I'm excited to announce that I'll be attending this retreat for LGBT romance readers and writers as a featured author.
If you're attending and would like to pre-order any of my books to pick up at the retreat, please use the order form below.
If you have any questions regarding GRL or pre-orders for either of my novels, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you there! I'm so excited to meet my readers AND a great deal of my favorite authors!
Disclaimer: The following contains adult content. Please do not proceed unless you are over the age of 18 and perfectly happy reading about gay sex. The following is also subject to change - this hasn't even been super-edited or read by betas yet. This is raw, but I hope you like it.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR RINGS TRILOGY BOOK 3: THE FOREVER VAULT
Chapter 1 ends on a bit of a cliffy, you've been warned
Chapter 1 - Lucas
“If you don’t hurry up, we’re going to be late. How many pairs of underwear do you need?”
“You’re seriously asking me that?” I dragged my suitcase out of our bedroom and was met by Cam’s folded arms and impatient stare. “Wait a minute.” I unzipped the front, reached my hand in, and started digging around.
My fingers felt around as I ignored Cam’s nostril flare. We were like five minutes late. That was on time for me and he knew that.
“Here it is.” Triumphantly, I pulled out a purple jockstrap and held it up for Cam to see.
“That’s it. Your lucky jockstrap?”
“I don’t hear you complaining when it’s all I’m wearing around the house.”
Cam didn’t say anything. Well, any words. In three steps, he had my arms pinned above my head and his tongue tangling with mine. He pulled back to say, “I do like half-naked chore time,” then resumed what I could only describe as a world champion kiss. Cam would win, hands down. The way my body responded to just his mouth on mine…my libido would be set for life.
I was breathless when he took a second to gulp some air. “I thought we were late.”
He smirked, looking down from his whole-inch-taller-than-me vantage point, then slithered his hands around my waist and under the elastic band of my shorts.
“Had to check. I knew you’d be going commando.”
“Easy access, handsome. I was hoping for some quality in-flight entertainment.”
Cam groaned and pulled back. “I bet. Stuff your jock in the bag. If we forgot something, my mom can bring it later.”
“Oh yeah, I see that going well.” I held an imaginary phone to my ear. “Hi Heather, we’re going to need you to swing by the house to pick up a few things we forgot. Cam’s leather harness and metal cockring, my crotchless booty shorts, and the nipple clamps on the dresser. Not the ones in the bathroom next to our matching Fleshjacks. And don’t go in the den, we don’t want you to see the sling just yet.”
Cam rolled his eyes and shoved me towards the door then picked up both our suitcases. “Let’s go!” I grabbed the keys from the hook by the door and held it open for Cam, locking it behind us.
Cam’s mother lived about fifteen minutes from our house. What was Cam’s mother’s great aunt’s cottage was now our home. It took us a few years to make it liveable - the flooded bathroom was no joke - but we had been in it for over a year now. I still had to pinch myself every now and then. It seemed like a fantasy.
I slowed the car down in front of the flower shop, rolling to a stop.
“Cutting it a little close, boys,” Heather said, as she opened the door.
“You know whose fault that is, Mom.”
I gave her a sheepish grin in the rearview as she sat down and buckled up. It was a thirty minute drive to Tampa International Airport. After dropping us off, Heather was taking our car back to the house, so we didn’t have to pay parking for three weeks. She’d be coming to San Francisco in a week or so, in time for the opening ceremonies.
“What was it this time? The coin, or something I don’t want to know about?”
I let off the gas and tried to remember.
“Don’t worry, tiger. I got it.” Cam read my mind.
“I’m not joking. It’s right here.” He pulled the platypus coin out of his pocket.
I let out a big breath. His ability to know what I was thinking was uncanny. One of the benefits of living together for almost four years.
“Haven’t you done this before?” Heather asked, leaning forward to rub my shoulder.
I chuckled and unclenched my asshole.
Well, just a little bit. Tampa traffic was a bitch.
“I still can’t believe your mom got us these tickets for my birthday.”
She surprised me with them at my birthday dinner in May. Cam smiled, leaned over and puckered his lips. I kissed him, knowing he needed it. He hated flying.
“It’s like she loves you or something.” Cam shrugged and fiddled with the safety brochure.
“Can I get you gentlemen anything before we take off?”
I glanced up to see an appreciative smile and amber eyes that seemed to sparkle. In that way.
Stereotypically, male flight attendants had a reputation. I laughed a little on the inside because the reputation was not unearned. Every flight. It never failed. A guy would find us and give us extra whatever we needed. It happened with the women, too.
I knew Cam and I were famous. Not like Chris Hemsworth or anything, but something told me this gentleman wasn’t going to be our first admirer of the day.
After all, it was a six hour flight.
“I’ll take a Sex on the Beach.”
I watched the guy’s eyes bulge for a second before he hid his smirk.
It was early, but I knew Cam was nervous. I didn’t mind a tipsy Cam either. He got handsy.
“We’re actually not supposed to serve alcohol just yet,” he said, lowering his voice, “but I’ll make an exception for you. Would you like something, Lu-?”
There it is.
“I mean, sir.”
I knew he recognized us.
“Just a Diet Coke, thanks.”
“If you need anything else, just let me know. My name’s Sean.”
It had been a few hours since they served us breakfast, and despite having two dedicated flight attendants for first class - including Sean from earlier - I had counted at least four others traversing through the cabin already. Seemingly, they had purpose, but I made eye contact with every one of them before they glanced away. I still found it odd to be recognized, especially in non-athletic settings.
I jumped a little as I felt a caress on my thigh. I looked down and watched Cam’s hand slide up the leg of my shorts.
I glanced around out of habit. I knew we had some privacy since the seats were asymmetrical across the aisle, but anyone could walk by and see us, including Sean.
“Really, Cam?” I whispered. “Here?!”
“What? You’re the one that went commando. That’s practically an invitation.”
“Last night’s fuckfest wasn’t enough for you?”
Cam seemed to think about it for a minute. “That was your send-off. Like when they break the bottle of champagne on the bow of a ship. You know, for a good voyage.”
“If only cum were champagne-flavored.” I jolted in my seat as his fingertips made contact with my balls. My hormones were on their way to kill my brain cells. Rational thoughts were trying to form. I looked down, knowing what I’d see. My shorts were tenting.
Cam’s touch still drove me wild.
“Not here, Cam!” I managed to get out. “The bathroom on the right. Meet me in a minute. Knock twice, I’ll let you in.”
“Better than in front of everybody!”
“Aren’t two guys in the bathroom kind of obvious?”
“Now, you’re bashful?! I don’t think Sean is going to give us any problems. He probably would either watch or participate, and the other first class passengers are asleep or watching TV. No one will care.”
“The flight attendant that’s been undressing us since we left Tampa.”
“Oh.” Cam smiled, before whispering, “I kind of like the idea of him knowing.”
I gave him a kiss and headed to the back of the first class cabin.
As I waited for Cam, I had a slight moment of panic that he might knock on the other bathroom door, but my worries were misplaced. I heard two knocks and cracked the door. It was Cam.
“Hey, got a dick in there for me?” Cam giggled.
I wanted to roll my eyes, but my dick responded for me. Cam slipped in and immediately cupped my bulge through my shorts.
He maneuvered around me, pushing me against the door, as he took a seat on the toilet lid.
In mere seconds, my shorts were on the floor and his mouth was wrapped around my dick. Cam was a natural from the start, but he had perfected his technique with some coaching over the years. He knew exactly how rough he could be with my dick and that knowledge was paying off. I could feel my balls tightening already. When his other hand made its way up my inner leg and a finger snaked its way to my hole, I about lost it.
“Stop, Cam. I’m gonna nut. Don’t you wanna cum?”
He smiled, then fished something out of his pocket.
He stood up, handed me the lube, pulled his shorts off over his sneakers and tossed them on the sink. And then, in a way only a gymnast could, braced himself against the wall and brought his feet up and around to rest on the angled ceiling over his head. It was like something from a Spider-man porn parody and my dick approved. I had a thing for Tom Holland, so it helped.
Cam’s hole was ready and waiting at the perfect height. Quickly, I slathered my dick with lube and squirted some on his hole, pushing a few wet fingers inside of him.
I watched him squirm. His dick flexed with each ingress.
I dropped the lube on his shorts and moved closer, positioning my dick perfectly before pushing in. I knew after last night he was loose, so as soon as my head breached his muscle, I pushed the rest of it all the way.
Cam’s eyes rolled back and his legs dropped from the ceiling to my shoulders. I wrapped my left hand around one for leverage and started pistoning in and out, making sure to slam in hard. Cam liked it like that, and I liked hearing the sound of my balls slapping against his body. They liked it rough too.
“Mmm,” Cam moaned.
“Not - so - loud.” I said between thrusts.
“Can’t help it! Ah!” Unintelligible noises. “You’re hitting the right spot.”
Cam tried to reach for his dick, but he started slipping down the wall if he let go on either side. After two failed attempts, I said, “Here, let me.”
I stopped fucking for a few seconds. That gave me enough time to push his left leg off my shoulder and brace his foot on the sink before I started pounding him again. My right hand was free to wrap itself around that which gave me more orgasms than anything else. The cock of my dreams.
It surprised me a bit when Cam wanted to get fucked again, especially since we did just that the night prior, but I wasn’t going to question it. And not that I was keeping score, but his cock had been inside me way more times than the other way around. Honestly, I’d take sex any way I could get it. And while I would never admit it to him - not wanting to take away his enjoyment of being on the receiving end - I much preferred being on the bottom. Kneeling on all fours with Cam pulling my hair as he literally forced the cum out of my dick via pummeling my ass was my heaven.
“Harder! I’m close.”
Brought back to the moment, I renewed my intensity and focused on the cock in hand.
“Ah. Aaaah. More! Fuck me. Fuck the cum out of me.”
At this point, someone had to have heard the sound my balls were making, but I gave zero fucks. Well, I gave one fuck. To Cam. What seemed like the fuck or our lives.
I kept my current pace and watched Cam reach to pull up his shirt as the first blast painted his abs. The spurts kept coming and only took a few more seconds before the first wave of ecstasy crashed down, pushing me over the edge. With each of my deposits, I slammed all the way in until I had nothing left but a shudder.
Trying to catch his breath, Cam said, “Fuck, that was hot.”
“You think that was? I’ll be hard for the rest of the flight knowing you’re filled up with my cum.”
Cam rolled his head back. “Fuuuck. This is like the dirtiest sex we’ve ever had.”
I pulled my dick out slowly and pushed his shorts and the lube aside to wet a paper towel. I attempted to wash my dick as well as I could before pulling my shorts up. I pocketed the lube, then gave Cam some space at the sink.
He exhaled loudly and collected himself. “You think anyone noticed?”
“Would we have done that if we cared?”
Cam shrugged. “I guess not. The price to pay for being a horny twenty-seven year old.”
“For two more months.”
“Why do you have to point out I’m older than you all the time?”
“Maybe I like ‘em older.” I gave his neck a nuzzle and a little lick.
“Hmm. I bet. All those guys you see behind my back, right?”
I mock-gasped. “You know about them?”
He shoved me back against the wall. “You dick. You ready? I’ll go first, then you can come a bit later.”
“Isn’t that what I just did?’
“You love me.”
Cam paused. “Fuck yeah, I do.”
Cam popped the door open just a bit.
Sean was holding a washcloth in front of Cam’s face. “Uh, thanks.” He grabbed it, then shut the door behind him. I locked it.
He was probably listening the whole time.
I’m sure he didn’t get paid enough to deal with this. But maybe he enjoyed it? Surely, this must happen all the time.
I rechecked my reflection in the mirror. Yup, sex face. Definitely sex face. Whatever. I was nervous to get caught before, but now that we had successive fan-fucking-tastic orgasms, I didn’t care anymore.
I opened the door. It looked like a washcloth for me too. I smiled, said, “Thank you,” and then dared to look him in the eye.
“Wish I could be of more service,” Sean said, glancing down at my crotch.
I bet you do, you dirty minx.
Cam and I weren’t ones to fool around with other guys. We had tried something with a masseur a few years back, but it was clear we were too possessive of each other. Heavy flirting was about all we could handle. Colton and Zephyrus were fun to hang out with, and Ty and Declan as well, but other than some naked vacations, it was never sexual. For me and Cam, anyway.
“Uh, thanks.” I handed him back the washcloth. I used it on my hands. I wasn’t sure what he expected. Was I supposed to pull my shorts down and swipe my cock in front of him?
I made my way back to the seat where Cam had his head back and eyes closed. He wasn’t worried about hiding the tent in his shorts.
“I can see your dick,” I whispered.
“I can’t help it. I’m committing all of that to permanent memory.”
“Top three! Easily.”
Not bad for tiny airplane bathroom sex.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. Sean was attentive without being overtly inappropriate, though I saw him scoping out Cam’s bulge a few times. Honestly, it was always hard to miss. Even if he wasn’t hard, he more than filled his briefs.
After our fuck, he fell asleep and stayed thay way the rest of the flight. I spent my time watching the news, looking through the Olympic information Shane had sent me, and playing with the Olympic app. The Olympic Village was built around newly constructed dorms at the University of California’s San Francisco campus. A few new venues had been constructed, including the Olympic Stadium. It would become the new home of the 49ers afterward.
San Francisco had a good transport system, but it wasn’t quite as sophisticated as London. And there wasn’t a huge Olympic complex like either of the other games.. The venues were spread throughout the city, with some as far south as Palo Alto and San Jose. The gymnastics events would be held at the Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors.
“We’re here.” I nudged Cam awake.
Fuck. Sleepy Cam was hot. His bed head was my Viagra, and despite having fucked my cum into him three times in the last twenty-four hours, I felt the blood rushing to my dick.
“Hope you enjoyed the flight, gentlemen. Good luck, Lucas.”
“Uh, yeah, thanks.”
Sean disappeared into the galley as Cam and I gathered our belongings.
“Someone has a fan,” Cam whispered.
“I think he would’ve taken either of us.”
“Probably at the same time, spit-roasted.”
Now, there’s an image. He did look pretty lean under that button down.
We didn’t have to wait for our bags or our Uber for long. Despite having been up for almost eight hours, it was still early here. Pacific time. Yay. One of the many reasons to get to the Olympics early. Our bodies could adjust to the time difference.
The driver was pretty friendly. He hadn’t recognized us when we said what we were in town for, and gave us some recommendations for restaurants and other stuff to see. It was nice to see mountains again. I’m sure they were actually hills, but to a Floridian, they were mountains, and while downtown Tampa had some overpasses, it was nothing compared to this. I was thankful to not have to drive in an unfamiliar city. The benefits of technology.
The UCSF campus was just south of Golden Gate Park, another area of the city where they had constructed a few Olympic venues including the Aquatic Center used for swimming, diving and water polo. I had read that the university had almost all of its residences demolished to build new ones, and the college hadn’t had to pay for any of it. They’d have entirely new facilities for its students after the games were over.
The driver pulled into the dropoff area and parked. The next stop was already requested, but I wanted to make sure he’d wait.
“We’re just going to say goodbye, if you wouldn’t mind waiting for a minute.”
“That’s fine. The app will figure it out.”
Cam let go of my hand and got out on his side. The driver had popped the trunk. I slung my gym bag over my shoulder and pulled my suitcase out of the back. Cam followed me to the sidewalk. The flirtiness of the airplane was gone. Nothing we had done with our dicks could help at this moment. We tried. I tried. But I always knew this was going to be hard.
“Say ‘Hi’ to Orion for me. Hope the babies don’t give you too much trouble.”
My sweet Cam. Putting on a brave face. I knew he was crushed, so I just nodded and smiled.
“I love you. Text me when you get to the hotel.”
“I wish you could stay with me.”
“I do too, but Coach is relying on me to help the newbies. They’re pretty green.”
“I know. I just needed to say it.” Cam paused. “I guess I’ll see you when I see you.”
“It won’t be more than a few days.”
That would be the longest we hadn’t seen each other in years.
Cam bit his lip and nodded. “O-okay.” His body slammed into mine and his arms wrapped around my torso, squeezing me as hard as he could. “I miss you already,” he whispered into my ear.
“I know. I’ll miss you too, handsome.”
He pulled back, grabbed my face, and gave me a kiss. There was tongue, there was need. It said everything he needed to say.
“I love you.”
“I love you more,” I replied.
Without a second glance, Cam slammed the door and the car pulled away, leaving me at the curb, watching his blonde waves recede into the distance.
If you're already a member of Finn Dixon's MMenagerie or follow me on Instagram, then you're already aware of the title of my next book.
But here it is, for everyone visiting here.
The Forever Vault
So, The Small But Might MM Romance Group (on facebook) held a Wedding Flash Fic event for March/April, and I chose the following prompt: "You know I have a twin, right?"
It was Janice W.'s suggestion and I just couldn't resist. I love the idea of twins, and I have a dirty mind, so the short story below is what I came up with. 1246 words.
I shall call it,
THE LINGERING SCENT OF SEMEN.
Fuck. I overslept. Jake was gonna kill me.
I mean, it wasn’t completely awful. I was like the third best man. Fourth? Who even knew?
My childhood best friend and professional soccer player, Jake, was marrying his teammate, Landon, in - I felt around for my watch - less than an hour.
It wasn’t so bad, just a ten minute walk to the beach.
It was an unconventional ceremony to say the least. No bridesmaids. The wedding party was a sausage fest and that happened to be my favorite kind of meat.
What I had seen of the guests at all the pre-wedding cocktail receptions and rehearsals had certainly kept my cock hard all week. These were certainly memories to last me a lifetime, let alone the grooms.
My choice of bedmate last night had apparently already left. His sweet hole was fucked into oblivion. Jake and Landon had some athletic friends with fucking tight-ass bodies. And the goddamn endurance. My dick was hardening again just at the thought of his quivering hole. His shaky voice asking me to pound him, the sweat dripping off his brow, the way he threw his head back when I’d hit that spot.
Three times for me in one night was a record, but Cale. Four times. I’d have to find him again. My dick’s Magic 8-Ball powers were pointing to ‘yes.’
I wouldn’t have time for a shower, so a whore’s bath for me it was. I doubted the lingering scent of semen would even be noticed at this ceremony.
I grabbed my tux from the closet and a jockstrap from my suitcase and dashed into the bathroom. I needed to brush my teeth and double check that I didn’t have cum lingering in my beard.
It wasn’t just four loads. It was four geysers.
I’d have to tip the cleaning crew well. My room was not pretty right now, but they must be used to it. I mean, come on, it’s a gay resort, in Hawaii. I was certain fans of Jackson Pollock would delight in the results of a black light test in these rooms.
In less than ten minutes, I was in the elevator, heading down. The groomsmen - all, like, twelve of us - were supposed to gather in a building just off the beach. I’m sure everyone was tittering over Jake and Landon. I had already answered Jake’s angry texts, telling him I was on the way. I lied and said I had a wardrobe malfunction. He asked if that meant I was still naked.
Me: 😆 Don’t want to pull focus from the grooms.
Jake: Seeing your dick would make a lot of people cry.
Oh Jake. He was a ball of laughs.
With half an hour to spare, I made it to the groom room. Rod pod? Pickle party?
I soon realized that we were kind of divided up by who we were better friends with. I knew I had entered Landon’s room almost immediately, so I made for the door at the far end, but my eye caught on some familiar blond curls.
Fucking yes. The gods were smiling upon me. It was Cale. Of course he was here for the wedding.
The two guys he was talking to halted their conversation to gawk at me, causing Cale to turn and sure enough, he broke into a wide smile when he saw me.
I had to hand it to him, the dude had balls. Not even a blush. Even after the way he slobbered all over my cock, begging me to breed him. His little whines when I went too hard, and the way he shamelessly fucked himself on my dick when I had to take a break from thrusting.
He turned away to continue talking to ogler number one.
Playing hard to get, I see.
I walked up behind him, getting real close - like dick pressing into cheek close. I was gonna give the guys a show. If he didn’t want to ride again, their lips certainly looked prime to swallow tonight’s loads. I leaned in, my chest making contact with his back. I watched him shiver as my breath ghosted his ear.
I whispered loud enough for the other two to hear. “I hope you still have my loads inside you.”
He froze. The other guys froze. Then he slowly turned, smiled, and while shaking his head, said. “You know I have a twin, right?”
What? No. No, I did not know that.
“Twin? So, uh…you’re not Cale.”
He shook his head again. I could see the other two staring, trying to hold back laughter.
“Nope, name’s Cole, and I kind of feel at a disadvantage too because one, I don’t know your name, and two, you’ve seen what I look like naked.”
I had to laugh. “Finn. I’m…uh…Jake’s bestie.”
“I’m surprised…I haven’t seen you before. Landon and I went to the same summer camp for years. He liked soccer. I liked swimming.”
I recovered quickly. “I’m guessing you still like it with a body like that. And now that you know my name, if you want to remedy the other part of that, call me. My body looks great naked.”
I gave him my business card. A bit tacky, but to the point. Guys were usually turned on by my career as a massage therapist. And while I was the consummate professional, I knew my way around a muscular body.
I cheekily added, “Maybe your brother could help show you around. He’s pretty familiar with it.”
“I’ll have to ask him if you’re worth it.”
“Go ahead, but I’m confident in the results of my treatment. I haven’t heard a lot of those sounds before.”
I could practically see the gears in his head turning. He was intrigued.
“I’ll be in touch.”
Fuck yeah you will.
I made my exit, stopping to take a swig from an open bottle of whiskey by the door, before entering the other room. I was promptly met by Jake.
“Here you fucking are. What took so long?”
A familiar voice answered for me. “Apparently, he was flirting with my brother.”
I turned to see…Cale…holding his phone.
That was quick.
“Jesus, Finn. How many holes has that thing been in this week? You’re like the Johnny Appleseed of cum, for fuck’s sake.”
Jake threw his hands up and turned back to the mirror to fuss with his hair.
Cale approached me. “Yes.”
“I do still have your loads inside of me,” he whispered. “And I’ve convinced Cole to let you fuck him tonight. I told him you’re the best fuck I’ve ever had, so you better have a lot more cum in that beast."
I had no verbal response. My dick was rock hard and would’ve been completely visible to everyone in the room had Cale not been pressed against it. I regained enough composure to answer, “Plenty. So, how do you know Jake?”
“Funnily enough. We met at summer camp ten years ago. I took Jake’s virginity the same night Cale took Landon’s. They didn’t know we were twins. They were just as confused as you, but we had more fun with it at first. You know…swapping.”
My eyes widened at the thought of those past scenes. I could feel myself leaking in my jock.
“Our record for one night was seven loads between the two of us. I told Cole I think we can break that tonight with you. If you’re up for it.” He squeezed my crotch…hard. “Hmm…seems like you are.”
So...yeah. Having a blog, and an alternate social media profile, and a social media page, and an Instagram account...well, you get the idea. It's a lot to juggle and not my favorite part of being an author.
It's been a busy few weeks. Work is hectic. My fiance and I FINALLY moved into the house we bought back in August. It was built in 1948 and needed a lot of cosmetic work! I also released my second book, Floored by Love, on December 29th, which...yeah...was almost two months ago, so I guess it's been a busy few months.
And I just registered for GayRomLit - an LGBT romance reader/author retreat/convention/thingy. I'm also working on book three in the Rings Trilogy, so there's that. More to come at some point, I'm sure. ;-)
Say what now?
Looking back at my ramble about negative reviews is slightly laughable. Ain't nobody got time for that. Anymore.
I am knee deep in remodeling a house with my boyfriend, and I've barely had time to write. Well, I haven't written at all. Since September.
I've been plugging away at editing book two, and I'm almost done. Then, it's one final read through and I'll publish. Hopefully before the end of the year.
Also, we will hopefully be moved in by the end of the year,
On the plus side, I have a writing nook planned for the new house. And I'm so excited to go shopping for a big comfy chair (to write in) and a huge bookshelf to put all my books on.
I've also been brainstorming so many more ideas beyond my Champions Series. I love my gymnasts, and I plan on writing the spinoffs, but once the main trilogy is out, I'm going to try to write a spinoff of the series and a standalone completely unrelated at the same time.
We'll see how it goes!
Apparently, light switch is two words. I had to google it. ;-)
So, good news can send me into the stratosphere and bad news can put me down in the dumps. I've always been like this. My mood can change instantaneously, and the worst part is usually everyone can tell. My face is a mood ring.
In a perfect world where I'm perfect Finn, I should be happy. As my boyfriend puts it, my debut novel has over 4 stars on both Goodreads and Amazon, I should be happy. I. Should. Be. Happy.
But, gosh darn it. One negative review and I'm like super down for a long time.
Most of the authors I asked on social media said to ignore reviews, but it's so hard. I want to interact with my fans. I want to read the good reviews. It's just when I check, I remember what my rating was the last time - I have a good memory for some things - and then I know if it went down or up. Ahhh.
I wish I could just forget about it, but the positive reviews really, really uplift me.
The frustrating part is that they were honest, which I appreciate - I don't want lies - and I can understand that they didn't like my book. I know not everyone is going to like every book. I do appreciate detailed criticism more than just a 1 star rating with no comment (it happened).
I know I certainly don't like every book - that's literally why I started writing in the first place. I felt what I was reading was not a realistic portrayal of a gay relationship. It was missing something.
But I also didn't leave a negative review.
The more frustrating part is my most recent criticism could be applied to a number of immensely well-reviewed and popular books, but those criticisms aren't written because (I feel) they are establishment authors. Is it easier to pick on the new kid? Is there a mob mentality to MM romance?
I recently felt like a last book in a recent series was the worst of the series, but most of the reviews seemed to say it was the best of the bunch. I didn't understand it at all.
I've read plenty of dual POV where I couldn't tell the two characters apart. I've read plenty of books where the sports is barely mentioned even though the MCs are both athletes. And repetition? Everyone does that. I've read the same phrasing in like three books by the same author. If I read the phrase "so damn big" one more time, I'm going to explode.
At least I don't have a typo in my book (no one's pointed one out yet) - I've totally seen that in seasoned authors' books.
Why am I so salty? I probably shouldn't post this, but I have no filter. Oh well.
Some of the criticism, I totally understand. Could some of the words been cut? Absolutely. I didn't have $1800 to pay to an editor. Do some of the characters sound similar, or is the language repetitive? Yes. Again, I couldn't afford to pay a professional editor, so I relied on beta readers and friends. I changed literally everything that they criticized, so I did my best. That kind of criticism I can stand behind because I agree, my book could've been tighter.
That's the industry though. I can't please everyone and I certainly won't, and if you've read this far, thanks for coming to my TED talk. I am going to take a little bit of every criticism into consideration because I do want to be a better writer.
But honestly, I just like writing, and I'm going to write what I want to write, and not what people will like or what will sell.
I like writing stories that could be real, that feel real, and yes, in romance there is an element of fantasy, but my fantasy is grounded in reality. There are people of color, there are women, there is sex, there is profanity, there is sarcasm. All of this is real to me. If it's not your experience, then you won't think it's real. It's as simple as that.
I certainly wouldn't spend so much time with my characters if I didn't like them. But I do want others to like them too, and I hope you do.
...with book 2.
SPOILER ALERT - DO NOT CONTINUE TO READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ RINGS OF LUST
More details to come in good time, but I've had a blast writing this one.
There was a rather implosive end to book 1 that quite a few people didn't like, but even more people are excited to see what's in store for Cam and Luke. How will their Happily Ever After happen?
And where is the next book set? Did Luke rejoin Cam back at college in Florida? Or did Luke's parents stay true to their word and transfer him?
I'm excited to share it, but first I must edit, and my faithful few beta readers must give me feedback, and then it will be yours, my lovely readers.
And that will be good for all of us. :)
Well, when I started writing Rings of Lust as it would eventually be called - picking book titles is not my favorite part of this process - I wasn't confident I would actually publish. But as the words became chapters, and the chapters became 31 chapters, I realized I had done it. I had written a book.
I'm proud of myself for following through. I've had strangers and friends read it, found a program that helped me edit it, and then worked through the process with Amazon to get it done. I also hired an amazing cover artist (Story Stylings Cover Design) and promotion team (GRR) that polished the final product and made it more professional. They certainly helped me to cross the finish line, so to speak. Should I have said reach the podium?
One thing I've never been good at is criticism though, and boy, does it take everything in me to not respond to certain comments or questions. There really isn't an avenue for that, unless they reach out to me through here, instagram, or facebook. It also seems passive aggressive to counter every opinion and nobody (including me) likes that. I mean, I should be (and am) flattered they chose to read my book in the first place. I just hope they stick around for the second book, because I think the choices that some readers are having a hard time understanding are going to be explained.
Rings of Lust was born from the idea of giving a past transgression a full book, i.e. an entire novel to lead up to and explain what had happened was. In most of the books that I've read that have had this type of thing in it, it is mentioned as an aside, an afterthought, an MC's memory, or a series of flashbacks.
Something big happens in Rings of Lust, but you get the build-up, you get to know the characters back then. I've probably given too much away about where I am heading in the following books, but oh well.
They will likely be more "familiar" to readers of MM romance because they take place in the "aftermath" of the "event" and involve the will-they-won't-they slow-burn(?) more traditional trope of the couple coming together after the past incident that I think a lot of readers love and enjoy. My book 2 will essentially be like a traditional MM romance. In that way, Rings of Lust was more of a prequel, but one that I wrote before the original (i.e. book 2). Is any of this making sense?
So, I hope for some this clarifies one really big decision in this book. I wanted the impact on the reader to mimic the impact on the character and I decided it was the only way.
Remember when a TV show had a season finale and you had to wait a few months to see what happened?
You should only have to wait a few months. I hope to have book 2 out by the end of 2021.
If you have any other questions about my thought process, I'd love to hear them. I know Luke's parents are an enigma to some readers, the amount of sex has been mentioned, the realness of the sex (as a gay man...well, I shouldn't have to explain that), and here I go starting to get defensive again. See! It's really hard. ;-)
If you enjoyed my book, please leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. I'm sure my constant checking of both pages will end at some point, right?
Well, it's out there, and I feel like Sally Field.
You like me! You really like me! *cries cries cries*
Seriously, the kind words I've received make me feel really good, and more determined to finish book two asap.
If you have a blog or instagram and you'd like to participate in an early reading and the release party, sign up with the link below.
I'm working with Gay Romance Reviews to help promote Rings of Lust. I'd love to have you!