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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brute on audio!

This is a small rant and then a new release pimpage.

My life is too sedentary. Both writing and my day job--university professor--involve a whole lot of sitting in front of computers. Plus I'm inherently sorta lazy. I took bowling for PE when I was in college.

But the one type of exercise I genuinely enjoy is walking. When I travel, I pound the pavement as much as possible. The two times I've lived in Croatia, I loved not having a car.  I walked for miles nearly every day, not just because I had to in order to get places, but because I wanted to. Zagreb is a fantastic place for strolling.

Here at home, though, it's hot. And booooooring. I live among subdivisions of beige stucco houses. Block after block after block of this:
Yawn. The big excitement on my neighborhood walks is when I see a lizard, or when I get to read informative signs like this one:

I guess if I really wanted some variety I could cross the canal and walk past cows, almond orchards, and cornfields instead, but I doubt that would be much more interesting.
So I've taken to listening to audiobooks during my walks. I recently finished hearing my first novel, Stasis, which was a lot of fun. It really makes walking enjoyable. I've sometimes even gone around the block again because the story's at an exciting point.
And I am thrilled to announce that today Brute became available on audio too! You can buy it here. The narrator is K.C. Kelly, who did a fantastic job. I am so looking forward to my walks now! Who cares if all I see is beige stucco? I've got Brute!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Writing Jerks

I was going to title this entry "Writing Assholes," but decided that could be taken entirely the wrong way. And let me be clear--I'm not going to talk about writers who are jerks. I'm sure some writers are, but most of the authors I know are creative, fascinating, lovely people. What I'm going to discuss today is writing about characters who are jerks. And I don't mean the villains or exes or minor players either. I mean when a main character--a protagonist--acts like an asshole.

I don't mean sexy rogues. Han Solo is cocky and--at least initially--mercenary, but he's always likable. I mean the kind of guys who treat others badly, who make us want to punch them in the face. The kind of guys our sweet boys should just kick to the curb.

I suppose that in many genres, protagonists who are less-than-endearing are not only acceptable, but even expected. But I write romance. By definition, my protagonists fall in love. Doesn't that mean they should be lovable?

Well, sometimes. I mean, Colby in The Tin Box, he's capital-a Adorable. And what about perky Nicky from Housekeeping or sweet Goran from Pilgrimage? It's hard not to like them.

But my muse is a difficult bitch. People say that romance novel protagonists have to be handsome, so my muse gave me big, ugly Brute. And if protagonists are also supposed to be sweet--or at least broodingly appealing--my muse occasionally throws me an asshole.

For instance, there's Berhanu in Guarded. Volos is loyal and good and brave, but Berhanu treats him like shit. Even after Volos nearly dies to save him, Berhanu doesn't seem to appreciate him. I know a lot of readers were pissed off with Berhanu. Heck, so was I!

Another example of a character who's not very sympathetic, at least at first, is William in The Tin Box. He's infuriatingly uptight and he's borderline rude to cute Colby. I didn't like him much as I began to write him, even though I knew why he acted like he did, and I knew he was going to change.

I hope that by the end of the story, it's clear why Berhanu acted like he did, and I hope he redeems himself. I hope that readers fall in love with William as they get to know him, just as I did. I hope that folks agree with me that even heroes sometimes act like pricks, and that even dickheads can improve.

What are your thoughts on main characters who act like dicks?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Haiku winners!

I am delighted to announce the winners of my gay romance haiku contest! There were some really wonderful entries, and I so enjoyed reading them.

First prize goes to Megan (@essgem) for this gem:

Later the men mused:
It had not been their best plan,
Coupling on the beach

Esepcially appropriate since I'm looking out at the ocean this very moment (look at that sunset!), and will spend the next week removing sand from my car.

And second prize goes to Angel Martinez for this very lovely poem:

Filtered sun shadows
Flashes of skin, hard muscle
Lovers intertwined

Beautiful! Congratulations to both of you.

Thanks so very much to everyone who entered. And extra special thanks to my wonderful panel of judges: Shira Anthony, Jamie Lynn Miller, Andrea Speed, and Tali Spencer. You can read more about them and their fantastic books here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Please welcome Andrew Q. Gordon!

A Closed Door - Part of the Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust Anthology

From Wayward Ink Publishing

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First, thank you, Kim for letting me use your blog to talk about my newest story.

With the progress of LGBT rights, the challenges of gay men and their coming out is also changing.  Once upon a time—like when I came out 27 years ago—you were considered among the lucky if your family didn't disown you or freak out.  Have them accept your boyfriend and you were even luckier. It was the rare person who would come out in high school and usually it was because they had no choice, not because they'd made a choice.

But as more and more people accept us as we are, as we now start to marry in numbers, have children—either through adoption or surrogacy—it isn't uncommon for gay men to be completely accepted and supported at home. I won't say it's easy, or that no one is rejected—because sadly there are still far too many cases of those—but suddenly it's not some 'fantasy' that a person comes out in high school or college and finds acceptance among his family and friends.

In LGBT fiction and MM Romance in particular, this creates a new dynamic. Happy, well adjusted and well accepted characters are cropping up where the tension and conflict has nothing to do with gay bashing, being disowned, bullied or rejected. Now we're more likely to see main characters struggle with problems everyone else has, the difficulties of dating, work, school, and relationships.

In my entry in the Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust anthology, the main character—Orin Merritt—has the full and total support of his family and friends—well his college and beyond friends at least.  The tension and conflict in the story revolves around the loss of Orin's family and how he deals with his one time best friend who struggled coming out.  Moving forward I expect we'll see more stories where the main source of conflict won't be the struggles of coming out. Instead we'll see a broader swath of stories where the MCs deal with situations more mundane, but no less stressful—dating and relationships and how difficult those are all on their own.  It's something of a brave new world and I for one look forward to this changing face of our main characters.


LLLL Andrew Q Gordon

A Closed Door; by Andrew Q. Gordon

Orin Merritt left home after high school hoping to escape the hell his life had become since he'd been outted at thirteen.  When a tornado destroys his childhood home and kill his parents, Orin finds a new kind of hell. Blaming himself for failing the two people who always loved and supported him, he returns home and confronts his past in the person of his one time best friend, Thomas Kennett.  Thomas not only rejected Orin when he came out, he led the group that caused him to leave.  As he struggles to deal with his grief , he tries to fulfill a pledge he made to his parents before their death.  In the process, Orin learns that sometimes when you leave to find something, you might have left what you're looking for behind.
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Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust Anthology, by Wayward Ink Publishing.

We’ve all loved.

We’ve all laughed.

Sadly, we’ve also probably all known loss in one form or another.

And, yes, we at Wayward Ink are sure we’ve all experienced lust!

In Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust, you’ll experience one or more of the “L”s as we take you on a roller coaster of emotions. Whether you like to sigh over the sweet, cry for the broken-hearted, enjoy a good laugh, or get a little hot and bothered, there’s something for everyone in this collection.

Buy Links:


As part of the release of the new Anthology, Wayward Ink is holding a giveaway.  Just click the code below for a chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card. Two people will also win a paperback copy of the book, and three people will win a WIP USB Extension Cord and Fridge Magnet.  There are 11 ways to enter and you can earn up to 20 chances to win.

About the Author:

Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog.  In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. 'insiders', Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.

Social Media Links:

You can find his books at

Follow Andrew on his website: www.andrewqgordon.com,

On Twitter:  @andrewqgordon,

Or just email him: andrewqgordon@gmail.com