Big Guy: New Release

Big Guy coverI’ve released a new novella: Big Guy. It’s a sweet standalone male/male romance with hot guys, weird diets, a happy ending and no cliffhanger.

Overweight Truman Rautigan and his mom are about to be made homeless, but she’s a top slimming salesperson who could win her dream house if Truman comes through with some sales of his own. Instead, he’s stashing food in his bottom drawer and indulging in late-night binges.

When his mom sends him to infiltrate a rival weight loss group, he meets the gorgeous Brad, biker, mechanic and successful slimmer. But Brad couldn’t be interested in Truman, could he? What if he knew Truman’s real reason for being there? Truman could lose everything if his shameful secrets are exposed…

If you want even more bang for your buck, Big Guy is included with two other novellas written by author friends of mine in the Man Strokes bundle. Here, along with the weird diets, you also get werewolves and a wedding. In the bundle:

The Invitation by K.Y. Shelton

Cynical ex-football hunk Jesse needs his wedding booth photography business to keep pulling work to pay his bills. But when a job puts him face to face with an old friend who’d abandoned him years ago, Jesse is furious. Aaron, the nerdy shy guy who vanished without a trace after high school, is taller, broader and alive.

Man Strokes coverJesse knows he needs to speak with him. But the hundreds of guests keep both the photo booth and the best man Aaron busy with activity. And the neurotic wedding planner watches on with an eagle eye. With time running out, Jesse must make a choice. Forge his professional reputation, or confront the old friend who’d broken him all those years ago.

Make Me Howl by Jae Jordon

It’s never fun, when coming out gets you thrown out—especially when you haven’t done any gay stuff yet. It’s worse when you’re not even sure you’re gay. Dale’s had to stay with best friend Kirk since his parents made him homeless. When he tries to find love, he’s attacked. Then two handsome foreigners move in across the street, and Dale finds he knows exactly what he wants. But can he get it?

Juke, a Greenland alpha, must find his true mate before the rise of the next new moon, or be forced to marry the woman chosen by his father. He’s relieved when he senses his mate in the home of Dale and Kirk. Believing his search is over, Juke and his friend go to meet their neighbors. But Juke’s mate is not what he expects—at all.

Two men, with different problems—could each of them be what the other is looking for?

Plus, of course, Big Guy by me 🙂

Click on the cover to see Man Strokes at Amazon. You’ll also find it at Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo and more.

Here’s an extract from Big Guy:

I took a couple of steps into the room. Okay, I wasn’t the only male. I spotted two others, sticking close by the sides of their protective females. Then a third—oh, wow. What a hunk. Big, but muscled, with thick dark hair, wearing jeans and a sleeveless shirt. Those arms—he could have played for the Packers. What was he doing at Luvaloss? He looked perfect as he was. Somebody’s husband, maybe? I hoped not, though I had no reason to care. I had no chance with a guy like that.

While I was lost in awe at his rippling upper body, a cuddly-looking young woman walked up to me, clapped her hands and exclaimed at the top of her voice, “I’m Sarah. And you must be Melinda’s friend’s gay son!”

Everyone stared. Fine, I thought, go ahead and announce my orientation to the whole room. What next? My weight, then my checking account balance?

The hot guy flashed me an amused smile, like he could see right through me. The idea made me nervous. I was here undercover, after all.

Sarah grabbed my arm, and walked me over to a table where three plus-sized ladies were filling out forms. “This is registration. Cassie will be with you soon.”

I nodded to the ladies, and sat down to tackle the form. Mr. Tr—no, wait. ‘Troy’, I wrote. I always liked that name. And ‘Russell’ instead of Rautigan. Russell was my middle name, so it belonged someplace on the form. It could have been a genuine mistake, that I put it under ‘last name’.

Cassie, the group leader, came over before I was done adding my medical history, and gave us the new member briefing. She was younger than Mom, but equally slim and energetic. I guessed a person had to be, to sell weight loss. Why did Mom think I could do it?

I zoned out while Cassie talked about food groups and vitamins. I’d heard it a million times before. I waited for the part where she would tell us about the meal replacements. Then I’d find out what the damage to my wallet would be, and how big of a storage space I’d need for my monthly cartons.

Big Guy and Man Strokes are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Scribd and other online booksellers.

Posted in M/M Romance Ebooks | Leave a comment

Should Fiction Be Free?

Should fiction be free? - image of writer at computerThere’s been a discussion on social media this week about paying writers. Stephen Hull, the Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post UK, said in a radio interview last Thursday: “When somebody writes something for us, we know it’s real, we know they want to write it. It’s not been forced or paid for. I think that’s something to be proud of.”

But they earn money from the ads that run on their site, and they don’t have to share it with any of their contributors (except the salaried ones, presumably including Stephen Hull). Not surprisingly, writers are pretty upset about being told their work is more “real” if it’s not paid for. People in other professions don’t expect to have to work for free.

How about if a company’s owners called their staff together and said, “We want our services to be more authentic, so you guys will be working for us for free from now on. You can leave if you want, but this is the way the sector’s going, so you won’t find other jobs in this industry. It’s a big improvement, because our customers will know you’re doing what you want. Your services won’t be forced or paid for. (And we get to keep all the profits – but of course that’s not why we’re stopping your salaries…)”

Does anybody think the work of a plumber, teacher, doctor or garbage collector would be more “real” if the person wasn’t paid? Aren’t they more likely to do a better job if they ARE paid … because they need to give good value to whoever is paying them?

The same is true of writers, including fiction writers as well as Huff Post journalists. Those who write for free may write very well, but they don’t have any incentive to spend more time on a story than they want to.

They’re likely to write a first draft, put it online and move on to the next idea. Why bother doing the boring parts, like research, rewriting, editing, proofreading and polishing – the work that turns a piece of fiction from clunky and confusing into a seamless, engaging, enjoyable or even thrilling reading experience?

Some fiction readers (like some music fans) think the work of their favourite writers or bands should be free, so they share it on illegal download sites. It’s great that they want to spread the word – but this is the wrong way to do it.

If it’s done on a large scale, it will mean a lot of authors will stop writing, or will write less, or won’t make their work as good as it could be, because they’ll have to earn money another way.

Is that really what readers want?

Let me know in the comments…

Posted in Writing | 1 Comment

Two In One is out

Two In One coverWhen he’s taken to a drag bar by a friend, shy ‘straight guy’ Alex finds he’s fascinated by the girls he sees. But his Cinderella is not so sure that Alex is her prince …

Two In One is a hot and sweet crossdressing short story. It’s set in Manchester, UK, and I originally wrote it for limited release to people attending the 3rd annual UK GLBTQ fiction meet in Brighton.

With the 6th meet coming up in a couple of weeks, I’ve now released the story into the wild. You can get it at Amazon.com and all other Amazon locations.

Length: approx 5,500 words (approx 20 pages)

UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet 2015

I can’t wait for the 6th annual meet which is happening on 11-13 September – in just 12 days! We’ll be in Bristol again and I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones!

The programme is a delight. I’m so tempted by the BDSM workshop on Saturday, even though I don’t see myself writing BDSM. You never know, right?

And Sunday will be a nightmare because we are so spoiled for choice. I have to pick only ONE of these:

  • Character building workshop
  • Humour in fiction
  • No thank you, Delia – reading and writing love & romance without “stuffing the turkey”

And then only ONE of these:

  • Sex scenes, what makes them sizzle? And what turns them into a damp squib?
  • Unlocking your dark side – convincing killers, gripping plots and the like

I want to go to them all! Might have to stick a pin in the programme. What would you pick? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in M/M Romance Ebooks | 2 Comments

UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet 2014 – How Was It For You?

UK Meet Logo

I had a fabulous time at the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet 2014, held at the Marriott Hotel in Bristol on 6-8 June.

150 wonderful people were there — authors, readers, publishers — including some people who ticked all three boxes.

It’s the third meet I’ve been to and I’ve loved them all. They just get better and better! Let me share some of my highlights with you:

Networking!

UK Meet 2014 Bristol Marriott hotelI’ve never learnt to ‘work a room’ but fortunately there were tons of easy opportunities to chat over drinks or food (which was plentiful, to say the least!) or just randomly in corridors. It was great to reconnect with people I’d met before and to make new friends.

The GLBTQ Fiction world is a very friendly one. The first time I went to a meet, I was amazed to find how uncompetitive the authors, publishers and bloggers were.

Of course it’s partly because we’re all such lovely people 🙂 but I think it’s also a feature of the huge potential for growth in the M/M romance and other GLBTQ fiction markets. More writers, more publishers, more books means more public awareness, more readers, more book sales. Win, win, win all round.

Panels

It wasn’t all wine, food (those pastries! those buffets! *drool*) and chatter … I actually learnt a lot, too. And fortunately, I stopped eating long enough to make a few notes so I can pass some of it on. (All opinions and errors here are mine, not the panellists’.) Here’s the lowdown on some of the panels I attended:

Novel Openings

A fun session with 12 writers reading the first 150 words of a novel or story, to remind us how important it is to hit the ground running and grab the reader’s interest in the first paragraph or two.

The opening needs to hook the reader into the main issue/problem of the novel, with no ‘info dumping’ and without introducing too many characters too fast.

Publishing, Covers and Contracts

UK Meet 2014 tote bagThree separate sessions about working with publishers – what to expect, how to find good publishers, how to avoid bad ones, and how to help a cover artist come up with the perfect cover for your book.

For covers, a writer can supply their own stock photos as a suggestion, and it’s worth spending time completing the cover query form. The cover artist won’t read the story, so you need to pass on any physical descriptions of characters that are in the book, including age. If there’s an iconic scene, theme or situation, consider asking the artist to illustrate that.

Finding a good publisher is often a question of asking around. Writers shouldn’t have to pay reading fees or editing fees to a publisher – you may want to hire a commercial editor if you think your book needs it, but that’s separate from the publishing process.

Most ebook publishers are small businesses and any business can fail. One new-to-me tip: as an author, don’t put all your eggs in one basket by giving all your work to the same publisher, however well established. It can be worth taking a risk on newly-established publishers too, but perhaps not with your first book or with a major series.

And it was a surprise for me to discover that when rights revert to the author after the expiry of a published work, it’s only the original submission that the author retains the right to, not the edited and published text – and of course not the cover, unless you provided it.

UK Meet 2014 MintsOff on a tangent …

Since I included the picture of the tote bag above, I’d better explain it was packed full of goodies! My favourites were the rainbow lei, the notebooks (useful!), the USB cable from Wayward Ink, all the pens and chocolates, Clare London‘s seaside rock mints (pictured on the right), and Sarah Granger’s card with a money-off coupon for her M/M historical romance, A Minor Inconvenience, which I’ve read since the Meet and loved.

Avoiding the Mid Novel Crisis

This panel featured Jordan Castillo Price who started us off with a poll on how many writers in the room were ‘pantsers’ (writing by the seat of their pants) and how many were ‘plotters’. I think the split was about 50:50. The consensus seemed to be that mid novel crises are more common for pantsers, because plotters can jump ahead and write a different scene if they feel lost.

I’m mainly a plotter, with a good idea of most of the important scenes in a story (including the end) before I start, but I don’t always know exactly how a couple are going to get together or resolve their issues until they do it, and a lot changes between the first and second draft.

So here are a few of the useful tips for what to do when your plot has disappeared into a black hole and your characters are sulking in their separate rooms:

    • switch from one type of writing tool to another – computer, pen, pencil, audio dictation
    • brainstorm a list of things that COULD happen, however wacky
    • brainstorm a list of things that definitely WON’T happen
    • have someone read what you’ve written so far, and ask them to guess what’s going to happen next (without confessing that you don’t actually know yourself!)

And more …

Keynote speeches were given by author Belinda McBride on writing alongside her role as a carer, and author and publisher Aleksandr Voinov on his writing (in two languages – or was it three?), and gender identity in and out of fiction.

Gala dinnerI embarrassed myself at the Writing Sex Scenes table – expressing myself in the spoken word has never been my strong point – but I picked up a lot of useful tips and reminders there too, e.g. sex is nervewracking! All helped when I needed to organise my thoughts for this post on Anna Butler’s blog after the Meet: Whose Is That Throbbing Member? Writing His & His Sex Scenes

A panel on Marketing offered some eye-opening tips on branding (gave me a much-needed kick to update the design of this blog!) and the Research panel suggested using YouTube to hear how things like car engines really sound.

Finally, it was great to hear about other organisations we can venture into if we want to expand our networking beyond the UK Meet. We heard about the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Prizes can be won at the Lambda Literary Awards and Rainbow Awards. And kudos to Charlie Cochrane who is giving talks at literary festivals and in libraries!

Entertainment

We’ve come a long way from the first meet I attended, in Milton Keynes, where we had a fun but messy shared lunch with everybody bringing a random dish, and dinner, for those who wanted it, in the pub next door. This year, lunches were laid on in the Bristol Marriott hotel. Dinners were optional extras, but booked in advance, and seamlessly smoothly organised.

On Friday, we had a delicious buffet at the Mauretania bar just up the road, followed by stunning entertainment with a beautiful compere and a jaw-dropping male pole dancer 😉

UK Meet gala dinner butlersOn Saturday, we packed the Marriott’s Palm Court restaurant for the gala dinner, with an eclectic mix of entertainment including Eddy OK Adams, the Songbirds LBT choir and the pictured topless butlers wearing nothing but aprons, whose rear views were as revealing as they look!

A little bird told me that Charlie Cochrane booked the choir and Liam Livings booked the butlers … why was I not surprised? 😉

Can’t wait for next year.

All photos are reproduced by kind permission from http://ukglbtfictionmeet.co.uk, where you’ll also find details of next year’s event in due course.

Posted in M/M Romance News | 2 Comments

Wrong Number – my story in Not Quite Shakespeare

NotQuiteShakespeareI have a story coming out in a new anthology from Dreamspinner Press released today, to mark the UK GLBT Fiction Meet this weekend.

The anthology is called ‘Not Quite Shakespeare’ and my story’s titled ‘Wrong Number’. It’s about a young guy in London who accidentally reveals more about himself than he planned, to one of his bosses.

You can see an extract from ‘Wrong Number’ and discover more about me in my interview on Elin Gregory’s blog here:

http://elingregory.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/not-quite-shakespeare-megan-reddaway/

It’s a funny story and I think the opening will make you laugh.

You can order the anthology from Dreamspinner here:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5104

or from Amazon in the USA or UK.

And I’ll be at the meet in Bristol this weekend (6-8 June 2014), so if you’re there, come up and say hello!

Posted in M/M Romance Ebooks | Leave a comment

The Luck of the Irish: Free M/M Romance Ebook

Luck of the Irish coverThe Luck of the Irish is a free ebook first published through Goodreads.

To download, please submit your email using the form on the right of the screen

Kyle is English and he’s lucky. He’s going to Dublin for St Patrick’s Day, and his boss is paying.

Declan is Irish and he’s unlucky. His friends are off to Tenerife for a weekend of gay clubbing, and Declan will be stuck in Dublin alone on St Patrick’s Day. But bad luck is nothing new for Declan. He’s been plagued with it ever since he was cursed by a leprechaun on the night he was born.

When the two of them meet, there’s magic as well as mayhem. But can Declan escape his bad luck long enough to make a real connection with Kyle before Kyle has to fly home to England?

Posted in Free M/M Romance Ebooks | 1 Comment

Bringing Home Baby Bird: Free M/M Romance Ebook

Bringing Home Baby Bird coverBringing Home Baby Bird is a free ebook first published through Goodreads.

To download, please submit your email using the form on the right of the screen

Jules is a French chef who pours all of his energy and emotion into his restaurant. When his sister dies in childbirth, leaving a newborn baby girl, he struggles to hide his grief and cope. He is trying hard to do the right thing, but doesn’t have a clue how to bond with a baby, and his normally calm, decisive manner has failed him with a crying child in his arms. What’s more, it looks like he’s about to lose the one person he has learned to trust. Is there any hope for Jules?

Posted in Free M/M Romance Ebooks | 3 Comments