Blog Tour, Posy Around the Web, Uncategorized

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.

Writing Process

Careers, Spotlights, & Dreams

Growing up, my dream was to be a singer. I went to college on a vocal performance scholarship but quickly realized I disliked the constant competition and auditioning. I saw that pinning my hopes and dreams on someone else’s opinion was a quick path to not being able to put food on the table.

So halfway through my freshman year, I dropped my vocal performance major with little idea what I wanted to do with my life. I took career assessments to see where my skills and interests met up. I’d taken these tests in the past, and I’ve taken them since. One thing I can say, I’m fairly consistent. What I always got was actor, artist, writer, singer, dancer, teacher, counselor, psychologist, and editor.

Never once in my life did I want to be a teacher, so I did not shift over to music education. I ended up on the path to being a Marriage and Family Therapist.

In our new city and state, I took a very part-time job as a teacher because that was the only job available. The next year I worked as a home visitor, doing in-home sessions with families, which was my focus in grad school. It was a good fit. My final year in that job, I was pregnant with my daughter.

My kiddo was born mid-July, and I had planned on going back to work in the fall. That didn’t happen because kiddo needed multiple operations. She was in the PICU for two months, the NICU for several more, and when she wasn’t in ICU, she was out on the pediatric floor. In the end, she was in and out of the hospital for over a year.

When I first learned of kiddo’s diagnoses and called my employer to tell them I couldn’t come back to work until October, I was told I no longer had a job…with a brand new baby, who ended up being a million dollar baby in a matter of months.

In January I took another teaching job, 2 evenings a week in towns 15 and 30 miles from home. My new boss allowed me to bring kiddo with me on the job. I was teaching parents of infants-preschoolers, after all, so she ended up being one of the kids enrolled in the class while I did my parent education in the room next door. It was a pretty sweet deal.

The next school year, they asked me back for more classes. I doubled my hours, and a month later, I was hired by another school district. Eventually, kiddo and I were going to eight classes a week and putting a solid 400 miles on the car each week.

Then we moved from our small town back to the city, so my mileage increased again. Kiddo was a great traveler and we had lots of fun driving, but we live in Minnesota. Snowy roads, much of the time, and our drives were at prime deer feeding times. I worried about accidents. The last thing I wanted to do was risk my daughter’s life for a job I never wanted in the first place.

I looked into doing family therapy again, but that would’ve meant working full time. Kiddo sometimes needed me at the drop of a hat, so I ended up letting that idea go, promising myself I’d come back to it once kiddo’s life was more stable.

The following school year I was hired in my city. Kiddo went to preschool and eventually elementary school. I started writing for fun. And I worked as a parent educator just a few miles from home.

Again, I never wanted to be a teacher, but I taught for sixteen years so I could have a schedule similar to my kid’s. A few years ago, I quit teaching to take a stab at being a full-time author. That meant inviting in all those things that had me running away from being a singer. It meant “performing” but in a very different way.

At least when I was singing, I had proof that I was skilled, something to fall back on. Musical professionals told me I had what it took to make it, which was reinforced with awards, scholarships, and honors.

I had none of that when it came to writing, but I took the leap. I submitted my first book to my publisher and then another. They kept signing me, so I figured I was doing something right. What, I’m not exactly sure. I’m still not sure five years later, but I keep busking for change by putting out more books.

In order for books to sell, they must first be noticed. To be noticed, I have to get reviewers to read them. Or give a few away. Or write an amazing tagline and pay for a fantastic cover to encourage people to click BUY. I need people talking about my books so other people will give them a chance.

It’s not as easy as singing on the street corner and grabbing the attention of passersby. There’s no applause after I type The End. No one is there to tell me I did a good job. Yes, there are reviews, but those are not written for authors; they’re for potential readers. And I do my best to avoid them, even good reviews. Especially bad ones. They can put me off my writing game for weeks because self-doubt too easily creeps in.

Writing is a very lonely job, very different from singing and teaching. I’m unable to see where I’m hitting my mark or where I’m totally losing someone. I don’t know if my stories have left someone with a book hangover or if they read The End, shrug, and then move on to another book, never thinking about my characters again.

I want to give people book hangovers. I don’t know if I do because I’m sitting behind a keyboard and a screen, blind to how my stories affect people.

Being so isolated makes me miss the stage. It makes me miss teaching. But only in a nostalgic way. I’m done living in the spotlight. See, it’s the spotlight part of writing I don’t like; the marketing is hell on my soul.

And I’ve come to see a pattern emerge.

😁 Write > Edit > Rewrite > Edit > Format > Proof > Finalize

🙂 Publish

Marketing 🔆 😑 😒 😔 ❓

After I hit publish, there is always a huge let-down. The act of being done is disappointing, partly because of the huge build up to publication day. *Cue sad trumpet* Then the marketing begins. The spotlight shines in my eyes, blinding me to the story I wrote and making me look, instead, to the audience.

And as a writer, if I’m too focused on the audience, I’ll lose sight of why I wrote the story in the first place. If I’m paying too much attention to what readers think, that changes how I write my next story.

It also makes me play to the person in Row 3, Seat 17 or the group in Section C rather than to the entire auditorium. I end up pinning my hopes and dreams and self-worth on someone else’s opinion.

And that’s no way to write.

So today, for old time’s sake, I’m going to get in the car with my kiddo and drive. We’re going to talk and look at the beautiful, snowy landscape slipping by. We’re going to talk about the story she’s currently writing and listen to her favorite songs. We’re going to do mother/daughter things.

And that whole time, I’m going to be thinking about how grateful I am that I get to write. I work from home, have a flexible schedule, and can call the shots, like taking an afternoon drive to the Mississippi River and back.

I love to write and I’m going to keep on with it, likely for many years to come. Someday I’m going to figure out how to get through the week after a book release without wanting to hide under a rock. Maybe I’ll master that with my next book. Maybe it will take another eighteen. Who knows?

But today I drive.

My Novellas

Momo is Here!

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🍑  Momo is out today! 🍑

Brave the spotlight for the man he loves, or stay alone in the shadows…

Amazon

Title: Momo
Subtitle: My Everything
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Gay, Multicultural
Novella: 27,000 words, 95 pages.

KU Exclusive for 90 days

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William Harris is a reserved man, private and guarded. He has no one to go home to. He’s never found a man worth sticking around for. He’s never been in love. And he’s convinced he’s happy with his lone-wolf life.
Nate Kelly is William’s opposite, social and easy going. He comes into William’s life as the elegant geisha Momo. When William realizes Momo is a man in drag, he’s captivated.

Nate Kelly is William’s opposite, social and easy going. He comes into William’s life as the elegant geisha Momo. When William realizes Momo is a man in drag, he’s captivated.

From their first date, William’s world changes. Nate is nothing like his usual type. And William soon finds out being with this carefree man means always being on display and attracting attention, which makes him want to retreat. He tries to keep Nate at arm’s length, but it’s no use. Nate’s transformed his life in a matter of months and keeps drawing him back in.

If they stand a chance, William has to be comfortable standing next to someone so at home in the limelight. Their future together and William’s happiness depend on it. Is Nate the man finally worth giving up William’s solitary existence? Is he worth sticking around for?
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