Katie McGarry

Release Day Blitz for Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

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Walk the Edge - RWB banner    

One moment...

That’s all it takes to change your life.

What happens when your entire future is on the line because of one reckless moment? This is what Breanna Miller and Thomas “Razor” Turner have to face in Katie McGarry’s WALK THE EDGE. Blackmail, family secrets, future plans on the verge of collapsing, two people who aren’t supposed to be together fall in love, and the power of social media in defining who you are when you’re not even sure who that person is yet…Join the Club and and immerse yourself in the world of the Reign of Terror. Pick up WALK THE EDGE today!
    Walk the Edge - cover

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds 

Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyberbully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life. 

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules. 

And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.
 



 

  Walk the Edge - The Boy Everyone Needs

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Author Bio and links

Katie McGarry - author pic
Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. 

Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.



 

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EXCERPT


“I’m here about your mother.” The asshole knows he has me when my eyes snap to his. 

“She’s dead.” Like the other times I say the words, a part of me dies along with her. 

This guy has green eyes and they soften like he’s apologetic. “I know. I’m sorry. I’ve received some new evidence that may help us discover what caused her death.” 

Anger curls within my muscles and my jaw twitches. This overwhelming sense of insanity is what I fight daily. For years, I’ve heard the whispers from the gossips in town, felt the stares of the kids in class, and I’ve sensed the pity of the men in the Reign of Terror I claim as brothers. It’s all accumulated to a black, hissing doubt in my soul. 

Suicide. 

It’s what everyone in town says happened. It’s in every hushed conversation people have the moment I turn my back. It’s not just from the people I couldn’t give two shits about, but the people who I consider family. 

I shove away those thoughts and focus on what my father and the club have told me—what I have chosen to believe. “My mother’s death was an accident.” 

He’s shaking his head and I’m fresh out of patience. I’m not doing this. Not with him. Not with anyone. “I’m not interested.” 

I push off the railing and I did out the keys to my motorcycle as I bound down the steps. The detective’s behind me. He has a slow steady stride and it irritates me that he follows across the yard and doesn’t stop coming as I swing my leg over my bike. 

“What if I told you I don’t think it was an accident,” he says. 

Odds are it wasn’t. Odds are every whispered taunt in my direction is true. That my father and the club drove Mom crazy, and I wasn’t enough of a reason for her to choose life. 

To drown him out, I start the engine. This guy must be as suicidal as people say Mom was because he eases in front of my bike assuming I won’t run him down. 

“Thomas,” he says. 

I twist the handle to rev the engine in warning. He raises his chin like he’s finally pissed and his eyes narrow on me. “Razor.” 

I let the bike idle. If he’s going to respect me by using my road name, I’ll respect him for a few seconds. “Leave me the fuck alone.” 

Damn if the man doesn’t possess balls the size of Montana. He steps closer to me and drops a bomb. “I have reason to believe your mom was murdered.” 

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Amy Jo Cousins

Review: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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Title: Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Bend or Break #6 and #7)
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
Date of publication: 22 March 2016
Genre/Themes: Romance, queer
Author's links:
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My rating: 4.5 Stars


Synopsis

When friends lose the benefits, can the friendship be saved?

Love Me Like A Rock

With the right art tools, there’s almost nothing Austin can’t make real. Except an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.

Emotional and sexual frustration fuel a spark between Austin and Sean, the nude model in drawing class. After a quick and very dirty encounter, all the reasons Austin has been waiting for Vinnie go fuzzy in his mind. 

But if Austin can’t get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose both his friend, and his lover.

Hard Candy

Vincent always assumed he and Austin would eventually end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss. 

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with Bryan, a dance major, Vinnie is drawn to his vibrant spirit and calm center. 

Physically, the rowing jock and the glittery dancer can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction. 

Review 


This is a joint review of the two novellas, Love Me Like a Rock and Hard Candy, included in this volume. These are the stories of Austin and Vinnie who are roommates and teammates to Denny and Raffi from Level Hands. We saw just glimpses of both of them in this book but I got the idea that they will end up as a couple eventually.

Now, since I stalk Amy Jo Cousins on all social media, a while back I came upon her sharing an excerpt of her WIP which clearly showed that Vinnie and Austin will get their stories told but they will end up with different partners. To say I was surprised would be an understatement but I was also excited to see who she would pair them with.

So, here we are now, starting with Austin, who met the geologist Sean posing as a nude model for the art students in college.

In two words, I absolutely loved their romance. In more detail, I found it very emotional and intense. Being in Austin’s head was such a pleasure, seeing his journey from getting over Vinnie (passing through the stage admitting that things with Vinnie are not working for him, which is hard when this is the only thing you know about love/relationships. As usually, Amy Jo Cousins is a master of presenting the angst and emotional turmoil of young people, finding out who they are and what they want from life/love. It takes a hard and painful look at oneself and one’s relationship experience to admit that you are not happy with what you have and want more.

And it was Sean, opposite to Vinnie and in many respects to Austin (I’ll just say 'camping' camping here) who helped him realise things about himself. I liked how their relationship developed smoothly and naturally. There was not forced change, no need to be different, just the gradual realisation that what they had between them made them both happy. It may not have been what either of them expected initially, or in Austin’s case, not something he was actively searching for, but it was just what they needed.

On to Vinnie’s story now. I admit initially I was more interested in Vinnie than Austin, he appeared an enigma, not too much into sex, super focused and organised, a bit of a bore, yet a loyal friend and teammate.

I enjoyed discovering more about him but ultimately ended loving Austin’s romance more. I shouldn’t be comparing them because they are so radically different though in the end they achieved the same goal, made Austin and Vinnie happy and satisfied with their lives, something that never happened when they were together.

Vinnie appeared cold and kind of disinterested, only initiating intimacy with Austin after he had finished his more important tasks and he had had a few drinks (for courage). But he was different with Bryan, we saw his vulnerability, his insecurity and I found this really touching. 

Bryan was an unlikely match for Vinnie – out and proud, flamboyant, someone who could never pass for straight and who didn’t even want to. He had his own demons and fears to deal with but he was so good for Vinnie.

Despite the initial impressions they turned out to be more compatible than anyone would have thought – sexually, emotionally. They also challenged each other and this was good for them, a way to find their place, very much like Austin, Vinnie learned what he actually liked and wanted in life/love and got the courage to state it openly and go for it.

At times I felt Bryan pushed him too much, too far, making Vinnie act of character and out of his comfort zone. It could be seen as necessary for him to better understand himself and become more confident/comfortable with himself but it found it too much. This is just a minor quibble in a rich story which I very much enjoyed it. 

Fans of the Bend or Break series woudn't want to miss these two excellent addtions to the series! And if you haven't read any of Amy Jo Cousins' books before, what are you waiting for?


Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks


My reviews of the previous books in the Bend or Break series:

Elle Kennedy

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

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Title: Us (Him #2)
Author: Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Genre: NA Romance, Hockey, M/M
Release Date: 8 March 2016

Author's links:
Sarina Bowen: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
Elle Kennedy: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 Stars
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Synopsis

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly? 


Review


I loved the first book about Wes and Jamie (my review) and was excited to hear that there will be a sequel. It's rare that we see in romance how life goes on for our favourite couple after they get together and I'm very much interested in how couples make it work in the long (or shorter) term. 

This book brilliantly shows us two young dudes, hockey players (Wes - an NHL super star in his rookie season and Jamie - a kids hockey coach). They love each other, they have the support of Jamie's family but life/professional obligations force them to keep their relationship in the closet. And they both understand the need to act this way but over time it all takes its toll. 

I felt their struggles to make their relationship work were real and very convincingly presented. I liked how despite their love and the strong chemistry between them, there were moments of insecurity, confusion, the occasional quarral which all made their story not just a fairytale but real-life experience I found believabel and easy to relate to.

In short, I loved everything in the story. I liked how it explored some serious issues modern day couples face - the financial difference between Jamie and Wes was treated with care and understanding and it's an important element in any relationship and is often neglected in romance. There is also the routine, daily stuff that new couples need to work out, to find the right balance between their work commitments and family time. 

Jamie and Wes were young sports guys and they just wanted to be normal, like the rest of the hockey guys they knew and didn't feel the need to be activists, though I appreciate the significance given to the  issues of homophobia  and hate speech Jamie had to deal with at his work place. I think the problem was handled well, sending the right message without being preachy. 

IAs a whole the story had smooth flow to it, nothing felt pressured or forced, the conflcits when they came up were resolved in a manner that worked well for me. It was not all serious issues, there were smexy times and lots of fun banter (both between Jamie and Wes, and as a whole among all the characters). Blake was ridiculous but also fun and sweet and surprisingly good friend and I really, really want to read his story too.

Us is a sweet and loving NA sports romance mixed with some serious issues, treated with care and understanding. It's a worthy sequel to the first book and a refreshingly non-fetish, real contemporary sports mm romance (just a quick side note, Jamie is actually bisexual and I find the presentation of his sexuality as one of the best I've read.) I greatly recommend this series even if you are not a fan of sports or NA romances.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks


Jill Shalvis

Review: Nobody but You by Jill Shalvis

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Title: Nobody but You (Cedar Ridge #3)
Author: Jill Shalvis
Date of publication: 29 March 2016
Genre / Themes: Small town romance

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
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My rating: 3 Stars




Synopsis

SOMETIMES YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN…

After an overseas mission goes wrong, Army Special Forces officer Jacob Kincaid knows where he must go to make things right: back home to the tiny town of Cedar Ridge, Colorado. All he needs to scrub away his painful past is fresh mountain air, a lakeside cabin, and quiet solitude. But what he discovers is a gorgeous woman living on a boat at his dock.

Sophie Marren has nowhere else to go. She’s broke, intermittently seasick, and fighting a serious attraction to the brooding, dishy, I’m-too-sexy-for-myself guy who’s now claiming her dock. Something about Jacob’s dark intensity makes her want to tease—and tempt—him beyond measure. Neither one wants to give any ground . . . until they realize the only true home they have is with each other.

Review


I was curious to read Jacob's story from the start of this series but things got even more exciting in the previous book, which was about his twin brother. And I also have a big soft spot for war heroes, so I couldn't wait to meet Jacob.

And he turned to be all I expected from him and then some more. I loved everything about his character, I understood his frustration and worries and really appreciated his efforts to return to his family and to ask for their forgiveness and acceptance the only way he knew how. 

His unexpected romantic affair was really sweet and very emotional at the same time. It took both Jacob and Sophie by surprise and neither of them it as anything long-term until it was too late for either of them to back away. 

I liked Sophie, her determination and decisiveness to go forward with her life on her own coupled with her occasional clumsiness and total obliviousness, were mostly adorable. AT times they felt too much - she seemed immature and childish to me, especially in her anger towards her ex and his flings. I understand and sympathize with her anger and hurt but her tricks and vengeance felt petty and really beneath her. 

A thing a like about Jill Shalvis' series in general is the sense of friendship and brotherhood/sisterhood she creates among the characters. I love their banter, the friendly teasing and ultimately their loyalty to one another and the sense that your family/close friends always have your back and accept you as you are. I expected this to have a more central role here, especially with Jacob and Hud being twins but I found it missing. 

We saw a lot of the brothers and their sister but for me it lacked the familiar warm feeling of community, their partners made just a few brief appearances. I wished we saw more of all of the characters coming together. Kenna's love life also caught me by surprise and it felt a bit rushed and out of place.

Overall, this story is a nice addition to the series, with a hero whom I greatly enjoyed and heroine who was cute but also a bit annoying. The romance and chemistry between Jacob and Sophie were strong and heart-warming.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks



Anne Calhoun

Review: The Seal's Rebel Librarian by Anne Calhoun

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Title: The Seal's Rebel Librarian (Alpha Ops #2)
Author: Anne Calhoun
Date of publication: 1 March 2016
Genre: Contemporary romance, novella

Author's links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
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My rating: 3.5 stars


Synopsis

The second in the Alpha Ops novella series that features an alpha Navy SEAL and the librarian who brings him to his knees.

Jack Powell never planned on leaving the Navy, but his final mission as a SEAL left him with a tremor and a bad case of nerves. He's home, taking some college classes and trying to figure out what comes next when he meets Erin Kent, a divorced college librarian with an adventurous bucket list and a mission to get her ex-husband's voice out of her head. Jack guides Erin through skydiving and buying the motorcycle of her dreams, blithely accepting Erin's promise that their relationship is purely temporary. But when Jack gets the chance to go back into the shadowy world of security contracting, can he convince Erin to break her word and join him on the adventure of a lifetime?

Review


I'm big fan of Anne Calhoun's writing - profoundly intimate and erotic. I was excited to pick an ARC of this novella since I quite enjoy romances with librarians and a SEAL is never boring either.

I liked this novella a lot but think it would have worked even better if it was made into a full-length novel.

The beginning was very strong and I fell in love with both characters from the start. Erin was recently divorced woman earning to make up for lost time and do all the exciting/scary/thrilling things her husband didn't let her do. I liked her rebel streak and the way she felt a bit at a loss and scared but also determined to try new things, to be open, to live to the fullest.

Jack was also great character, younger than her, a recovering SEAL, at a similar place in life as her - on the brink of something new and unfamiliar.

They had great chemistry and I loved how their affair helped them both move forward in their lives. There was the thrill, the adrenaline, the risk-taking but also the reality of everyday life, of danger of being hurt.

The subplot with Jack's sister was also nice and fitted well into the story.

My greatest disappointment was the rushed ending. It felt forced and didn't fit the natural flow of the story in my opinion. The depth of the characters and the complexity of their relationship - sexual, emotional, was lost towards the end and we were left with a very happy but also unrealistic ending.

Overall, I I'd recommend this novella to romance readers who are looking for a nice, hot story with interesting characters and just some minor flows.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo 


Alexis Hall

Author Interview: Alexis Hall on writing, reading and everything in between

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I'm starting a series of author interviews. This probably won't be a regular feature but you can look for interviews with some of my favourite authors from time to time. And I'm very happy to present you my first guest, who is an amazing author and a favourite of mine, Mr. Alexis Hall




Interview with Alexis Hall on writing, reading and everything in between


ER: Hi and welcome, Alexis! I'm really happy to have you on my blog today. I have pepared some questions about your writing, your reading taste and a few more things. So, let's start this.


Your latest release was the short story TruNorth in the How We Began anthology in the end of last year. And you have just released Glitterland in audio, if I’m not mistaken. So, what is next for you and when we can expect it?


AH: My next release will probably be Nettlefield, which is a Victorian historical with strong romantic elements that I’ve signed with Brain Mill Press. I think that’s due out in the summer. Then there’s, Looking For Group, an extremely nerdy contemporary about two university students who meet in an MMORPG. I think that’s scheduled for late summer / early autumn. People who hang around with me on the internet will know that I had a gothic called Arcadia slated for released with Samhain but, um, following the recent news that’s all a bit up in the air now. There’s also something else I’m working on that I can’t talk about at the moment. I know that’s annoyingly mysterious but, well, I actually can’t. Although I suppose I could have not mentioned it at all…

ER: Summer seems so far away now but I’m happy that there will be so many new things by you coming our way at some point. And, a secret project, how exciting. I can’t wait for you to share more about it when you can :)


I have a couple of questions about your writing process, because I am nosy and because while I have always been fascinated by fiction I have never been able to write of it myself, so I am curious how it happens for writers. Many romance authors I follow on social media talk about daily goal of words to write, use NaNoWriMo, etc. What is your writing process? 


AH: Embarrassingly, I don’t really have one. I think the limiting factor on my, err, process is managing my time. I have a dayjob and a life to live, and obviously there’s lot of things about Being A Writer ™ that don’t actually involve writing anything. I used to have a policy of writing at least five hundred words a day come hell or high water, but I was slightly overwhelmed for a while and fell out of the habit. I’m currently trying to get back into doing that because it actually works for me quite well.

I know it sounds kind of unromantic but I think it’s quite important to see writing as a thing you choose to do, rather than as some kind of spirt of inspiration that comes upon you from the outside. And five hundred words is a manageable minimum. 

ER: Now going deeper into your writing process - are you a plotter or a pantser?


AH: At the risk of being one of those interviewees, I think this is sort of a false dichotomy. I honestly don’t believe that anyone goes into a book completely cold (that is, having no idea what’s going to happen in it or what the emotional arcs will be or who it’s going to be about). Nor do I believe that anyone goes into a book with every single nuance and story beat planned out in advance. And, actually, I think the other thing is that I’m not even certain that “plotting” and “pantsing” are opposites. You can make a reasonable case that pantsing properly requires you to do quite a lot of prep work: if you understand the characters and the themes (and, if you’re doing something genre-y and secondary worldy, the setting) well enough, then you can go in without much an idea of what’s going to happen and trust the details to sort themselves out.

I suppose the one thing is really important to plan in advance is, for what of a less flippant way to put it, “what is the point of this book?” So, for example, with For Real the “point” (from my perspective and it’s important to recognise that readers can take very different things away from books than I intended them to, and that’s okay) was to write a kink story in which the kink wasn’t itself a source of conflict and which challenged stereotypes about the relationship between sexual dominance and submissiveness and masculinity and social prestige. And that led to the characters and the characters themselves led to the conflict. 

ER: What is most difficult and easiest for you when it comes to writing? 

AH: Oh, I hate writing endings, and I’m quite variable on titles.

I think the thing about endings is that you’ve been writing this book for so long, and it’s been so much a part of your life, that you sort of have to let to go of it, and that’s really hard, so I tend to either rush it or drag it on interminably. And, sometimes, I spectacularly manage to do both by taking forever to write it and yet have it come out rushed anyway. I always wind up having to re-write the ending or, in extreme cases, re-write everything else to make the ending fit.

Titles are tricky beasts because they’re either right there like Glitterland or Prosperity or they’re just not, and there’s this painful vacuum that you have no idea how to fill. You get this paranoid sense that the perfect title is just waiting somewhere out there in the aether but, of course, it isn’t and what you should really do is just pick something that isn’t particularly terrible. Because, as David Mitchell (the British comedian, not the novelist) points out, ultimately, a title is just a phrase that very quickly becomes associated with the thing it’s the title of. Like, if you think about it, Star Wars is a pretty crappy title. But when you hear it, you don’t think about a war or some stars, you think about Jedi and lightsabers.

ER: Moving on to your favourites to write/read. You have published books in several romance subgenres – contemporary, steampunk, BDSM/kink – which is your favourite subgenre to write? 

AH: I honestly don’t really have one. I’m a horrible dilettante that way. And I really like being able to jump around write what I like. It’s sort of the privilege that comes from having an okay dayjob that I quite enjoy and can fit comfortably around writing. If I had to rely on my books to pay the bills, I’d need to pay a lot more attention to what’s popular and on trend, but since I don’t I can generally go with what I feel like.

5.1. Which subgenre (het and queer) is your favourite to read?

AH: Again, kind of dilettante. Because my own personal reading background is SFF, I think I do enjoy genre more than straight contemp. It’s weird because, in many ways, contemp is more difficult to write because you can’t fall back on vampire and spaceships, but I do rather like vampires and spaceships. In het, I read a lot of historicals. 

ER: What is the wildest/most outrageously different story you want to write? (Please, think of doing so in a perfect world where you don’t have to worry who will publish it and whether people will want to read it) 

AH: I’ve got to be honest, quite a lot of the wild outrageously different stories I want to write I have, in fact, written – and been lucky enough to someone to publish for me. I mean, cyberpunk fairytale about SeaWorld is not exactly mainstream. And neither really steampunk set in a skytown above the north of England.

I mean there are a whole bunch of whacky ideas. I tried to pitch a fantasy Elizabethanpunk spy thriller loosely based on Christopher Marlowe. And I have a weird idea for a Le Carre-esque, um, spy thriller (um, I swear not all of my ideas are spy thrillers) with angels and demons. I have a completely nuts cyberpunk shifters concept that involves trans-dimensional internet spirits and a secret military base on Exmoor. Oh, and I pitched a contemp once that was written entirely in the voice of someone with ADHD but it was deemed unreasonable. 

6.1. Same question but about a story you want to read.

AH: Oh gosh, I’m happy to read anything really. Part of the thing I enjoy about reading or, really, consuming a text in any medium is that it’s somebody else’s ideas, and they’re ideas I wouldn’t necessarily have had myself. In a sense, the story I most want to read is the story I wouldn’t have thought to tell.

ER: Co-writing books seems very popular and successful lately. Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s Strong Signal comes to mind as an example. Is co-writing with someone something you are interested in doing? 

AH: Theoretically yes, but I’m completely terrified of it. I have a horrible suspicion I’d be a nightmare to work with.

ER: What is the best and the worst thing about being a writer? 

AH: The best thing about writing is, well, writing. I really enjoy it which is … why I do it. Obviously I have some wonderful readers and that’s amazing and powerful, but I do sort of strongly feel that if the actual putting words on the page bit wasn’t your primary motivation you’d probably be better off doing a different job.

I don’t want this to sound negative but the worst thing about being a writer is the sort of business-ey/logistics-ey side of publishing, basically because it’s a completely different skillset. There’s this whole extra process that starts after the fun bit is over where you have to decide what goes on the back cover and when things should be released and how they should be released and who you should be soliciting reviews from. There’s this really jarring emotional and viewpoint shift you have to go through where you start of seeing the book as a creative project you are working on by yourself and end up seeing it as a product you are selling with the help of a large team of people. And that always gives me a bit of whiplash. Thankfully, I have an amazing agent who handles a lot of this for me now, and essentially helps me stay in the nice comfortable writing bit where I feel safe. 

ER: Besides a reader and a writer you are also an editor for The Hellum & Neal series of LGBT+ fiction at Brain Mills Press. Can you share more about this new role of yours? Any books under your editing coming our way soon if it’s not another top secret project?

AH: Basically I’m one of a team of developmental editors who work for Brain Mill Press. Essentially I solicit manuscripts and, well, edit them. I find it really exciting and rewarding because … well, you know that thing I said about reading, where what I most value is discovering stories I wouldn’t have thought to tell. I get to do that, and help those stories grow and develop, and then share them with a wider audience. What’s not to love?

There’s quite a few really exciting things in production at the moment but since they haven’t been officially announced yet I can’t talk about them. Ahh! But we’ve got EE Ottoman’s DOCUMENTING LIGHT coming in May: http://www.brainmillpress.com/books/documenting-light/, which was such a pleasure to acquire and help develop. I love this story very much: it’s really romantic, but it’s about history and identity queerness, and the way the absence of history can affect your present and your future. It’s also contemporary which I hope will really intrigue EE’s fans, since they’re probably used to them working primarily in invented worlds.

ER: This sounds really intriguing and I'm excited to read it when it comes out. 
Here is my final question for you, what advice would you to aspiring authors? 

Oh, I’m really bad at this question. And I hope this doesn’t sound dismissive or negative, but the first piece of advice I’d give an aspiring author is step back and think about whether you really are an aspiring author. Or whether you just think an author is the sort of thing you ought to want to be. I recognise that that’s a high impact opening, so let me unpack it a bit. Whenever I watch a stand-up comedian, I have a brief flash in which I think to myself “hey, I’d really like to be a stand-up comedian” and then I think to myself “no, wait, what I’d like to do is to do the things I watch stand-up comedians doing for about the amount of time that I watch them doing them”. But actually being a stand-up comedian involves stuff like driving for five hours to play a gig in the middle of nowhere, then driving home. It involves eating from service stations all over the country and having surprisingly little time to see your partner. 

Basically, I think what I’m saying is that I feel a lot of people who want to be authors really sort of want to feel the sense of validation they imagine comes from being an author. They often don’t have a strong desire to negotiate contracts, maintain an author profile, continuously edit and re-edit, miss social engagements because they have a deadline or, alternatively, quit their job for another one that pays much, much less and is much, much less reliable. Or, in extreme cases, actually sit down to put words on paper. 

And I should absolutely stress that I’m not saying that being is author is terrible or that it’s such a unique and special job that only a unique and special person can do it. In fact, I’m saying the opposite it. That being an author is just a job and that it’s okay not to be one. Even if you are intelligent and creative and overflowing with ideas you might still find that the specific career of being a bespoke long-form narrative salesman doesn’t actually fit with what you want out of life. 

Sorry, I appreciate I’ve now said more about this than pretty much any other question on the list but writers get asked it all the time, and it’s always treated in this very formulaic way. It’s always “keep going, don’t get discouraged, put yourself out there” and I sort of wanted to challenge that. I meet so many people, many of them really good friends, who go through sense with this nebulous feeling of failure because they’ve never had one of the three or four jobs that we’re socially conditioned to believe we should aspire to. You’re basically meant to either be an author, a performing artist or something charmingly self-sacrificing like a teacher in an inner city school or a volunteer for Medicine Sans Frontier. And, obviously, I’m speaking from a position of privilege here because I happen to be an author (albeit a very, very small one) so it’s probably very easy for me to say “this isn’t as important as people think it is” but I am genuinely troubled that I know so many people who are, on some level, made to feel bad because they’ve never achieved something that, in reality, they may not want to particularly want to achieve. 

All of which said, if you really do want to be a writer then, well, the standard advice is basically right: keep going, don’t get discouraged, put yourself out there.

And read every contract really thoroughly.

ER: Thank you very much for this interview!



Author Bio and Links


Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de si├Ęcle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.


He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.


He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.
He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.



Alexis Hall's latest release is For Real, a BDSM May-December romance full of feels and err, hot sex. You can see more of my gushing over this book in my review


Blurb

Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.


Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Riptide


Note: I'm using Amazon Kindle Instant Preview (an affiliate link) where if you click on the cover it will take you to the Amazon site where you can read a sample of the book.

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