Me Being Me

Do You Want an Olive With That?

Why yes, I guess I do!

My life has been taken over by an adorable creature with so much charisma, I can only do one thing: say yes. Okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit far. I do say no, or at least I redirect said creature to a more productive or healthier option … like not chewing my fingers!

I do need my fingers to type, after all, though lately, I’ve been having to stretch very far to even reach my keyboard because … well, she‘s in the way.

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This is Olive, our new pup, and an addition to our family I was initially reluctant about considering because of the special needs our last dog had. That was Sophie, and she crossed the IMG_3028.JPGrainbow bridge in the sky last December, after living 16 years, the last few with problems. While we missed Soph like crazy, it was nice to have a dog-free home for a half a year, to be able to pop out of town whenever we wanted without thinking about where the dog was going to go. That was lovely. But home could also get to be a very lonely place, especially when I was alone working in my house.

A new dog was going to mean a big change, and if we got a puppy as we hoped, we had to consider house breaking, behavior training, loss of property to chewing (it happens), and the overall energy raising a new puppy requires.

Kiddo was all aboard, hubby chimed in with a “hell no,” and I was teetering on the fence because I knew from raising two dogs, not to mention the dogs I had growing up.

JanuaryAd_Elisa_NorthStarKiddo worked on me for day after day, and the next thing I knew, I was peeking around at websites to see if the breed I wanted was available in our area. This was the same dog that Kevin bought Hugo in Fusion, by the way, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. I wrote that pup, Lulu, into the book in hopes of getting the desire for one out of my system. Apparently it didn’t work!

Well, after a few days looking for well-respected breeders nearby, I found a handful and emailed them all. One lived less than an hour from me, and a litter had been born on July Fourth. I hemmed and hawed, despite the chiding I got from my teenager, because I needed to be sure of this.

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And then we went to visit the pups.

There were 8 in the litter, which was large, but the mama was very good to her pups. There she is, letting them all cuddle with her. She was so patient!

As you can guess, my kid was sold the moment that little girl pup fell asleep belly up in her lap.

IMG_3222.jpg I still was unsure, but the more I considered it, I realized how much I missed having a companion in the house. Working at home can quickly get lonely, and while I love my alone time, it gets old.

So after careful consideration, a lot of juggling of funds, and taking on extra work, we decided to invite this little pup to come live with us. As I expected, hubby fell in love the moment he met her.We have the moment the two met on video, and it’s adorable.

All he remembers of the last days with Sophie were dementia, anxiety, and suffering she went through as well as the loss we felt when he had to make the horrible choice to put her down, so I forgive him his reluctance, and kiddo and I made it very clear we were going to be the caregivers, not him. That was our ticket in. She was the ticket to his heart.

So, Olive Hazel joined our family on August 29th. She’s a cuddler and enjoys curling up right on top of my feet as I work at my desk. She sleeps a bunch, but when she’s awake, she’s got that manic puppy power. She loves walks but isn’t so sure of her leash yet, however, one night, she ran and I nearly lost her in the dark. A leash will be on during night time potty stops. I hope to start puppy socialization classes with her by the end of the month, we are clicker training her, and I hope to teach her how to ring a bell to tell us she needs to go outside.

Wish me luck on all the above. 🙂

But I’m so glad we decided to become a dog home again. I forgot how lovely it is to cuddle and pet and just be close to a dog. And the puppy breath smell… I love it!

 

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Posy Around the Web

Episode 101 – GRL Blog Tour with Posy Roberts, “Where the Bears Are” & More | Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast

I’m on the Big Gay Fiction Podcast today! Check it out!

Jeff interviews author Posy Roberts as part of the 2017 GRL Blog Tour. Posy discusses what’s coming up for her and offers a giveaway. Will reviews “Taming Teddy” by Lucy Lennox. The guys discuss “Where the Bears Are” season six, “The Last Tycoon” from Amazon, and “Outlander” from Starz.

Source: Episode 101 – GRL Blog Tour with Posy Roberts, “Where the Bears Are” & More | Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast

Posy Around the Web

GRL Retreat Blog Tour – Alpha Book Club

I’m sitting in a hotel pool area watching my daughter toss a ball around with a few boys her age that she just met. It’s April as I’m writing this, spring break. While I watch her slowly approaching these new acquaintances and trying to figure out the rules of their game, I can’t help but think of my first time at GRL. … Continue reading →

Source: Posy Roberts – GRL Retreat Blog Tour – Alpha Book Club

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Me Being Me

A Truly Relaxing Vacation

I spent a week at the lake. The cabin has been in my hubby’s family since the 1950s and inspired Summer’s cabin in North Star, the one in Spark. This is the lake where Hugo and Kevin fall in love again, years after drifting apart. It was fantastic to spend a week in this place where Kevin and Hugo’s story was literally spun as I floated on the waves. Scenes came so vividly to me here on the water. I often couldn’t get to shore fast enough to type them into my laptop. It’s been a special place where many stories have been either conceived, written, or polished.

IMG_2939There is very limited access to the internet at the lake due to cellular service just not getting through. I can send out images on Instagram if I leave my phone alone for 15 mins in the exact right spot, but email won’t load, I can’t access social media to read, and forget about news sites. Heck, I can’t even get weather radar unless I stand in the driveway, balance on one foot, stick a spit-slicked finger in the air, and sing Zippideedoodah while I wrinkle up my nose.

So it’s the perfect getaway from a too-connected life. Characters talk to me up there. I truly relax. I let my mind go to places I simply can’t back at home. And I laugh like a loon with my family.

When we arrived, the whole clan was at the cabin. That was eighteen people in a 2 bedroom cabin. There are 2 hide-a-beds in the living room too, but we needed more beds. Thankfully there was a hotel across the highway for some, and we made use of our tent, which we have only used once since we bought it a few years ago.

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I LOVED hanging out in the tent. I edited out there, wrote a little, and was lulled to sleep by the waves for the first few nights. I think I might set it up in the backyard this summer, just for a little escape from my office. But I’m not going to lie, getting a bed in the cabin after a few nights on the ground was lovely, and eventually, it was only John, Poppy, and me at the cabin.

On Friday, I had to send a formatted epub file to an editing client, so we went into town and ate a restaurant where I could access a reliable internet connection. After my work was done, we laughed so hard about ridiculous inside jokes, I was crying. That’s exactly what I needed after months of working 12 hour days, rarely taking weekends off, and always working toward a deadline. It’s also a great place to reboot and rediscover what’s important because work and politics and social media are not always butting in to demand attention. Instead, I get to swim with my kid, sift for treasures in the sand with my husband, and bike on beautiful trails. And I get to talk with the most important people in my life about anything we want.

As I floated, I tried to get into Charlie’s head. Charlie is a character from Naked Organics, and his book, Fresh Earth, was supposed to be written last year. He’s not been talking to me. Despite that, I have nearly 20,000 words written. Some of that is good and will be kept, but very little moves me. I’m not driven enough yet.

I’m one of those writers who often struggles to keep up with super chatty characters, essentially dictating what they tell me in my head. Yeah, I know that makes me sound crazy, but what can I do about that? Charlie has been quite mute, so instead, I’ve examined his motivations, stakes, desires, upbringing, past, fears, and anything else I can. That’s gotten me where I am today, but it’s not enough.

I want Fresh Earth to be released sometime in October, but at this rate, it’s not happening. I needed this week at the lake to really let go of whatever is holding me back. I know some of that is me taking editing jobs, which help pay the bills. I need those so I don’t freak out that my writing will never help me pay for my kid’s braces or my medical bills. Once the car is paid off in October, life will get easier financially. I bet you anything that Charlie will suddenly start getting chatty then. Haha! I swear financial worries tie up my writing brain.

IMG_2855.jpgSo sitting on the dock and staring at scenes like this are essential. The water always moves, even when it seems glass smooth. It reminds me that, even if I don’t see word counts going up on Fresh Earth, the sands underneath are shifting. I’m getting to know Charlie every day, and soon, he will demand his story be told. He might be like a clam in the middle of the lake right now, but eventually he’ll drift toward shore.

Or so I’ve told myself. 😉

Just in case he didn’t, I read Farm Fresh and Picked Fresh this week to get a feel of who Charlie is again. He’s more flippant that I was trying to write him, so that knowledge might help me get back into his head. He’s sorta cocky like me, using humor to deflect and derail when things get too serious.

So after what felt like a perfect week where I got some work done, played with my family, and finally rode my bike outside in the fresh air rather than on my indoor bike trainer, we headed home. We stayed until the last possible minute, and because of our crappy internet, we didn’t check the weather before leaving.

And a few miles south of the lake, we encountered this:

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John freaked out a bit, especially because it was attached to a Tornado Watch. But we headed south and thought we’d outrun the beast. We actually outran most of it until we got about an hour from home. Accuweather was telling us to expect damaging hail in 3 minutes when I pulled off the highway and searched for shelter. The last thing I wanted was to be driving at 65 MPH with large hail coming at my windshield.

We took shelter under a bank drive-thru awning, and despite the Nexus* Ribbon of Thundersquall trying to kill us for miles, we were protected. So haha, WTForecast, we barely got sprinkled on because we hid and waited this monster out and then drove slowly through a break in the storm until we got home.

The thunder was the loudest I’ve ever heard. That’s saying something considering I’m used to Southern Minnesota thunderstorms, which can be wicked. This practically made my heart stutter, it was that strong. I’m also grateful we didn’t stop at my BIL’s house on the way home because that’s where the tornado was spotted. All are well, but it was scary!

Despite the booming finish, I’d still say I had a pefect week off. My bed felt amazing last night. My desktop computer is the most beautiful thing in the world to me this morning. And internet, oh, I have missed thee! But I don’t want to fall into the trap of always needing to be connected to news and social media. I need my mind to drift like I did on those waves.

This was likely the last full week I get to spend at the lake. My husband’s family is having to make the tough choice of letting the beloved cabin go. Maybe we can work out a way to keep it in the family, but having a place on Green Lake to call home may very well be a thing of the past.

I’m glad we got to spend a fantastic week there. I’m grateful my daughter got to spend summers on the water, living the lake life. It truly is a way of life up here in Minnesota. It’s a whole cultural shift, and I’m lucky to have been invited to live it with my husband.

*Kudos to those of you who got the Star Trek reference.

Free, Giveaways

Hudson’s Backstory

To celebrate Pride month, Naked Origins ~ Hudson will be available on InstaFreebie through the month of June. All you need to do is sign up for my newsletter and it’s yours. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge into my Naked Organics series, this is a great place to start.

*Naked Organics #0.5, Gay Fiction, New Adult, Coming of Age, Runaway

InstaFreebie


Naked Origins - HudsonHudson Oliva didn’t expect the world to end with the new millennium, but his life did change forever on that New Year’s Eve. After his religious parents walk in on him with Zac in his bed, Hudson is sent to conversion therapy. The parents he returns home to after being cured aren’t the same people he’s known his entire life. They’re cold and withdrawn.

In order to survive, Hudson becomes an expert at lying while working hard to be the perfect son, yet his parents remain emotionally distant. He’s sure the pray-away-the-gay camp broke something inside him along with tearing his family apart. When his parents discover Hudson has continued seeing Zac for years, they demand he go back to the camp. Hudson has no choice but to run. Somehow he has to find a safe place, but he has to get out of Florida first.

*This is not a romance. This is a character study looking deeper into who Hudson is, what shaped him, why he escaped home, and how he ended up at Kaleidoscope Gardens.


The story continues with Farm Fresh and Picked Fresh.

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Free, Giveaways

Big Gay Fiction Giveaway

bgfgAuthor Michael Jensen and podcasters Jeff Adams and Will Knauss have teamed up for the second Big Gay Fiction Giveaway, which will run from May 22 to May 29. Eighty authors of gay male fiction, including me, are giving away full-length novels, novellas, and short stories about the lives and loves of gay, bisexual, and transgender men.

Naked Origins - HudsonReaders of every sort will find something of interest, ranging from historical fiction, literary fiction, new adult fiction, science fiction and fantasy, as well as traditional and paranormal romance. “We’ve got an even more diverse selection than last time,” says Adams. “And all the books are free.”

My book in the giveaway is Naked Origins ~ Hudson.

Readers can visit BigGayFictionPodcast.com/giveaway, where they’ll be able to peruse more than eighty titles. To claim a book, readers click on a book’s cover, enter their email to sign up for the author’s newsletter, then download their book via Instafreebie, and start reading.

This ends May 29th, and you can stock up on books for a year. Discover new authors, try a new genre. What are you waiting for?

 

Writing Challenges

Creative Hiatus

pexels-photo-26829I’ve taken a small hiatus from writing. Okay, a large hiatus. It’s not my longest, by far. At one point, I went well over a year w/o writing words, so the current dry spell hasn’t lasted that long. The last time I really wrote anything new, aside from the dribs and drabs I’ve managed to squeeze from a stone, was last October. Everything else I’ve released since then had already been drafted and was edited beyond that.

Aside from about 5,000 words.

Slow times happen to me. I’m not one of those authors who can put words on the page every single day without taking a break here and there. Well, I can, but they usually end up to being utter crap that I end up deleting later because they’re so stilted that they’re not even worth editing.

I discovered years ago that I’m better off walking away for a time than forcing words out.

I know that’s not what any of the writing advice out there tells you. You can’t sell a blank page or even edit one and so on and so on with whatever trite advice is out there. But when words don’t come and I get anxious whenever I see the flashing cursor, I’ve learned to identify that as a time to step away.

This is when I shift over to absorbing what’s around me, be it nature, people, travel experiences, or other media. I ingest everything I can get my hands on and suck until it’s dry.

Very little has kept my interest as of late.

Since last fall, news around the world has been a daily/hourly creativity drain. I know I’m not the only creative person struggling to get work done in the current political climate. Hell, it’s hard to write romance, HEAs, and HFNs when I’m terrified the world as I know it might not exist tomorrow.

I wish I wrote dystopian thrillers right now. Novel after novel could be inspired by the world we currently live in. But my brain won’t go there. Trust me, I’ve tried to make it.

So I’ve been doing a lot of reading, diving into escapist tropes, fluff that I avoided in the past. I like angst. Those who’ve read FusionSilver Scars, Farm Fresh, and Picked Fresh know that. I’m not the nicest author to my characters, even if I love them, because life is rarely kind to real people.

The stories that have come to me lately and knocked on my creative brain have actually been quite fluffy, not at all fitting with the Posy Roberts brand of being unpredictable stories based on real-life angst. They’re inspired by tropes and the characters are not gritty and raw and messed up by their pasts.

This has turned into another sort of creative crisis inspired by the original creative crisis. I don’t want to disappoint my readers who expect the unexpected from me, who want to be surprised by the twists and turns my stories take. I also want the freedom to explore some of these sweet and spicy themes that are dancing in my head.

I believe I’ve found a solution: a new pen name where I can feel free to start from scratch and experiment with this new inspiration. It will be a while in coming, but I think walking away from the Posy pen name for a bit will be good for me.

That’s not saying I’m abandoning Naked Organics. The next two books will be coming, I promise. And if readers get their wishes, there will be a few more stories I follow up on. I’m just not sure readers want me, as Posy, to write sweet, tropey stories. What do you think?

My Short Stories

Cheeky ☺️

I put Cheeky Hipsters & Jocks back on Kindle Unlimited today, both the English and Italian translation. So, if you’ve been waiting, now’s your chance. If you know of any Italian readers, link them to the book, please.

English Version Italian Version

51WxnDrHRfL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Jack Cox has a secret he’s kept hidden for years until a fellow hockey player discovers a scrap of silk and lace hiding in his pocket. Elijah Mitten notices how anxious Jack is as the hot-pink fabric makes its way around the locker room, and when Jack throws it in the trash like it means nothing, Elijah guesses what’s beneath his stoic façade and possibly his pants.

When Elijah shows up on Jack’s doorstep looking for answers, Jack won’t admit anything. But when Elijah takes matters into his own hands, Jack has to make a decision: share his secret and risk losing hockey or keep it hidden forever.
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Guest Post

Guest Cover Reveal

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TITLE: Déjà You
PUBLISHER: Emerald Lily Publishing
RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2017

In Déjà You, five authors share stories of second chances, as varied in telling as the writers themselves.

Kelly Cain’s We’ll Always Have Oahu takes us on a whirlwind New Adult romance set in the 80s between a young woman on a high school graduation trip and a handsome Navy sailor.

Bianca M. Schwarz transports us to 1760 in The Pearl with the story of Marcus Landover, who attends a card party and ends up with more than he bargained for in the beautiful Sophia Chelmsford.

Amanda Linsmeier’s Joy and Sorrow reunites lovers separated by death in a Women’s Fiction tinged with the unusual.

The Eyes of the Heart by Jamie McLachlan gives us Rosalina, who is forced to confront her attraction and the truth about her blindness when a new gardener is hired at the Greystone house.

Finally, C.H. Armstrong brings us Mr. Midnight, where tragedy reunites two star-crossed lovers, but misunderstandings soon rip them apart. Now, six years later, the stars are realigning with the help of the smooth voice of a late night radio DJ.

Some of the stories are sweet, some sad, some steamy, but all carry the same theme. Déjà You is a collection of stories for those who believe in love, but most of all, second chances.


The Birth of Déjà You

About two years ago, a group of five novice writers signed with the same small publisher, each inexperienced in the publishing world yet committed to understanding the process and finding success. Through their mutual dive into unchartered territory, Amanda Linsmeier, Bianca M. Schwarz, C.H. Armstrong, Kelly Cain, and Jamie McLachlan reached out to one another and became instant friends, sharing laughs, tears, and the struggles of life and writing. We soon dubbed ourselves “Book Besties.”

During the fall of 2016, we decided to write a book of short stories together. As friends, we wanted to combine our talents to create a collection that would inspire hope and happiness. After much deliberation, we chose the theme “Second Chances” and decided to title this anthology, “Déjà You.” Though each story contains the same theme, they all are as unique as the author who wrote it. Including New Adult, Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, and Contemporary Romance, each short offers a different take on the theme and involves varying heat levels, from sweet to steamy.


About the Authors

kellycain200x200Kelly Cain has published a multicultural adult and new adult romance, but she writes across genres and age groups, currently penning book one of a young adult urban fantasy series. Most of her stories are set in Texas with frequent travels to her home state of California, and all of her stories have an excess of food weaved throughout.

If she’s not writing, she’s probably reading. Or maybe cooking. Check out her website for recipes for dishes featured in her books, and some other fun stuff. She has two adult daughters and lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas.

Kelly is the author of Altered, a new adult multicultural romance and Connections, a steamy short story exclusively available on Amazon. Visit her on her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Tumbler.

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Bianca M Schwarz was born in Germany, spent her formative years in London, and has a US passport, but she considers herself a world citizen. She lives in Los Angeles because that’s where they make movies and she used to work on them. She writes novels because that’s kind of like making a movie in people’s heads and because she just loves books. Bianca has one son, because that’s all she can handle and she tolerates her husband because, well, she loves him and there is no help for that. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

10254015_492271840927359_9159417025130441003_nAmanda Linsmeier is the author of Ditch Flowers and Beach Glass & Other Broken Things. Her writing has been featured in Portage Magazine, Literary Mama, and Brain, Child Magazine. Besides writing Women’s Fiction, she loves reading and writing fables, fairytales, and fantasy, and sometimes she pretends her Hogwarts letter is still coming. She can be found blogging about writing and books at amandalinsmeier.com. When she’s not writing, she works part-time at her local library and brings home more books than she has time to read. Amanda lives in the countryside, surrounded by trees, with her family, two dogs, and two half-wild cats. You can Amanda’s blog for book reviews and random musings, or check her out on Twitter or Facebook for more information.

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Jamie McLachlan is the Canadian author of Mind of the Phoenix, an Amazon Bestseller in Dark Fantasy and the first novel in the Memory Collector Series. The third, Rise of the Phoenix, is set for release in summer of 2017. When not writing, Jamie reads, dabbles in various crafts, and spends time with her family. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

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C.H. Armstrong is an Oklahoma-native transplanted in the Midwest. A life-long lover of books, she made her author debut with the 2016 release of her historical fiction novel, The Edge of Nowhere, which was inspired by her own family’s struggles during the one-two punch that was The Great Depression and The Dust Bowl. Armstrong is currently working on two young adult novels and is a regular contributor to the Minnesota-based women’s magazine, Rochester Women. Visit her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.


For more information on Déjà You or the Book Besties, visit their website, or find them on Twitter or Facebook.