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EcrivainAuxChats

By Morburre – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This is probably oversharing or something, but what do people think of this as a blurb?

~

Busted to command of prison ship Froward, taking criminals out to colonise new worlds for the Kingdom of Peace, Aurora Campos’s days of heroism are behind her. No more conquering the fleets of the Source Worlds’ soul-less technocrats. She’s a fallen woman, a failure.

Bryant Jones, technocrat and ‘murderer’, is not going to let his future be taken away by some dark ages Neanderthal. He’s staging a break out from Aurora’s brig when the Froward is shot down around them.

The convicts have taken over the penal planet. Shipwrecked on a hostile world, where the only escape route is a single spaceship buried in a guarded silo beneath the convicts’ main building, Aurora and Bryant must work together to survive.

Aurora wants the ship so she can rescue her crew. Bryant just wants off world as soon as possible. Neither of them are expecting the aliens.

~

Interesting? Cliche? Would you want to read it? What would you do differently?


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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I’ve mentioned the Cygnus Five series before, haven’t I? It’s more of a Cygnus Five trilogy at the moment, and comes to a satisfying close at the end of the third book. But there’s lots of room for expansion later on if people like these three books.

LionessFinalLarge

I’m in the final stages of polishing up Lioness of Cygnus Five at the moment. I’m writing a blurb/cover copy, doing one more proof-reading sweep, and – as you can see – creating the high-res cover, rather than the mock-up I showed you earlier.

This series is a massive experiment and learning experience for me. I’ve used self-publishing in a casual way before, as a way of testing the waters with things that I’d already written/published before, but I’ve never committed the time and energy to write three books specifically with an intent to Indie publish them.

Hanging around the internet over the last few years, I’ve heard more than one person wishing for queer books that were not, first and foremost, romances. “Why can’t we just be heroes? Why can’t our sexuality just be one aspect of who we are, not the focus of the book?”

That jived with me, because if you’ve known me since my early fandom days you’ll know that I was always primarily a gen writer. I like the fighting, blowing things up, saving the world and philosophizing on the nature of good and evil better than I like the romance. This is a problem for a romance writer.

So, I thought “I have no idea who would publish a space opera with a variety of queer leads, where the queerness wasn’t really the point, but wasn’t invisible either. Particularly when the first book revolves around a m/f relationship.” (Hero is bi, straight heroine spends some time body swapped to male-appearing and learns something about dysphoria in the process.) Later books continue the m/f relationship but also follow a f/f pairing and an ace m/m pair as they liberate prisoners and act as ambassadors for the human race to an alien AI.

Basically, I don’t think a mainstream publisher would know what to do with it, but it’s very much the sort of thing I wanted to write, and it’s the sort of thing I’ve heard people asking for, around the MOGAI and fandom sections of the internet.

I don’t have a game plan going in. I probably should. But if I waited for one, I would probably never do this. If there are any wise, established Indie Publishers out there who could give me hints as to how to do this, I would be very grateful. Equally, if any of my writing friends would like to host me on a blog tour for this, I would also be very grateful. (My blog is always open to you in return!)

I will be blogging about how it goes and what I’m up to, on a fairly regular basis. (That’s my aim, subject to depression and spoons.) So if you’re interested in a case study for how someone starts off in self publishing with a book, high hopes and zero knowledge, check back when you can. I’ll try to remember to tag all relevant posts Cygnus 5 books.

Now to write a blurb!

 


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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GhostbustersPoster

Late as usual, I finally saw Ghostbusters 2016 on Saturday. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Tumblr had loved it, but then Tumblr loves Jupiter Ascending and Pacific Rim vastly more than I do for things that I’m not really seeing in either.

On the other hand, when I first saw the promo material come out, I couldn’t believe it was true. I could not believe anyone would make a big budget mainstream comedy/sci-fi film, the reboot of a beloved cult franchise, and have every single one of the heroes be women. I spent a lot of time reblogging trailers and promo material while commenting “I don’t believe this is actually happening.”

Throughout the history of movies and TV, it’s been so prevalent to have all male lineups, maybe with a token female character who gets to be the love interest, that we’ve forgotten that it could ever be another way. Things have been slowly improving to the degree that in a lineup of – how many Avengers now? Seven? – there are two female characters. (But one of them gets to sit the film out because she’s too unstable.)

There are better franchises, of course. Suicide Squad has three women to five men (if my hasty count of the poster is to be believed.) And Mad Max had six women to two men, and Mad Max blew my mind by doing that. But it was still unthinkable to me, even in 2016, to have a film in which there wasn’t a male hero at all – all of them were female.

But hell, why not? It’s been a long time coming and there’s a lot of ground still to make up.

Anyway. It was almost total disbelief that they were even doing this at all that made me determined to go and see it, if only to show my support.

ghostbusters-2016-movie-trailer

I’m so glad I did! It’s one of the funniest films I’ve seen in ages. For someone who expected to be knocked off my feet by the fact that all the leads were female, I actually forgot about that the moment it started, because I was just caught up in the fact that these were people. It’s quite rare, in fact, for women to be written as people in mainstream media. They’re usually written as women first and individuals after. Which usually means I find it almost impossible to connect with them on any level.

These women though, with their scientific curiosity and fear and glee and indomitability were instantly understandable. Holtzmann’s awkward, honest speech at the end made me feel so much “emotionally repressed nerd tries to be open about her feelings,” sympathy. I know how that feels from the inside. Abby’s insistence on the perfect ratio of wonton to soup is not only something I would do myself, but was a great running joke that culminated in me laughing silently until my muscles hurt. What a joy it was to see Patti’s knowledge of history be as vital to the team as the science. And I wanted to cheer when she backed out of the room full of mannequins. You know you would have too. I certainly would!

I even loved Kevin, though he was a pointed bit of social commentary. Why not? We’re probably owed it. And anyway, who couldn’t love a man who called his dog Mike Hat?

I did totally rejoice in seeing the girls kick ghost ass and be gloriously good and competent at it, but by that time I had forgotten about other films in which that wouldn’t have happened. DH came with me, and I wondered what he made of a film where all the leads were women. He said he thought it was a better film than the first Ghostbusters, because it was funnier and it didn’t take itself too seriously.

I completely agree. I would also say how much better it was for not having a gratuitous ‘love story’ forced in there as ‘something for the women in the audience.’ I didn’t even notice there wasn’t one. The ‘something for the women in the audience’ was the whole film. For once, Erin, a woman, was allowed to be the everyman. That’s actually quite revolutionary and long overdue.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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Sandra and I go way back to the days when we were both hanging out on Livejournal together. She cheered me through the submission of the book that became Captain’s Surrender to its first publisher. So I am extremely happy to be able to hand over my blog to her for a guest post about her first novel, Under Leaden Skies, which came out from Manifold Press on Monday 1st of August. Just this week 🙂 It’s really exciting! Fistbump of authorly solidarity to you, Sandra.

~

Mosquito+Sandra-sm

The author with the prototype Mosquito being rebuilt at the DeHavilland Museum.

Things I learned during the writing and publishing of Under Leaden Skies

My first book, Under Leaden Skies, was released on Monday. As the full story of writing it is fairly long, I thought I would condense my experience into some of the things I have learned during the process.

1) Outline. Or at least have a vague 3-point plan.
They say there are “plotters” and “pantsers”. Well, the first draft of this book was written without any pre-plotting beyond “miner and airman in love during WW2”. Writing it was an adventure, editing it a complete and utter nightmare. I think it took me a month just to sort all the events into a coherent timeline, before I could even start looking to improve any other aspect.

2) When in doubt, research.
Roughly 99% of this story came out of the research I did: reading books and online articles, watching archive training films from the period as well as documentaries made decades later, joining Facebook groups and following people on Twitter who are interested in vintage aircraft. If this were a piece of academic writing rather than fiction, I hate to think how high a number I would have reached in marking my reference notes!
There is so much information available out there! As someone who didn’t have internet access until University, I remain amazed at how easy it is to access archived data. Everything from the dates which Teddy’s squadron moved from one posting to another, and which day of the week they were, to the Met Office weather reports (or at least monthly summaries) for each region of the British Isles during the 20th century (yes, I really did check if the weather in January 1942 was such that Teddy would be ok sitting talking for a while wearing nothing but pyjama bottoms in a minimally-heated room).

3) If you can visit places in real life, do
It was nearly 20 years ago now, but I have been down a coal mine – Big Pit, in South Wales – and my descriptions of Huw’s home village are based on what I remember of the villages clinging to the sides of Welsh valleys. I found it much easier to write the scenes in his family home after visiting Beamish in County Durham – another mining area – and their preserved ‘1900s Pit Village’, than just from reading descriptions and watching documentaries, however good they were. Most importantly, though, I visited the Sunderland flying boat preserved at RAF Museum London. Although one is not able to access the upper deck of this aircraft, I saw enough to realise that I had mis-understood part of the internal layout, and swiftly launched into re-writing at least one pivotal scene!

Sunderland+Sandra-sm

The author with the Sunderland at the RAF Museum

4) Sometimes, things are easier than you think they will be
There was a long gap between writing this story and pitching it to a publisher. Several years. Mostly, that’s because it’s not a romance. My characters refused to comply with any romance tropes, and therefore left me contemplating a much smaller group of possible publishers than I had initially hoped. I used the time to learn more about the industry, to keep my ears open to any information about working with various publishers, and most importantly to continually improve my craft.
When I finally decided to approach Manifold Press, and booked a pitch slot with them at UK Meet, I was unbelievably nervous, and assumed I would have a ‘hard sell’. I should have trusted that my research and instincts about their priorities would be correct. Although we both started off a little tentatively, within minutes we seemed to simply be enthusing at each other about writing and story, and history… and I opened my mouth without thinking and said “and of course, even though the story finishes at the end of the war, we ourselves know that doesn’t mean they will have a happy ever after, with everything which happened during the middle of the 20th century, and even inheritance tax might… Oh!”
I probably should have thought beforehand whether or not I wanted to write a sequel…
Similarly, I expected the cover to need several attempts before we found a compromise both I and the publisher were happy with – and I never really expected to get a picture of a Sunderland right there. But that’s what they offered on the very first version, and not only that but the whole image subtly shows the mood of the story.
Maybe I’m just incredibly lucky, or maybe it’s the decade I’ve spent hanging around with LGBTQ+ fiction and authors. Either way, I’ve got a damn great silly grin on my face and can’t wait to hear what other people make of my book.

COVER IDEAS 4

Under Leaden Skies
Love. Loss. Betrayal. Forgiveness. Honour. Duty. Family.

In 1939, the arrival of war prompted ‘Teddy’ Maximilian Garston to confess his love to his childhood friend, Huw Roberts. Separated by duty – Teddy piloting Sunderland flying boats for RAF Coastal Command, and Huw deep underground in a South Wales coal mine – their relationship is frustrated by secrecy, distance, and the stress of war that tears into every aspect of their lives.

After endless months of dull patrols, a chance encounter over the Bay of Biscay will forever change the course of Teddy’s life. On returning to Britain, how will he face the consequences of choices made when far from home? Can he find a way to provide for everyone he loves, and build a family from the ashes of wartime grief?


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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I’m wondering when I can replace the place-holder covers on my website, but thinking ‘not yet’. This is an exclusive for Love Bytes Book Reviews after all, and I don’t want to steal their thunder. All I can say is, if you would like to be among the first to see the new cover, nip over there to see it. They are having a giveaway of a $10 Riptide voucher to one of the commenters, so that’s cool too 🙂 I almost commented myself and then I thought “No, that would probably be weird.”

Knossos_fresco_women By cavorite - http://www.flickr.com/photos/cavorite/98591365/in/set-1011009/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1350752

(All the ladies in Knossos are talking about it.)

Isn’t it gorgeous though? I’m so pleased! I sent Riptide’s art department a link to my Labyrinth Pinterest board for reference, and they sensibly decided that they probably weren’t going to find stock photos that were anywhere near right. So they handed me over to Simoné, who had previously done the gorgeous cover for The Crimson Outlaw

18th Century Romania
when finding pictures suitable for 18th Century Romania also proved impossible. I’m so glad they did, because there’s something especially wonderful about illustrated covers, and it does mean you can have exactly what you want on them.

It might not be instantly obvious, if you’re not a Minoan expert already, but one of the great things about the cover for Labyrinth is that this is a picture of Kikeru on a female day, wearing the Minoan equivalent of a nice dress. Kikeru spends a lot of the book being visibly queer by the standards of their own society, and in my opinion also visibly awesome, so it’s good to have both of those things on the cover.

The existence of Minoan genderqueerness is more or less historical, in the sense that a number of their artifacts show people who seem to have mixed gender characteristics. These artifacts have puzzled historians and archaeologists for some time, in the same way that graves containing female bones and swords have puzzled them – more because the historians were boggled by the unconscious limits to their own world view than because the artifacts themselves are particularly mysterious. But that’s another blog post for another time.

In the mean time, look at my lovely covers! I’ve got to write a third really obscure setting now, just in a quest to get a trilogy of weird historicals with gorgeous covers by Simoné.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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Well, it’s been a long while since I last had something new out. I’ve actually been working away behind the scenes for most of that time, and I have six new things to offer in total. (Number six is on chapter 31 of 36, so I’m counting it as near to finished as makes no odds. Barring acts of God and accidental death, I expect it to be finished in August.)

It’s always a bit frustrating when you’re beavering away and yet as far as the rest of the world is concerned, you’re doing nothing. So I’m delighted and relieved to be able to announce the near arrival of the first of the six. This one is Labyrinth – a historical novella set in Minoan Crete, featuring genderqueer inventor Kikeru, bisexual ship owner Rusa, Kikeru’s ace mum Maja and Rusa’s aromantic daughter Jadikira.

I have seen cover art and it is truly awesome. I can’t express how pleased I am with it. However, I also can’t show it to you yet because Riptide want to be the ones who reveal it to the world. So here is a flirty little glimpse of the upper right hand corner!

Labyrinth_Teaser

Kikeru, the child of a priestess at the sacred temple of Knossos in ancient Crete, believes that the goddesses are laughing at him. They expect him to choose whether he is a man or a woman, when he’s both. They expect him to choose whether to be a husband to a wife, or a celibate priestess in the temple, when all he wants to do is invent things and be with the person he loves.

Unfortunately, that person is Rusa, the handsome ship owner who is most decidedly a man and therefore off-limits no matter what he chooses. And did he mention that the goddesses also expect him to avert war with the Greeks?

The Greeks have an army. Kikeru has his mother, Maja, who is pressuring him to give her grandchildren; Jadikira, Rusa’s pregnant daughter; and superstitious Rusa, who is terrified of what the goddesses will think of him being in love with one of their chosen ones.

It’s a tall order to save Crete from conquest, win his love, and keep both halves of himself. Luckily, at least the daemons are on his side.

~

I must do a post about the research that went into it, because it certainly seems like a lovely place to have lived, and you can’t say that about many ancient civilizations. I must also go and put up a page for it on my website!

And lastly of all, I ought to mention that it’s now available for pre-order here 🙂

 


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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Hwaet! I was on Twitter the other day when I intercepted a tweet from Dvorah saying “My next book is going to feature an asexual character, so if anyone has suggestions for what to do/not to do, I’d love to talk about it!”

My first thought was “I am an asexual and I have written a novel featuring an asexual character, which several people have told me represented the ace experience recognizably well. I could probably help!” So I said as much. Dvorah said “I’m mainly trying to get a sense of any big Nonos for writing ace, and the commonalities among differing experiences,” which struck me as something I could do, so I started typing out my first thoughts on the subject.

But then my second thoughts were “but I already know that I can’t speak for all aces any more than one person could speak for all straight people.” I’ve been in enough inter-ace disputes by now to know that we’re really diverse as a grouping.

So then I thought “Well, perhaps what I should do is type up my own thoughts, and then put the whole thing on my blog so that other aces could join in and speak up for themselves.” And that’s where I find myself now.

Below is my response to the initial query, unfiltered through my second thoughts, but I invite any other aces who might be reading to weigh in with their own takes, and either correct me, back me up, or add things I’ve overlooked, as necessary.

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Off the top of my head I would say the things to avoid were any assumption that an ace character must be inhuman in some way – where we are depicted at all it’s often as robots or aliens or childlike innocent beings whose understanding of the complexities of life are poor. We’re not cold and unemotional. We’re not incapable of having crushes and starry eyed romantic feelings (unless we’re also aromantic, which presumably isn’t the case for your character.)

On the other side of things we are missing that orientation towards sex with other people that other orientations have. So we’re unlikely to ever be checking anyone out, sexually. We’re usually going to be completely unaware of how others react to us sexually. We’ll put on nice clothes to look smart and well dressed, and be surprised when that equates to other people as ‘trying to look sexy’ – because sexiness is just not on our minds as a thing to be aware of.

If someone else is wearing a ‘sexy’ outfit, I would probably be like ‘are you sure you’re comfortable in that? Doesn’t all that leather kind of chafe?’ And they’ll be ‘but look at my butt!’ and I’ll be ‘Yeah, it’s a butt. It holds up your legs. So?’ Because to me there’s nothing sexy about sexy clothes or sexy body parts. They’re neutral, like pieces of furnature. They might be pretty, like a particularly nice carpet or lawn chair, but they’re not something to get sexually worked up about.

I personally don’t like dirty jokes or innuendo. It jolts me, because every time it happens it reminds me that human life is driven by this big dumb stupid factor that isn’t even all that important. Every time, it smacks me in the face with the fact that I’m abnormal because I’m missing something that everyone else has. (But I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I don’t want it for myself, I just wish people would stop rubbing my face in it all the time.)

On the other hand, I know there are aces out there who are fascinated by dirty jokes. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s in a spirit of research or something. You’d have to ask them.

When I wrote Aidan from Blue Steel Chain, I wrote him without a sexual fantasy life, because I didn’t want readers who were unaware of things like autochorissexualism to get confused about how someone who was asexual could have fantasies that involved other people boning. But surveys of slash writers and queer romance writers seem to indicate there’s a large number of aces for whom sharing the sexuality of imaginary characters is – I can’t think of a better way to put this – is the closest thing they come to having a sexuality of their own. (I’m only allowing myself to say this, because I’m in this group, so I’m talking about myself.)

It still doesn’t mean we find actual people sexually attractive, mind you. If offered the chance to somehow become part of that fictional world and join in, I would go “ew, no!” Because I’m not actually attracted to either of those people. I’m just imaginatively sharing an experience that I personally don’t have and can’t have in any other way.

So what I’m saying here is that there are aces who have a sexual fantasy life, and there are aces who don’t. It’s just their sexual fantasy life almost certainly doesn’t feature themself having sex with anyone.

Equally, there are aces who masturbate and aces who don’t. Masturbation doesn’t involve finding another person sexually attractive, so your character wouldn’t have to turn in his ace card at the door if it’s something that he did. He just probably wouldn’t be thinking about any real life people – not even his lover – while he was doing it.

However, I’d also say that a level of sex-revulsion is quite common. It’s normal for a person to have a cycle of responsiveness from “we could do sex if you wanted” to “don’t even talk about that gross stuff in the same room as me,” in the same way that presumably allosexual people are not equally up for it all the time.

This is one reason why we insist that it’s an orientation rather than a behaviour, btw, because it’s not about what you do, it’s about the way you think and the things you notice and value in the world. Some aces can actually enjoy the act of sex – because an orgasm will happen if sex is done well and all your bits are in working order, and an orgasm is… nice. It’s enjoyable. But the drive to have sex is not there. It’s entirely possible for an ace to have great sex with someone they love the night before, and still wake up in the morning with no feeling that sex is important or valuable or that they particularly want to have it again. There are many more important things to be concentrating on.

We’re also no more a group-think than any other orientation, so you’ll have aces who are outgoing and bubbly and cuddly and fascinated with everyone’s relationships and great at giving advice, through to aces who are introverted and touch-averse and really love Star Wars. The second sort are the stereotype at present, so if your character is like that, you may get accused of writing a stereotype. However, I am the second sort, so you wouldn’t actually be wrong.

In a similar way, you’re going to get stick whether or not you show the ace character having sex with the non-ace character. A lot of aces will be “oh, fuck it, why are we always the ones who have to compromise? Why can’t the allo-sexual character give up sex for the ace instead?!” And a lot of other ones will be “I’ve had a happy 20 year relationship with my partner. Sex is not that important so why wouldn’t I occasionally do it to please the one I love?”

I am also the second sort in this hypothesis, but I can see the first people’s point. It is vanishingly rare to see a love story where the ace doesn’t have to consent to sex. I think ace readers would find it immensely liberating to read a story where it was the allosexual partner who had to conform their expectations to what the ace character wanted rather than the other way around. OTOH, your allosexual readers are going to find that very challenging!

I think it’s interesting to write a romance where sex is the main conflict rather than a force pulling the characters together. You can’t just have the characters gravitating together by sexual chemistry – there have to be other reasons for why they would fall in love. Shared goals and perils, genuine admiration for each other’s characters, that kind of thing. And that kind of thing has to be compelling enough to counteract the fact that they have mismatched sexual needs. Also the mismatched sexual needs will need to be negotiated and renegotiated every time with continuing respect and love. That problem will never go away. It will always have to be managed and lived with, but it can be done successfully if the love is enough.

Heh. I don’t know if that helps. Now I read it back it sounds angrier than I expected. I thought I was very chill about it, but it turns out it can be quite alienating, living in a world where you just don’t get, at all, that one big thing that everyone else claims is a basic human drive.

Notice on Brighton beach

And with that I throw open the comments for anyone else who wants to weigh in or ask more questions 🙂


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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It’s time to talk about Space Opera. It’s a good time to talk about Space Opera, in fact, given that Star Wars roared back to life this year with The Force Awakens. While I did enjoy TFA, I also felt it was a bit of a re-tread of the Original Trilogy. I appreciated that our heroes were now a woman and a black man, and I found both characters endearing, but I didn’t feel there was much that was new in the storytelling. Maybe I should wait and see what the next film does with this underwhelming start before I carp, though. Maybe they’re deliberately setting up parallels so they can surprise us by how differently they develop them in the next one.

I wasn’t this critical about the first Star Wars. And when I say ‘the first Star Wars’ I mean Star Wars: A New Hope, which I went to see when it was first released. I put in my dues as a SW fan! I queued round the block in the rain to see ANH, and it was worth it. I still remember that shot of the Star Destroyer passing overhead – and passing – and passing – and passing – as one of the greatest moments of cinematic awe of my life. It was a moment that redefined the size of science fiction films. They’d been intimate and thoughtful before then. Now they were huge and fun and maybe not terribly scientific any more, but who cared because they still had aliens and spaceships, right?

Heh. I don’t want to get into the argument about whether space opera can be called science fiction or not, because (a) that’s a sidetrack to what I’m supposed to be talking about here, and (b) it isn’t. It’s a genre of its own, and it’s probably all the better for it.

But my massive digression up there is intended to establish that I’ve been a space opera fan for a very long time. I’ve also (I’ve only just realized) always been a complete sucker for scenes of beautiful ships being slowly revealed in all their glory. Three of my favourite franchises ever open with a ‘look at this beautiful ship’ scene – the Dauntless in Pirates of the Caribbean, the Star Destroyer in Star Wars, and Destiny in Stargate Universe. That’s probably all you’ve got to do to ensnare me, then – a glamourous shot of a big war machine, and I’m in.

Putting the second diversion aside, I’ll get to the point of this post, which is that I’ve been very silent recently. Partly due to my dad’s final illness, of course, but partly because I’ve been writing a space opera trilogy. It looks like I’m on course to finish the third book by the end of August, after which I will self publish them. It’s a bit of an experiment. The books are plain old fashioned adventure with alien cities and sentient planets and religious versus secular societies and extreme body modification and intergalactic threats to the future of the human race. There’s a bit of romance, but they aren’t Romances, if you know what I mean.

The main reason I’m not trying to get them published with mainstream publishers is that the heroes are queer – an asexual homoromantic couple, a lesbian couple and a bisexual man/butch straight woman who spends half the first book sex-changed and learns quite a lot about herself and her beliefs in the process.

While the queer romance community is doing great things providing queer romances, I’ve been hearing that people sometimes wanted books where queer people got to save the world. So that’s what these are.

Sadly self publishing means I’m left to my own devices when it comes to titles and cover art. Currently I’m thinking of them as the Lioness Series, comprising of Lioness of Cygnus Five, Heart of Cygnus Five and Pride of Cygnus Five. Final cover art not made yet, but this is a sneak peek at what I think they might look like if the photos I want are still available when I finally go to buy them:

Lioness Heartmockup Pridemockup

You have no idea how hard it is to find pictures of battle-hardened space-navy Latinas in their forties. Aurora is therefore way too young. But I’ve got to make do with what I can get!

 


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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This is the review I hold to my heart whenever the topic of “can women write stories about gay men – or rather ought they to?” comes around. I wrote Captain’s Surrender partly in order to show people that you didn’t have to choose between your sexuality and your faith, you could have both. I thought if even one person got that message, so that they could stop feeling damned and/or condemned, it would justify my writing the books that I wanted to write.

Well, this is that review.

I’m so thankful for it! There are times when I feel the pressure – I’m not gay enough, I’m not male enough, I’m not persecuted enough to speak for this community. (As it turns out, I’m not straight and I’m not female either, but that’s a different story.) And when those doubts strike, I remember this review in particular, and others like it I’ve had since, and I tell myself that nevertheless, I’m still not being entirely selfish in carrying on.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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I know Jay from my old Livejournal days, but I didn’t know that she had been busily writing exactly the sort of books that I love to read. Seriously? Elves! Elven private investigators. Queer main characters? Right there in the middle of the Venn diagram with me, where m/m romance, Fantasy/Mystery and adventure overlaps. How did I not know about this before? I’m very excited therefore to be able to hand over to her:

scroll new title final for S

Hi! I’m Jay. I write a mixture of fantasy, m/m romance and crime. Seems like an odd combination? Well, most of my stories were originally written for my own entertainment and those are three genres I enjoy so it seemed reasonable to try putting them together. I have always told myself stories and I wanted to share them with a wider audience than my immediate friends.

I decided to self publish because my initial works were the wrong length or the wrong genre for publishers and because I was anxious to retain control over various aspects of the publication process. I use friends, met through online writing groups, as beta readers, editors and proof readers and trust them to do a good job. As an ex-English teacher I think I’m competent to judge their work but I know I shouldn’t trust myself to do my own editing – you read what you think you wrote!

I design my own covers, using photography (which is a hobby) and photoshopping techniques. I’m pleased with the results. I wanted to get away from the kind of cover that has the hero or heroine as the focus, and give a taste of the ‘world’ I was writing about. That’s partly to let my readers use their own imagination when picturing my characters and partly because I enjoy world building and hope it’s a strong aspect of my stories. I often dislike covers that have a sultry looking model, male or female, representing the main character – I want both more and less from a cover.

I also do my own formatting which is perhaps the hardest part of the entire self-publishing adventure. I ‘practised’ on three novella length publications before embarking on formatting my novels  but I have to tell you it doesn’t get any easier. I love writing, don’t mind rewrites, and hate formatting!

I’m aware that self publishing means a hard slog self marketing, but from what I can gather, this is becoming more and more true of mainstream publishing. And that’s why I’m so glad of the opportunity to talk to more people about my books.

My main novels are a series centred round a female detective-in-training. She’s an elf, on a world where humans and elves live in comparative harmony. Genef has two ‘side-kicks’ in time-honoured crime novel tradition. One is a young dragon, accidentally imprinted on her at his hatching, and the other is her gay brother, Fel. Scratch, the dragon, enables us to see Genef’s world through the eyes of a child though as the series progresses he is growing up – fast. Fel provides the romance interest (nothing explicit) for the series but his adventures are a sub-plot and the main story arc concerns Genef’s training and her gradual acquisition of the magical skills that give the series its name – The Skilled Investigators.

The first volume, The Scroll, deals with Genef’s acceptance into the guild of investigators and the successful though sad conclusion to her first murder case. She must leave home to live and work in the capital but in volume two, The Market, she has to travel overseas to unravel the theft of some royal jewels. There she becomes embroiled in further troubles involving murder and kidnapping which threaten her brother and her dragon. The third book, The Crown, sees her travelling again, to track down an important piece of royal jewellery that was not retrieved in The Market. This story has Scratch as a teenage dragon, acting alone for the first time and in some chapters becoming the focus of the narrative. This third book is written and is currently being edited. The first two are available on Amazon, and, for people who have an e-reader other than Kindle, on Smashwords.

The Scroll – on Amazon

The Scroll – on Smashwords

The Market

The Market – on Amazon

The Market – on Smashwords

There are six books planned altogether. Genef will return to the capital to investigate a murder nearby, then cross the border to a human kingdom in an undercover disguise. Finally, in the last book, she will return to her family home where yet another case awaits her and the possibility of romance, though her personal affairs will remain sidelined and merely a hope for the future. Fel, on the other hand, will find happiness within the series.

The books are mainstream and are hard to categorise. As I said, a mixture of genres! In a sense they follow a coming of age arc but are not specifically directed at a young adult market.

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A couple of years ago I published two novellas and a book of short stories. These are all primarily m/m romance with some explicit passages. Whilst definitely ‘adult’ they are not really erotica. ‘The Lord of Shalott’ turns Tennyson’s poem ‘The Lady of Shalott’ on its head and explores the idea of the curse being the fact that the heir to Shalott was a boy who enjoyed wearing female clothing and was attracted to men. ‘Silkskin and the Forest People’ also twists legend. The basic tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is transferred to mediaeval Africa and the princess becomes a Zimbabwean prince. ‘Three Legends’ has an m/m version of a Northumbrian legend, an entirely invented ‘legend’ and a modern fairy story about a time thief.

You can find these via my author pages on Amazon and Smashwords. Because the books are ‘adult’ anyone looking on Smashwords should make sure the adult filter is off.

Jay Mountney on Amazon

Jay Mountney on Smashwords

You can read more about my books and my writing on my WordPress site. I’d be delighted to answer questions or just chat, about my writing or about self publishing, there or on Facebook.

https://jaymountney.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011794093032

 

Thanks for reading, and many thanks to Alex for hosting me!

 

 

 


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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Thanks to Jay Mountney for this Review of the Trowchester Series

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I just finished the third book in Alex Beecroft’s Trowchester trilogy so thought I’d review them all at once. The books are modern m/m romance and are linked by the location, the fictional town of Trowchester which becomes very real to the reader over the course of the stories. The main characters of one book reappear as minor players in the others which is satisfying because we get to know that lives continue after each volume ends. Alex creates very three dimensional characters, with real lives, real problems and real adventures. I found myself caring very much what happened to them all.

It’s lovely to see a review that considers each book individually but also considers the series as a whole. I’m so glad she thinks that the books work well together :)

I keep wondering if I should write some more in this series. What do people think? Is there anything you would like to know more about in Trowchester and its environs?


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

What happened on the 23rd of June? Oh yeah, it was my birthday. It was also the EU referendum. I was ill with a nasty cold and headache that made me dizzy when I stood upright, and so was my husband and son, so our household were all miserable and grouchy. Also it was raining stair-rods and it continued to rain like the emptying of God’s bathtub all day long, while the light struggled to grow brighter than funeral-appropriate charcoal.

In this festive weather DH and I, and son, went out to vote to remain in the EU. There’s a long subplot to this story that involves taking son to the doctors’ for his injection only to find it had been stored wrong and he’d have to come back tomorrow when they’d got some new stuff in, and then the car breaking down in the rain on the way back, but I’m not going into that.

What I am saying is that I went to bed confident that everyone in their right minds had turned out to vote Remain, and that life would carry on without much upheaval in the morning.

First thing I heard this morning was DH going “Bugger. They’ve voted to leave.”

So, now it looks like we’ve shot ourselves in the foot, shut ourselves in with far right Conservatives and UKIP nutters actually having a chance to turn back the clock to Dickensian times, potentially lost Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of the Union and are looking at becoming more alone than we’ve been for three hundred years.

Time to take the ‘Great’ off Britain, I think. In fact, will we even need the term ‘Britain’ any more?

I’ve spent the day trying not to panic. It’s certainly a boot up the backside to my complaisant belief that nobody could really take UKIP seriously – that nothing could really go world-changingly wrong. I take some comfort from the stats that say the overwhelming bulk of the people who voted to leave are old – older even than me. As we die off, things should get better. (A cheery thought.)

And in the mean time it’s time for those of us who thought it was certain that sanity and compassion would win the day to realize that it’s not certain unless we fight for it. I’ve always voted and I will continue to vote, but clearly more is needed. I don’t know what exactly I can do, but I can at least make sure I’m speaking up against xenophobia and far right fascism before it spreads any further. My age demographic is the most evenly balanced on issues of social justice, so perhaps just talking to them about politics will help.

Remaining silent certainly won’t. God save us!


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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Ooh, this is a first :) How nice to have a message saying that Blue Steel Chain is an All Romance Ebook bestseller and to be given an icon to prove it.

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Blue Steel Chain (Trowchester Blues Series) by Alex Beecroft

At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.

Local archaeologist James Summers is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan—nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion—brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.

As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love—even their own.

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I did not expect that from a book with an asexual main character! Thank you to everyone who’s buying it :)

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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When the news of the Pulse shooting struck, my instinctive reaction was to shut up, withdraw, and stop wanting to exist in this world. That’s the unhealthy coping mechanism I’ve had towards violence since I was a child and it’s always kept me safe. It’s always kept me safely contained and safely silenced too.

But this is not the world I grew up in, when I was young and frightened. In that world it would have been unthinkable to have Pride processions in which the police were there to defend you. The President wouldn’t have gone on the air to express sympathy for the victims – he would have been the one who ordered the night club to be raided in the first place.

It seems impossible to think it, in the light of the shooting, but the world has become a better place for queer people in the last twenty years. And maybe that’s why the shooter decided it was time to put people back where they belonged, to make them afraid so they would shut up.

I wasn’t even sure if I deserved to talk about this. After all, I’m not American, I’m not gay and I’m not Latin@. It’s not for me to talk over the voices of anyone that is. But this morning I was talking with JL Merrow about growing up genderqueer/agender and thinking “thank God we don’t live in the ’70s any more.” Then I read this article from The Washington Post and it reminded me that the reason we don’t live in the ’70s any more – the reason things are better now – is that people have been speaking out, coming out, campaigning, being seen and refusing to shut up and hide all that time.

I like the note of hope the Washington Post manages to raise there. I like this post too. I like the way it says

“So if recent events, whether a tragedy today, or bigotry tomorrow threatened to steal that spark of pride from you, continue creating an accepting world.”

I can’t speak with any authority, except for the authority that says to the bigots out there Murdering people is wrong. Fucking stop it! Hurting people is wrong, regardless of their orientation or sexual behaviour or race or gender or genitals or religion, or whatever. You think your God – a good God, a merciful God – would have wanted this? There are not words to say how fucking wrong you are.

But this is me speaking anyway, because my instinctive reaction is to be silenced, and I’m not having that any more.

 


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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Yesterday my new morris side, Sutton Masque – a mixed Border Morris side – welcomed in the official start of summer on the 1st of June by dancing outside a couple of pubs in Ely. It was freezing, rainy and grey. A hardy Greek family sat outside The Cutter, under the porch heaters and watched us dance by the river. I hope we were a properly bizarre glimpse into the literal local colour for their holiday. We certainly appreciated having them as an audience because none of the natives had dared venture out.

Later we went down to The Fountain and danced there for another hour, still in the drizzle, with the light failing around us. Here our only audience was an Australian couple in fantastic Aran beanies (I covet a beanie like theirs.) They took our picture and told me they liked my face. I take that to mean that they liked my face paint. This made me very glad, because my attempt to look like a Wood Wose takes me a good half hour of preparation before I even make it out of the door. The dark green of the background colour doesn’t half stain your flannels when you wash it off!

This is my face:

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taken after we’d given up on dancing and gone inside to play music and eat birthday cake. (Happy birthday Neil!)

I’m very proud of our new kit, which is dark green and gold, with a wild-man-of-the-woods, Jack-in-the-Green feel to it, and I am even beginning to get used to dancing in a top hat. You can see the full outfit here if you like, because the above is the indoors look without the tattered jacket.

In more relevant writing news, I’ve been spending my time finishing the first Porthkennack book for Riptide Press. Currently called Foxglove Copse, this is a contemporary m/m romance set in a fictional Cornish town with a slightly gothic twist. I’ve also done the first content edit pass for my huge long queer historical fantasy The Glass Floor, which should be coming out next year, and found a new home for Labyrinth, which had been contracted to Samhain Publishing but for which I got my rights back recently.

Right now, I’m working on the third book in my queer space opera trilogy Lioness of Cygnus 5. Have I told you about this? I don’t think I’ve told you about this. But it probably justifies its own post, so I’ll do that next time.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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AceRaindrop

Research into the history of asexuality is only just beginning to gain any traction. Which is fitting, because it’s only in the last decade, really, that there has been an awareness that asexuality exists at all – and that awareness is very far from being widespread outside the LGBTQ part of the internet. We are still very much an invisible orientation, and as such not much is known about our history.

Having said that, we do know that the Kinsey Reports – the hugely influential studies of human sexuality published in 1948 has a sliding scale of 0-6 to measure how heterosexual or homosexual someone was, and a seperate category X for those who are not attracted to anyone. That’s us. So clearly we’ve been around since the first serious investigation was going on.

In fact, according to this discussion in AVEN’s forums as early as 1896, budding sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, in his book Sappho und Sokrates says There are individuals who are without any sexual desire (“Anästhesia sexualis”)

He also says It is also not possible to artificially evoke the kind of drive, that is not existent or almost not noticeable.

And that’s what I would like to talk about today. One of the places where we are almost certain to find reflections of ourselves is in medicine, as a problem to be cured. Acing History has a good summary of the pathologisation of asexuality under the terms of ‘frigidity’, ‘sexual anaesthesia’, and more recently ‘Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder’ (HSDD). This gives us a great place to start when it comes to trying to uncover our history, but it also segues into something of direct relevance today.

This year’s theme for the IDAHOT organisation is Mental Health and Well-Being. Normally I would talk in more vague terms about all of us under the (Queer, MOGAI, LGBTQI+) umbrella. All of us, after all, suffer ill effects to our mental and physical well being by being members of a minority in general, and particularly by being members of a minority that is opressed.

However, today I sat down to write my post immediately after having signed this petition:

Tell the FDA: Disinterest in Sex Shouldn’t Be Treated With A Pill

and I thought ‘well this is spot on theme for a blog hop concerned with the mental health and physical wellbeing of queer people, and it has the advantage of being something I can talk about from experience.’

I really encourage you to go to the petition and at least read the article that accompanies it. The long and the short of it is that – clearly not having the wisdom of Magnus Hirschfeld – they’re bringing in a pill that they claim can do something for disinterest in sex in women. So that they can claim that it’s not going to be used to try to ‘cure’ asexuals of their orientation, the FDA have specifically said that the pill should not be prescribed to people who are not distressed about their disinterest because they identify as asexual.

This is nice, of course. But let’s ask ourselves, how many of those women who are distressed at their lack of interest in sex are distressed because they’ve never heard of asexuality? How many of them even know that asexuality is an option?

While we continue to be an invisible orientation, it’s completely disingenuous to say ‘of course we won’t press this on the asexuals.’ Seriously. Ten years ago I’d have taken it myself because I didn’t know what I was. I didn’t know there was absolutely nothing wrong with being disinterested in sex.

I am livid to think that in my desperation to be ‘normal’ I might have grasped at the chance to take a drug that I had to take every day for the rest of my life, a drug with significant side effects and little apparent effectiveness. And I might have done that, not knowing there was nothing wrong with me at all except that I wasn’t straight.

I am livid to think that while there are people out there who don’t know asexuality exists, of course they’re going to be distressed about themselves. Of course they’re not going to protest that there’s something wrong about them being forced to have sex they don’t want, because people somehow think it’s a disease not to want it. And it won’t ‘cure’ them, because they don’t need to be cured, but it will be a direct threat to their physical and mental well being.

So please, sign the petition. This is a chance to make history instead of simply observing it. Please also let people know that asexuality is a real thing that has been around as long as research on sexuality has existed, and if you don’t want sex it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.

 

HAPHOBIAUMBRELLA2016

In honour of the hop, I will be donating to Gendered Intelligence, a great charity for young trans people in the UK. And I will be giving away a book of their choice from my back-catalogue to one commenter chosen at random. Thanks for reading!

~

Click here to be taken to the list of participants in the blog hop or use the links below.

Blog Hop for Visibility, Awareness and Equality.

1. B. A. Brock (BI TR GAY LES) 23. Amelia Bishop (MULTI) 45. Remmy Duchene (MM)
2. Jamie Fessenden 24. Moonbeams over Atlanta – Eloreen Moon (MM, REV, MULTI) 46. Sharita Lira writing as BLMorticia M/M
3. Rory Ni Coileain 25. Helena Stone (M/M ) 47. Barbara Winkes (LES)
4. Erica Pike (M/M) 26. AM Leibowitz (M/M, F/F, BI, TR, NB, REV) 48. Bronwyn Heeley (m/m)
5. Andrew Jericho (GAY) 27. L.D. Blakeley (M/M, BI) 49. L. J. LaBarthe
6. Tempeste O\’Riley (M/M (Bi) (NB) 28. Lila Leigh Hunter [M/M, BI] 50. VJ Summers (m/m, m/m/f)
7. The Macaronis [various] 29. Sharon Bidwell 51. Nikka Michaels (M/M)
8. Elin Gregory [mm] 30. Nicole Dennis (M/M, ACE, M/M/F) 52. Caraway Carter (LGBT)
9. Alexa MIlne 31. Lexi Ander 53. L M Somerton (M/M)
10. Nic Starr (M/M) 32. Barbara G.Tarn (M/M, ACE) 54. Taylor Law (GAY)
11. Evelise Archer (MM) 33. Kaje Harper M/M, TR, BI 55. Anastasia Vitsky (F/F, TR, BI)
12. Sue Brown 34. JMS Books LLC 56. Draven St. James (M/M)
13. Elizabeth Varlet (M/M, BI, NB) 35. JM Snyder 57. A.V. Sanders (GAY, ACE, NB)
14. Raven J. Spencer 36. Dean Pace-Frech 58. Lynley Wayne
15. Sharing Links and Wisdom (REV) 37. Kimber Vale 59. DP Denman (GAY)
16. Lisa Horan (REV/Multi) 38. Jacintha Topaz (BI, F/F, M/M, TR) 60. M.A. Church M/M
17. Archer Kay Leah (M/M, F/F, TR, NB, BI, ACE) 39. Prism Book Alliance® (MULTI) 61. Andrew J. Peters GAY
18. Alexis Duran (M/M) 40. Eva Lefoy (M/M, F/F, F/M/F, BI, MULTI) 62. Dianne Hartsock MM
19. Jules Dixon 41. Lou Sylvre (M/M) 63. M. LeAnne Phoenix M/M F/F
20. R.M. Olivia 42. Anne Barwell 64. Cherie Noel (M/M)
21. Heloise West (M/M) 43. Viki Lyn (M/M) 65. Chris McHart (M/M, Trans*)
22. Angel Martinez (M/M GAY BI TR) 44. Sean Michael

 


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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NGL, I kind of hate doing this. It feels bad to ask anyone who liked Blue Steel Chain to go and nominate it for the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards – Summer 2016. However, it obviously got into the pre-open nomination round by itself (because I didn’t know anything about this) and I have to admit that seeing it poised there to potentially be able to take part in this competition does give me a whole lot of glee and satisfaction.

I don’t want to be the kind of person who’s always asking for nominations. But on the other hand I don’t want to be the kind of author who never does anything to promote their books. So I’m putting this out there, and it’s entirely up to you, the reader, what you choose to do about it. I would love the nomination, but if you see something there you love better, you should definitely go for that instead.

Here is the email I got, so you can see what I’m talking about:

We are pleased to inform you that Blue Steel Chain has fulfilled the minimum requirements and is moved to the next round — the Nomination Round.

In the Nomination Round, Blue Steel Chain has to garner at least 50 nominations within the time period in order to qualify for the next and final round. The nomination will start on March 14 and end on March 31. Invite your fans and reader community to nominate the book here: http://glbt.theromancereviews.com/viewbooks.php?bookid=21233

You may also direct them to the general page to nominate other books: http://glbt.theromancereviews.com/bookvote.php

Any help would be very welcome :) Thank you!


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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A Post Not About Writing At All

I had a lot of success with the Slimming World fat-free diet, which I stayed on for at least four years, losing three stone and keeping that weight off for two years afterwards. But when things got emotionally overwhelming in the later part of 2015 and not even therapy and meditation could completely keep me on an even keel, I began bingeing again to cope.

I rapidly put back on about a stone and a half. Initially, I thought “never mind. I’ll just go back on the diet and take it off again,” but when I tried, I discovered – like a friend I had met at the Slimming World meetings – that it was a hell of a lot more difficult to make the diet work and to stick to it the second time.

Cue despair, because if you can put on a stone and a half over Christmas and the first two months of the year, where does it stop? I’ve feared all my life that if I ate ‘normally’ – if I ate what I wanted to, when I wanted to, I would just keep piling the weight on and on and on until I couldn’t walk for it.

But Slimming World had been my last hope as far as diets went. I’d tried counting calories, and that worked until I couldn’t bear it any longer and gave up, telling myself that if there was any way I could economically afford it I would never be that hungry again. Slimming World was good because it didn’t require you to be hungry, but God, the food got boring after four years. I’d tried low carb/Atkins but that’s no way for a vegetarian to live – our sources of protein are too limited, and meat is horrible.

So the only option seemed to be to learn to love being fat. I signed up for some fat positive blogs, read a lot of articles about how dieting didn’t work and replaced my size 12 wardrobe with enough size 16 things to be going on with until I inevitably progressed to 18 and then 20 and then upwards.

However, one of the ‘diets don’t work’ articles I read suggested Intuitive Eating as an alternative. Eat whatever you wanted and find a set point of weight around which you would naturally come to settle and normalize.

That sounded like the epitome of “That sounds fake, but…” Except for the fact that I am married to someone who’s never dieted in his life, never done more exercise than a bit of morris dancing twice a week (same as me), and yet whose weight never really fluctuated at all. He certainly wasn’t clinging onto it in desperation for fear that he’d end up physically incapacitated, the way I was. So clearly there is such a thing as an intuitive eater. It works for some people. I decided I would give it a go and see if it would work for me. There was, after all, nowhere else left to turn.

I bought the book and started trying to follow it some time around the beginning of February. I thought there would be rules, but basically the rule is “Eat when you’re hungry. Eat as much as it takes to make you full. Then stop.” You can eat whatever you want, just pay attention to what it is that you actually want, because it might be different from what you assume.

I feel that the meditation I had been on since October last year definitely helped in this, because I was used to concentrating on different parts of my body, paying attention to what was actually going on, and not just living on autopilot. So once I started paying attention to my food in a mindful sort of way several dramatic things happened very early on into my practice.

  1. I realized I didn’t actually want chocolate as much as I thought I did. Most of the time what I really craved was bread. I’ve been eating a lot of toast and butter – that being one of the things I absolutely could not have on the SW diet.
  2. In the past month I’ve had three occasions where I would probably have binged if I wasn’t paying attention. I started, and then I caught myself and asked ‘do I really want these biscuits?’ And the answer on two occasions was ‘no, really what I want is rest. I’m knackered.’ On the third occasion it was ‘no. I’m just upset and don’t want to think about it.’ So I rested/meditated instead.
  3. I’ve tasted and enjoyed my food more than at any other time in my life. It’s hard to pay attention – I generally eat and read, and I’ve had to give that up so I can actually experience what’s going on in my mouth and stomach – but it’s really been worth it. I’d no idea that food was this good.
  4. I am loving the fact that I can go out and eat anything without wondering how much fat or how many grams of carbs or how many calories are in it. I tried pho. It was fab!

By the end of this first month, although I haven’t weighed myself, my clothes are no tighter than they were. So I’m cautiously optimistic about this. I’m going to reserve final judgement until the end of the year, but yes. Thumbs up for month one!


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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I’m not sure what to say about this. In something of a bombshell, Samhain Publishing announced yesterday that they were in the process of winding down in order to eventually go out of business.

This came as a surprise to me, as I was half way through my first pass of edits on Labyrinth, the Minoan novella I wrote for a historical anthology featuring stories by RJ Scott, Alexis Hall and me.

Rights on books which they’ve already published are not immediately being reverted to authors. I won’t be getting the rights back for Captain’s Surrender, Shining in the Sun, the two Under the Hill books, Too Many Fairy Princes or The Reluctant Berserker for an unspecified amount of time. During that time, I believe the books will still be on sale and I will continue to get royalties for them. Samhain is using this grace period to make sure that all its debts are paid, so that it can go gracefully out of business without leaving creditors unpaid or a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. I salute them for that – they’ve always been a classy act and a good publisher.

So from a reader’s pov, everything goes on as normal until such time as Samhain actually close down. This is just an early warning.

The rights for Labyrinth should come back to me sooner, because that anthology will no longer be coming out from Samhain. I’m already thinking about what to do with that one, so watch this space.

I’m sorry to have no firmer news. But on the positive side I did get a very nice review for Blue Steel Chain from Rainbow Book Reviews recently, and my personal life situation has now returned to relative peace. I should be able to start putting more energy into my writing life from now on (I sincerely hope.) I am at least half way through the first of the Porthkennack books (Did I even tell you about the Porthkennack books? I really must!) and forging steadily onwards.

I’m sad to see Samhain go. They were my main publisher for a long time and I owe them a great deal, but that’s publishing, sadly, and in the mean time I continue to write.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

I can’t say how delighted I am to hear that Blue Eyed Stranger made the list of best novels of 2015 at Romance Novels for Feminists! For a start, I’m overjoyed to know that my books qualify as romance novels for feminists at all, and then to be one of the best of the year is joysome.

Is joysome a real word? Goes to look… Oh it is! Both real and slightly archaic, just like me.

Romance Novels for Feminists’ Best of 2015

Thank you so much!


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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