Interview with fellow author Caren J. Werlinger

Caren Werlinger & HermioneThose of you who follow my blog know that I regularly invite other writers to talk about their writing and their books on my blog. Today, I’m honored to interview Caren J. Werlinger, author of award-winning novels such as In This Small Spot and Looking Through Windows

I was the lucky person who got to edit two of Caren’s books, Turning for Home and Cast Me Gently. They are very different books, but I loved both; Turning for Home for its main character, Jules, and Cast Me Gently for the sweet love story that developed between Teresa and Ellie. 

But let’s see what Caren herself can tell us about her newest novel, Cast Me Gently

 

cast-me-gently-ylva-2560x1600-300dpi

How would you describe Cast Me Gently? What is it about?

Cast Me Gently is a romance at heart. It’s the story of Teresa Benedetto, a thirty-four-year-old woman, still living at home with her family. She’s never allowed herself to think that she could fall in love, and she’s totally unprepared for just that when she meets Ellie Ryan. Ellie is all alone and longs for family and love more than anything. As Teresa and Ellie fall in love, Teresa has to figure out how to choose between her family and Ellie.

 

How is Cast Me Gently different from your previously published novels?

It’s not all that different, actually. The relationship between Teresa and Ellie is the heart of the story, but it weaves in themes of loyalty, friendship, duty to family—things I’ve explored in some of my other novels. All of those things that tug at us and pull us in different directions.

 

What made you decide to set your novel in Pittsburgh in 1980? Do you have a personal connection to that city or that era?

I lived in Pittsburgh in the early ’80s. I guess it made more of an impression on me than I had realized. Pittsburgh was facing a unique set of social issues during that era, with the closure of the steel mills. It made for an explosive mix of class conflict, crime, and homelessness. Those things serve as the background for this story.

 

How did you come up with the title for the book?

It’s from the Sarah McLachlan song “Answer.” There’s a line that says, “Cast me gently into morning, for the night has been unkind.” That line seemed written for Teresa and Ellie—each struggling with her own hardships, her own need to find love, yet doubting that she ever will.

 

What kind of research did you do for Cast Me Gently? Do you enjoy research, or is it a necessary evil?

I love doing research! I remembered a good bit from when I lived there, but I have pages and pages of details about Pittsburgh neighborhoods and the inclines and all kinds of things. I found old newspaper articles talking about Pittsburgh’s recession, which was roughly double the rest of the nation in terms of unemployment figures. Remember the TV show Hill Street Blues? That show was based on the Hill District of Pittsburgh.

 

What was the hardest thing about writing Cast Me Gently?

Remembering what it was like to fall in love for the first time. All the fear and uncertainty of wondering whether she feels the same, gathering the courage to do something about it, trying to learn how to be intimate with another woman when you’ve never done it before. I think I gave myself flashbacks to the trauma of those early experiences!

 

What was your favorite part about writing Cast Me Gently?

Remembering what it was like to fall in love for the first time! There is a wonder to that first time that’s never there again. I felt very much as if I were reliving that first time with Teresa and Ellie.

 

One of the things that sets your novels apart from other works of lesbian fiction is the use of flashbacks. In what ways do you think flashbacks can enrich a story?

It’s funny that my writing style has gravitated so much toward the use of flashbacks, but it has occurred to me that most stories start in the middle. If you think about it, the characters’ pasts—their growing up, their successes and failures, their fears—all of those things influence how they handle conflict, how they relate to the other characters they meet. You can’t really understand what they’re going through now if you don’t gain some insight into what came before. I hope readers feel as if the flashbacks are seamless glimpses into the characters’ pasts.

 

risingftashesfinalAre you working on a new novel? What can your readers expect next from you?

I’m working on a fantasy that I hope will turn into a trilogy. Set in Ireland about 700-800 A.D., about the time of the Viking invasions, it’s about a young girl whose village is pillaged, leaving her injured and orphaned. She is rescued and raised by a family of badgers, not realizing her ability to communicate with them is part of her magical power. When her power comes to the attention of others with magic, she is brought to a mystical forest. It’s not Hogwarts, but for her, she has to learn how to deal with humans as much as she has to learn how to channel and control her power.

 

How can your readers get in touch with you?

I can be found in several places:

Blog: https://cjwerlinger.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarenWerlingerAuthor

E-mail: cjwerlingerbooks@yahoo.com

 

Readers, has anyone read Cast Me Gently or one of Caren’s other books? What did you think? Please leave a comment.

P.S. Caren’s fantasy novel, Rising from the Ashes, has been published by now! Reviewers have called it a “first-rate literary fantasy with unique characters, a masterful plot, and beautiful writing.” Personally, I think it will appeal to both adults and young readers, so if you’re interested in fantasy novels at all, check it out. 

Writing hours in January 2016

Two “writing hours” posts in two days… That has to be a first! :-)

The first month of 2016 is over. It wasn’t the most pleasant start into the new year–the cold from hell kept me up with almost no sleep for several days in a row–but all in all, I can’t complain.

I crossed the 100,000-word mark in my work-in-progress, Shaken to the Core, on the last day of January.

Here’s the shiny new blurb for the novel:

Kate Winthrop, the only child of a wealthy shipping magnate, has the course of her life charted for her by her parents. She’s expected to marry well and produce a successor to the Winthrop empire. But Kate has a very different path in mind. Her true passion lies with photography—and with women.

 

Alone in the city after losing her brother, Sicilian immigrant Giuliana Russo starts working for the Winthrops as a maid. Despite their different social status, Kate and Giuliana become friends, much to the dismay of Kate’s parents.

 

As the connection between the two women grows, a devastating earthquake hits San Francisco, and fires break out all over the city.

 

Will the disaster shatter their tentative feelings for each other, or will they find the courage to save each other’s lives—and their hearts?

 

Join Kate and Giuliana on a journey of danger and discovery in the action-packed historical romance Shaken to the Core, set against the backdrop of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

What do you think? Does that sound like a novel you’d be interested in reading?

So, let’s take a look at my working hours in January:

 Fiction Writing EditingResearchNonfiction WritingMarketing & AdministrationTOTAL
2016 - TOTAL100 hours66 hours24 hours46 hours15 hours251 hours
January100 hours66 hours24 hours46 hours15 hours251 hours

Check back at the beginning of March, when I should have wrapped up Shaken to the Core.

Have a nice week!

Jae

Writing hours in December 2015

kitten-1102082_640A reader of mine just pointed out that while I had shared my accomplishments of 2015 and my goals for 2016, I haven’t yet posted my writing hours for December. Oops!

I’ve been so busy with my work-in-progress, Shaken to the Core, that I actually forgot my monthly tradition!

So let’s see what I’ve been up to in the last few weeks of the year…

For the most part, I’ve been working on the first draft of Shaken to the Core. By the time the cold from hell forced me to abandon the keyboard at the end of December, I was almost 50,000 words into the story.

I also spent some time doing additional research for that book, for example, finding out what kind of medicine physicians had readily available in 1906 and where people would buy gasoline for their automobiles. I also began doing a bit of research for my next novel, a contemporary romance that will be set in a hospital.

I also got the edits for the translation of Damage Control back (“Im Scheinwerferlicht”) from my German editor.

So, let’s take a look at my working hours in December:

 Fiction Writing EditingResearchNonfiction WritingMarketing & AdministrationTOTAL
2015 - TOTAL1,325 hours876 hours260 hours256 hours309 hours3,026 hours
January175 hours88 hours---5 hours29 hours297 hours
February155 hours53 hours4 hours9 hours36 hours257 hours
March116 hours120 hours32 hours1 hours25 hours294 hours
April79 hours86 hours6 hours18 hours48 hours237 hours
May97 hours100 hours19 hours54 hours32 hours302 hours
June143 hours80 hours21 hours2 hours25 hours271 hours
July89 hours42 hours1 hours0 hours19 hours151 hours
August112 hours111 hours---33 hours12 hours268 hours
September82 hours72 hours15 hours118 hours16 hours303 hours
October93 hours41 hours46 hours9 hours23 hours212 hours
November65 hours47 hours91 hours5 hours21 hours229 hours
December119 hours36 hours25 hours2 hours23 hours205 hours

Compared to 2014…

  • my total working hours went up by 19% (+475 hours)
  • my editing hours (that’s editing other authors’ manuscripts, not my own, by the way) went up by 62% (+326 hours)
  • my fiction writing hours went up by 36% (+352 hours)
  • my nonfiction writing hours went down by 31% (-115 hours)
  • my marketing hours went down by 20% (-79 hours)
  • my research hours went down by 7% (-19 hours)

Check back in a few days to check out my writing hours for January. I promise to post them on time :-)

Have a nice Sunday!

Jae

Interview with fellow author Lois Cloarec Hart

lois_boat-smAbout fifteen years ago, one of the first lesbian romances I read online was Coming Home by Lois Cloarec Hart. It’s still one of my all-time favorites. Now, years later, I am fortunate enough to not only have Lois as a fellow author publishing with Ylva Publishing, but also to have edited several of her books. 

Lois recently had a new book out, and it stars a main character that is just as fascinating as the characters in Lois’ previous novels, so I invited Lois over to answer a few question about her new novel, Stone Gardens

How would you describe Stone Gardens? What is it about?

At its essence, Stone Gardens is a story of redemption. It partly evolved from some questions I’d long mused over: Do people mired in such things as addictions, petty crime, and antisocial behaviour have the self-awareness to know how seriously they are impacting their lives? Do they regret the damage, and long for a healthier path? Can they successfully change course? Why do so many fail to do so? I have my own theories, but consolidated those questions into my lead character, Grae’s remark to her therapist, “I want to stop being bad.” Bad, of course, is subjective, but when the story opens, Grae has, for eight years, completely rejected the conventional markers of a solid, upstanding life, though there are poignant reasons behind her doing so.

I know when you started working on the book, it was tentatively titled Paper Mansions. Why did you change the title to Stone Gardens?

I actually went through a couple of title changes before I settled on Stone Gardens. I chose that as the final title because part of the inspiration for the book came from the rambles my wife and I enjoy taking in historical cemeteries. I love the peaceful setting, the artistry of the monuments, the stories they tell, and the gardens that surround the stones. Stone Gardens draws on the contrast of insensate stone with living gardens, which suits Grae perfectly. She came from a loving, privileged background—a garden, if you will. But because of desperation and grief, she constructed a cold, impenetrable shell within which she hid for many years. She only starts to break free of her self-imposed solitary confinement when she begins to allow love back into her life, first in the person of a gay street kid, and then through reborn family ties and new friends. On a secondary level, Stone Gardens is the name of a monuments business, owned by a man whose life Grae inadvertently changes, and who then helps change hers in return.


Stone-Gardens-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalHow is Stone Gardens different from your other novels?

All of my novels have featured romance, in one form or another, though I have written in a diversity of genres from historical to thriller to metaphysical. There is romance in Stone Gardens, but that isn’t what drives most of the story. I deliberately told the story from a single POV – Grae’s, because this is her story of recovery and redemption. This is not to say that the secondary characters, including Grae’s eventual love interest, aren’t important and vibrant characters, but all are seen through Grae’s lens on life. It makes for a more intimate reading experience.

You did some fascinating research for this novel. Can you tell us a bit about it?

I’m an introvert, so interviewing people doesn’t come naturally. I far prefer to do research on-line and in libraries. But because it was important to me to get the details right, I summoned up the nerve to contact a monuments maker and ask if I could interview him and see his shop. I stumbled on a wonderful gentleman, Brook Bolton, who patiently let me ask as many questions as I wanted, and just as importantly, showed me around his shop and allowed me to take photos. It was utterly fascinating to see how monuments are made. Some of his work was even going overseas, as a local Catholic devotee was donating a couple of engraved stone benches to the gardens at the Vatican. As much as the technical aspects, though, I appreciated getting Brook’s insights on how it felt to deal with people who are often in the deepest throes of grief. Because Brook’s business is in Georgia and Stone Gardens is set in Canada, he referred me to a Canadian friend, John-Michael Weber, who is also in the monuments business. I did a phone interview with John-Michael in Kitchener, Ontario to find out if there are significant differences in the practices that Grae would encounter in Canada as opposed to Georgia. During our lengthy conversation he told me a story about creating a monument for a young hockey player, which was so utterly Canadian that I had to include it in my book.

Why do you think redemption stories such as Stone Gardens resonate with so many readers?

Who among us hasn’t had to look back on things we’ve done and wince? Meeting challenges, making mistakes, and recovering as best we can are life experiences we all have in common. Though few fall as far or as dramatically as Grae does, it’s easy for the reader to relate to her. She’s a kind and decent soul, and that shines through even in the depth of set-backs, so the reader roots for Grae to achieve the redemption that her loved ones dearly want for her too.

Your main character has an unusual first name—Grae. How did you come up with that name?

When Grae abandoned her life of privilege, she also rejected the name her friends and family knew her by and adopted a variant on her birth name, Grace. I liked the name Grae because the character is not a woman who experiences the world in black and white. She has so many shades of grey to her personality—she’s a hard-ass punk who takes in and shelters an abused street kid, and a serial law-breaker who exhibits compassion for a pariah few would even give the time of day. She is self-aware enough to know she’s screwing things up, but seems unwilling or unable for many years to do anything about it, so the name fit her well.

Grae not only has an unusual name, she also has an unusual profession for a woman. What gave you the idea to make her a stone mason?

As I mentioned, my wife and I frequently enjoy a walk through old graveyards. I find Victorian memorial symbology fascinating. A lamb, a sheaf of wheat, or a stack of logs instantly illustrates a life lived and lost. And just as I have taken many character names from headstones, so too have I had the idea of using a monuments maker in a story floating around in the back of my mind for many years. When I began last year to consider my next novel I had an ‘aha’ moment, as I knew such a trade would be perfect for my lead character.

What was the hardest scene for you to write in Stone Gardens?

The flashback scene that was the impetus for Grae’s fall from grace. By the time I wrote that chapter, I had been living for many chapters with a Grae who had endured so much, and come so far. I was writing her and cheering her on at the same time, so it was hard to go back to a young, self-centered Grace. I didn’t care much for that shallow young woman, and I was glad to finish that chapter and return to the much more sympathetic, complex, and psychologically riveting Grae.

Are you working on a new novel? What can your readers expect next from you?

I’m currently going through several years of accumulated research in preparation for writing a historical trilogy that starts in Atlanta during the fight for civil rights. The trilogy features a couple of characters, Hazel and Ruby, which I created for two short stories I wrote several years ago—Country Mouse and Coming Attractions. Their story will begin in the fifties, when they’re young women and the civil rights movement is gathering steam. By the third book, it will take a leap to the present, when even in the heart of the Bible Belt gay couples can finally have their marriages legally recognized, outliers notwithstanding. It sounds like a huge swath of time to cover, but I’m not trying to write a history text. I’m telling the story of two women and their circle of friends who evolve—or don’t—with the changes and challenges all around them. This project should keep me busy for a few years at least. That said, there is a story lightly touched on in Stone Gardens that is also calling my name, so I may take a time-out from the trilogy and write the story of Jo and Thea, as well. I’ll have to see what speaks to me the most insistently after I finish the first installment with Hazel and Ruby.

How can your readers stay in touch with you?

I have a personal website, http://www.loiscloarechart.com and I’m also involved in a website for Canadian authors of lesbian fiction, http://canadianlesfic.com where I post a blog every six weeks. I can be reached through either of those sites, or directly by e-mail at eljae1@shaw.ca.

I very much enjoy “talking” to readers one on one, but I already have to battle my tendency to get lost for hours in on-line news media, so I decided I’d best stay away from social media, or I’d never get anything done.

Thank you for answering my questions, Lois! I very much look forward to your historical trilogy.

Readers, have you read any of Lois’ books? If yes, which one and what did you think?

Interview with fellow author Jane Waterton

bio-pic_jane-watertonIf you are a reader of lesbian fiction, especially romances, you might have noticed that most main characters in those novels are in their twenties and thirties. Books about older lesbians are a rare find. So I’m pleased to say that I got to interview an author of one of these rare books. 

Jane Waterton is a fellow Ylva Publishing author. As the daughter of a bookseller, she grew up around books. She recently published her first novel, Times of Our Lives, which–as a reviewer said–is “a wonderful story that shows that love is not simply for the young.”

So let’s see what Jane can tell us about her book.

How would you describe Time of Our Lives? What is it about?

Set in OWL’s Haven, the first Australian lesbian retirement village on the south coast of NSW, Time of our Lives is the story of six residents. The book takes place over twelve months and charts the journey of these friends, as they deal with new relationships, old relationships and the possibility of second chances. Through everything, they retain their humor and sense of irreverence.  It’s a book about celebration and the fact that you are never too old to fall in love.

cover_times-of-our-lives_500x8001What inspired you to write a novel about love and being older?

The idea came from a very funny afternoon with friends, all of us talking about living together in a lesbian retirement village and the mischief we could get up to. On the way home I happened to mention to my partner that those stories would make a great book. “So write it,” she said.  Sixteen years later, after several stops and starts (mostly stops!), I did.  I had also reached my sixties and was looking for more books with characters I felt I could relate to “Women of a Certain Age,” as I like to call them!  Just because we get older, doesn’t mean we stop living, loving and raising hell! Our bodies may slow down, but our minds and hearts are still going strong and that needs to be remembered and celebrated.

What do you like about your main characters?

The characters all come from very different backgrounds and have lived very different lives.  They are independent and supportive, accept each other’s differences and celebrate their joys. They’re feisty, strong women, dealing with what life is throwing at them and despite their age, still learning lessons!

Did you plot out the entire book before you started writing, or did you explore where the story would take you?

When I started, I had the beginning, the end and a faint path through the rest of the novel.  I knew there were going to be 5 major characters but halfway through the book another character suddenly appeared on the page! I am still wondering where she came from, but she ended up changing the story.

What was your favorite part about writing Time of Our Lives?

After sixteen years, I could say finishing it! Seriously though, seeing where the characters were taking me, watching them grow. Sitting with my laptop, fur family and partner close by, experiencing the joy of just writing.

swamp-wallaby-1107174_640What prompted you to choose this setting as a backdrop for your novel?

As an Older Wiser Lesbian, myself and many of my friends are at the stage when we are considering our future. Growing older is inevitable, so let’s embrace it with laughter and joy.  I also wanted to acknowledge the incredibly difficult social and historical journey that many gays and lesbians of our age have made throughout the decades. While there are no lesbian retirement villages here and same sex marriage is STILL not legal in Australia, we never give up hope! If I write it’s legal, will that make it true?

Which scene was the hardest for you to write? What was the hardest thing about writing Time of Our Lives in general?

Many of the scenes and stories in this book are actually true. Some are funny and some not so much. The hardest thing about writing the book is that it was the first one, so I really had no idea what I was doing! At the time it seemed easy…and then came the editing!  I also wanted to make sure that it was a book that resonated with women of all ages, not just those who were older. That was a balancing trick and I hope I’ve succeeded.

What did you learn from writing this book?

That there are some incredibly generous authors out there, authors that will guide, encourage and nurture someone who is just starting out.  The editing process was a complete vertical learning curve and I have been so grateful to have such a wonderful team behind me. Oh yes, and I also learnt that I will NEVER again write a book with so many characters!

What draws you to writing lesbian romances?

I have to say, reading lesbian romances! There are so many great books out there. The authors and stories inspire and I am just a big romantic fool.

What are you currently reading?

I have just finished Laurie Salzler’s new book, In the Stillness of Dawn, which I really enjoyed.

Are you working on a new novel? What can your readers expect next from you?

My partner and I live on the edge of the desert in a mining town in Western Australia, so my next novel is going to be set here. There has been a large increase of older women working in this region, many of them looking for a new start.  It’s a story waiting to be told!

How can your readers stay in touch with you?

E-mail: janewaterton@westnet.com.au

Website: http://www.janewaterton.com.au/

Or catch me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jane.waterton

I’m always happy to hear from people, so drop me a line and say hello!

Thanks for patiently answering my questions, Jane.

Readers, if you’d like to give a novel about friendship, love, and life as an older lesbian a chance, check out Times of Our Lives

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Ylva Publishing

Happy reading!

Ylva Publishing blog hop — Jane Waterton

Today, I’m honored to present the next stop on the Ylva Publishing blog hop. It’s Jane Waterton’s turn to talk about her life and her book, Time of Our Lives. Welcome to my blog, Jane!

January Blog Hop

‘Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.’

Vincent Van Gogh

Growing up, my family moved constantly; my father always in search of the ever elusive big deal ‘just in the next city’. Invariably, it would be a mirage and he and my step mother and I would once again take to the road. To be honest, I was probably at least ten years old before I realised that not everyone moved house at 2 am.

For me, this peripatetic lifestyle meant more schools than I can remember. Day schools, sometimes boarding schools, different teachers, different rules.  What never changed was the fact that I never seemed to be anywhere long enough to make friends – not real friends, the kind that stick to your ribs and stick to your heart. It didn’t help that I was painfully shy and it took a while for me to get to know people.  It always seemed that by the time I had started to make friends, we were gone and I was alone again.  In the end it all just got too hard and I stopped trying.

Luckily, by the age of thirteen, I was finally in a boarding school that was to be my home away from home for the next five years, and it was here that I finally started learning about true friendship and everything it represented. I grew, I blossomed, and I finally made friends, several of which I still have some 45 years later.

In Times of our Lives friendship is also the anchor for the residents of OWL’s Haven.  Meg and Allie have known each other for over forty years. As Allie says to Meg, “Sometimes I swear you know what I am thinking before I do.”  The love between Pat and Bella has developed over decades, evolving from a tenuous friendship that overcame considerable obstacles, growing stronger and deeper as the years went by.

For these wonderful women, friendship is a code they live by; if one is in trouble they all come together to comfort, offer advice and to just be there; a light chasing away the darkness. With friendship leading the charge, laughter invariably comes along for the ride, ensuring that the experiences are sweetened and that memories endure.

As for me, I am reminded daily how lucky I am to have learnt how to gain, grow, and treasure friendships. It has been the most important and most rewarding lesson of my life.

***

cover_times-of-our-lives_500x8001“Growing old is not for Sissies…”

Set against the backdrop of OWL’s Haven, Australia’s first exclusively lesbian retirement community, an irreverent cast of residents share their lives, hopes and dreams together.

At 65, Meg Sullivan is very clear about what and who she wants in life. Despite a string of lovers Meg’s first loyalty has always been to her best friend, Allie Richards. After reading about OWL’s Haven in a magazine, she knows the lesbian retirement village would be perfect for them both.

Allie Richards has shared the best part of her life with Meg. For over forty years they’ve travelled the world, and love and trust each other completely. Moving to OWL’s is perfect, as a new group of friends join their comfortable circle of two.

Pat and Bella have been together for nearly fifty years. To them OWL’s represents the secure and loving community they rarely experienced in the homophobic Sydney of the 60’s. But life is never simple, and safety is sometimes elusive as they face their own personal challenges.

Through laughter, tears, and joy these woman prove that no matter what your age, you’re never too old to fall in love.

Times of Our Lives is Jane’s first novel.  If you would like to read about the fun and antics at OWL’s Haven, you can pick up a copy at the Ylva Publishing webstore or at all the major online bookstores.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my stop on the Ylva author blog hop. Next up is Lois Cloarec Hart on February 15. You can read what she has to say at  http://canadianlesfic.com/blog/

Picture-perfect characters (Ylva Publishing blog hop #1)

Just Physical coverYlva Publishing is starting the new year with a blog hop. Thirteen Ylva authors are blogging about their books and other interesting topics. I’m honored to kick off the blog hop with my contribution. Here it is: 

Have you ever thought that the main characters in romance novels—or romantic movies, for that matter—are just a bit too perfect? Perfect health, perfect looks, perfect jobs, perfect lives. No one ever has to decline a date because she can’t afford to go to an expensive restaurant. Most characters in romances look like supermodels and never gain weight, no matter how many high-calorie desserts they devour. Few suffer from psychological disorders or chronic diseases. At most, the characters are allowed to catch a cold, but nothing life-threatening or too debilitating. While their lives may be in an uproar at the beginning of the novel, we know that they’ll get their happy ending on the last page.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why most readers—and writers—prefer perfect characters and happy endings. Our lives are already full of stress, small hassles, and big problems, so why would we want to read about them too? A little escape from everyday life with all its harsh realities can be nice every once in a while. I certainly don’t want to write books with endings that leave my readers depressed.

But I think even characters who aren’t perfect and who don’t get to live happily ever after deserve a little romance, and they can have a positive, uplifting ending too. Romance novels and complex characters who battle realistic problems don’t need to be a contradiction in terms.

That’s what I’ve been trying to show with Just Physical, my latest romance novel. From the reviews I’ve gotten so far, it seems I have succeeded.

Just Physical is the third book in the Hollywood series, which started with Departure from the Script and was continued in Damage Control. As with most of my series, you don’t need to read the previous books to understand and enjoy Just Physical.

biker-384924_1280The novel’s main character, Jill Corrigan, was introduced as a supporting character—the no-nonsense best friend of superstar Grace Durand—in Damage Control. Jill might be an actress in Hollywood, but her life is far from picture-perfect. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Jill takes herself off the romantic market, not wanting to become a burden to a potential partner. She also struggles in her job, since the director of the disaster movie she’s shooting will no longer allow her to do any of the physically challenging scenes. That’s how she meets Kristine “Crash” Patterson, the stuntwoman doubling for her.

Despite their growing feelings for each other, Jill is determined to let Crash into her bed, but not her heart. As they start to play with fire on and off camera, will they be able to keep things just physical?

Read Just Physical to find out. The novel is now available as an e-book at Ylva Publishing‘s very own webstore, at Amazon, and many other online bookstores. It’s also available as a paperback.

I hope I have succeeded in creating a romance novel that is realistic and complex, yet far from being depressing.

* * *

Blurb: Just Physical by Jae

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, twenty-five-year-old Jill Corrigan takes herself off the romantic market. Not wanting to become a burden to a potential partner, she focuses on her career as an actress instead. On the set of a disaster movie, she meets stunt woman Kristine “Crash” Patterson, whose easy smile instantly makes Jill wish things were different.

Meanwhile, Crash is trained to fall, but she didn’t count on falling in love. Despite their growing feelings for each other, Jill resolves to let Crash into her bed, but not her heart. As they start to play with fire on and off camera, will they really be able to keep things just physical?

* * *

January Blog Hop

The Ylva Blog Hop will continue tomorrow. The next stop on the tour will be Cheri Crystal, who has just published her newest romance, Across the Pond. She will be blogging over at Gill McKnight’s blog: http://www.gillmcknight.com/

Check it out tomorrow (January 7, 2016)!

For a look at the entire blog hop schedule, visit the Ylva blog.

Writing goals for 2016

new yearHard to believe that the year 2015 is practically over already. Since I managed to catch the cold from hell from one of my nieces over Christmas, I’m not spending New Year’s Eve the way I had planned, but I still wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past twelve months and to look ahead at 2016.

I just took a look at the goals for 2015 I posted on the Ylva Publishing blog a year ago. In that blog post, I said:

For 2015, I hope everything will continue to go as smoothly as it did in 2014. I plan on writing two new novels, revising and republishing my romantic suspense novel Next of Kin, and translating two of my novels into German.

Well, it seems I met and surpassed those goals.

I wrote and published Damage Control (April 2015) and Just Physical (November 2015), brought out a new and improved version of Next of Kin (June 2015), and published not two but three novels in German—Auf schmalem Grat (February 2015), Zum Anbeißen (April 2015), and Rosen für die Staatsanwältin (October 2015). Then there’s Good Enough to Eat, my first co-authored novel, which was written in 2014 but published at the beginning of 2015.

I also wrote and published four short stories: “The Snow Liger” (February 2015), “Dress-tease” (May 2015), “Coitus Interruptus Dentalis” (May 2015), and “Change of Pace” (August 2015).

In 2015, I also published my first two nonfiction books, under my “superhero name,” as one of our editors refers to it. Goal Setting for Writers came out in March and Time Management for Writers in December 2015.

gclsBut 2015 wasn’t just about working and writing. I also got to do a fair bit of traveling—five days in Hamburg, exploring the city and the emigration museum in Bremerhaven, a few days at the book fair in Frankfurt, where I met fellow Ylva author G Benson, and three weeks in New Orleans, where this year’s GCLS conference was held. During the con, I had the chance to participate in my very first panel. The subject was hopeful-ever-after endings in lesbian fiction—which was a perfect fit for my new novel Just Physical.

So, all in all, I consider it a pretty good year.

 

What’s ahead for 2016?

Here are my goals for the upcoming year:

  • Write and publish two English novels, Shaken to the Core (historical romance) and one that is tentatively titled Connected (contemporary romance)
  • Translate and publish two German novels, Im Scheinwerferlicht (translation of Damage Control) and Affäre bis Drehschluss (translation of Just Physical)
  • Write and publish one nonfiction book for writers, Writing a Series.
  • Write a novella and/or a couple of short stories
  • Attend the GCLS conference, which will be in the Washington D.C./Alexandria area in July 2016
  • Attend the lesbian book vacation on Lesbos in June 2016
  • Find more time to read in 2016

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you’ll achieve all your goals.

Please leave a comment and tell us about your goals for 2016.

Writing hours in November 2015

ChristmasIt’s the middle of December already, and I only now get around to posting my numbers for November, which gives you a good indication of how busy I am. I’m very excited to say that I got started on my new historical romance, Shaken to the Core, at the beginning of December. Now I’m 20,000 words into the story and enjoying it very much.

What else is new? As you might know, my romance novel Just Physical has been out for a couple of weeks now, and reviews have been great. In Just Physical, the two main characters–actress Jill Corrigan and stuntwoman Kristine “Crash” Patterson–shoot a historical disaster movie. Guess what? That movie is basically the novel I’m writing right now. I so love connecting my books that way.

I also just published another book, Time Management for Writers, which helps writers write more, find more time to write, and make better use of the time they have.

In November, I spent most of my time doing research for my historical romance. I also finished translating Damage Control and the short story that goes with it, Dress-tease, into German. My goal was to translate 100,000 words during NaNoWriMo. I ended up with “only” 92,000 words because then I had translated both the novel and the short story and ran out of material to translate.

So, let’s take a look at my working hours in November:

 Fiction Writing EditingResearchNonfiction WritingMarketing & AdministrationTOTAL
2015 - TOTAL1,206 hours840 hours235 hours254 hours286 hours2,821 hours
January175 hours88 hours---5 hours29 hours297 hours
February155 hours53 hours4 hours9 hours36 hours257 hours
March116 hours120 hours32 hours1 hours25 hours294 hours
April79 hours86 hours6 hours18 hours48 hours237 hours
May97 hours100 hours19 hours54 hours32 hours302 hours
June143 hours80 hours21 hours2 hours25 hours271 hours
July89 hours42 hours1 hours0 hours19 hours151 hours
August112 hours111 hours---33 hours12 hours268 hours
September82 hours72 hours15 hours118 hours16 hours303 hours
October93 hours41 hours46 hours9 hours23 hours212 hours
November65 hours47 hours91 hours5 hours21 hours229 hours

Check back at the end of the month to see what I have managed to do with the rest of December.

Have a good rest of the week!

Jae

Now available: Just Physical

Just Physical coverMy latest lesbian romance, Just Physical, has already been available via the Ylva Publishing website for two weeks, but starting today, you can get it from all major online bookstores. Just Physical is the third book in my Hollywood series, but it has different main characters than the previous books, so it can stand on its own and you’ll be able to enjoy it even if you haven’t read Damage Control and Departure from the Script.

I have to say that I’m particularly proud of Just Physical. It has an unusual main character. Jill Corrigan is an actress who’s been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. While she’s still able to hide her occasional MS symptoms, she doesn’t know what the future will bring for her, so she decided to live her life alone and stay away from relationships. When she meets Kristine “Crash” Patterson, the stuntwoman doubling for her in a disaster movie, the attraction is immediate, but Jill can’t afford to fall in love. They agree on an affair that is just physical and will last only until filming ends…or so they think.

Just Physical is now available via:

Amazon (Kindle)

Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Smashwords

Kobo

Apple

Ylva Publishing

I hope you enjoy it!

As always, comments, feedback, and reviews are highly appreciated!

Jae

Created by Krystel Contreras & Jorge Courbis