Let me get the information for you. Hang on. It's around him somewhere.









Here's the picture! Cat Ford did the cover!

Tricia Kristufek is the editor! (She's magic, people. Promise!)





Here's the blurb and the buy links:

Growing up, Kai Bennu was taunted for skin dark as midnight and his otherworldly appearance. They called him Nightmare, but Alec Vasilios, a wealthy and powerful businessman, wants to call Kai his own. Kai’s past has left him with little trust in others and even more reluctance to surrender himself to Alec’s power. With both men harboring supernatural secrets, finding common ground won’t come without sacrifice. 


Amazon US:  goo.gl/V0rRqX
Dreamspinner Press: https://goo.gl/32HS1I

Okay, now that that's finished, going back to epilogues.



I've learned in this short time I've been writing to avoid certain types of reviews and to pay attention to others. Sometimes, there might be a thing or three to learn from the ones that come from reputable reviewers and ones from readers who are thorough and passionate about what they read, ones who care. I usually read reviews and celebrate a win or scan for a goal to improve. My goal now is an epilogue at the end of a short story. 

The reviews on They Called Him Nightmare have been awesome, enough to let me know that I made the right choice in helping the guys in my head tell their stories.  
Wait. I have a few of those, too. 















This one is from A Barb The Zany Old Lady Review

Since it's the most recent one, I'm just going to copy and paste it. Why did I find it? Well, I'm trying out this new thing called Queeromance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/ which will help readers get to my work. It's easy to use, pretty affordable and it just might work. Also, there are quite a few authors I actually read there. So, why not? 

But, here's the latest review:

From the 2016 Daily Dose package – A Walk on the Wild Side
This short story is my first from this author, and I was pleasantly surprised by the story. It opens with high school student Alec assessing all the others in his class for who will taste the best. A young vampire, he has the ability to put people in thrall, so they have no idea he has had sex with them and drunk their blood. But when the young man nicknamed Nightmare is around, Alec loses his ability to think straight. He’s attracted to the boy whose real name is Kai, and when he reaches out and touches him, sparks literally fly. Both recoil from the shock, but Alec wants more and Kai, wanting nothing to do with Alec, disappears shortly after the encounter.
Flash forward ten years and Alec has finally found the location where Kai has been hiding from him all this time. Excited to finally set out to meet the man he feels attracted to, he has no idea that Kai’s mother, or at least the woman he calls mother, is dying of cancer but wants nothing more than to see her boy settled before she goes so is willing to help him get his man.
There’s much more, including some very good character development, considering the brevity of the story, and there’s a surprise in store for readers who are wondering what type of being Kai might be. Let’s just say he’s the last of his kind. When the two men come together this time, they ignite in passion and finally fulfill their destiny.
I really like this story as I said at the beginning of this review. It had all the ingredients of a longer story, including a unique otherworldly perspective, and I’m looking forward to more from this author in the future.
Catt Ford is the cover artist for this series and this particular cover shows a figure in the center of a clearing lit by bright blue light and surrounded by wild animals in a darker shadowed border. It’s very appealing.
Now, there were some others I found, and one in particular stated they felt the story hadn't ended. To me, it had. It was done. But, the reviewer needed more. And, I read another with a similar thought. Again, the reader wanted more. So, I had to do it. I asked Facebook the question. 

Who feels that you must have an epilogue when you read a book or a short story? 

If you'd like to see all the responses, feel free to drop by my Facebook profile Deja Black https://www.facebook.com/deja.black.69 . There's always a flower and a little purple frog book. 













Now, I had some great responses. Won't mind if you stop by there and add an opinion or two, but these are the ones that grabbed me:

First Response
NO epilogues are poor excuse to write reasonable ending or write a series. The current trend for epilogue to be same sex marriage and adoption of child/children in house with white picket fence are trite.

Second Response
I... on the other hand...appreciate a good satisfying ending...COMPLETE with an epilogue. I like a short "revisiting " with the M/C's.

Another
Never "must" - sometimes it's a lovely touch to wrap things up, sometimes it's cute but unnecessary, like a second bit of icing on a completed cake, sometimes it feels like a cop-out, skipping over the real work of forming a relationship or dealing with the world to say "and it all worked out great" where another book or story would be better.

Last I'm Sharing
Epilogue equals resolution to me, I don't care what you call it, as long as it's a HEA.

There were a few other lovelies, but this has me thinking. Yes, I make sure that my novels have epilogues, but do I need to do that for the short stories, too? You know me. I had to look up a few articles and share, of course. It's the researcher in me. 


Writing 101: Do You Need an Epilogue? - Jade Varden
https://goo.gl/E2FrWH

Loved her thoughts here. Will be saving that one!

Is It Really Over? To Epilogue or Not to Epilogue - Kaye Dacus




Great ideas here and thorough explanation. (Of course, I had to change the subject pronouns in my head a little, but hey! Life!)


After “The End” – The Epilogue - 

This is a must read. Oh, so helpful. 


So, let's think. 


As a writer, I may think my book is complete. As a reader, I may want a bit more. In the end, I think I have to ask, "What does the reader want? Is the reader satisfied?"

I can end with a solid finish, but for many readers, if the book doesn't have an epilogue, a glimpse into the characters' future, then it's not finished. That would have to go for my short stories, too. And, you know what, maybe it's a compliment to the writer that readers want to know more.

In the end, I have to keep the reader in mind. Looking at the reviews, the Facebook responses, the articles and just generally speaking, readers like closure. If I can give them that, why not? 



Epilogue
And, Deja wrote epilogues for her short stories!