Friday, 23 January 2015

My love-hate relationship with bookstores

I love books. Authors are my celebrities and all that jazz. I still mourn the loss of David Eddings and other fantasy and crime authors of my twenties and thirties.

I have spent many happy hours in book shops, sighing that my debit card would not let me buy all the books I want. I hate shopping, no loathe, shopping so my companions place me in a book store and/or coffee shop and leave me to indulge in my passion.

However recently I am a convert of the digital age. Now my print books have been thinned out to a large chest and a few shelves, and most of my books are on my PC or on my computer. From the way book stores are declining - my town has lost all three of its shops - many of us love our Kindles and other eReaders, and print books are no longer as popular.

And yet... we continue our love affair with print. There is nothing quite like the joy of cracking open a book and devouring the world created by the author.

I've recently started reading a trade magazine and it still treats digital publishing like something new and not to be trusted. I want to be involved in more than my corner. I want to know about the publishing world as a whole, but I want to see my genre represented in these books as well as the usual mainstream genres.

Which leads me to my next point. These days I have a love/hate relationship with book shop. I don't read outside the MM/gay genre. There are so many categories (contemporary/crime/scifi/western/paranormal etc) and books to indulge my addiction. And in my area (and I'm betting much of the UK) there are few stores still open and none that stock MM. Even the LGBT book store doesn't sell the MM genre. I wander around the stores, look at all the books on the shelves, and yes, I admit to feeling green-eyed that they are there and I am not. I'm human. It happens.

Amazon is my friend. Before you boo/hiss me I buy nearly everything I can off Amazon, or the publishers' websites, because I hate shopping/crowds. I know all the arguments against Amazon, but without them I would not be published. I'm not anti traditional publishing, but rather traditional publishing is anti MM. I really hope that will change in the future.

How many times have I been asked if I want to write proper books? How many times have my kids wished they could take their friends into a book shop and show them my books? Too many times to count.

I would love to see my books in Waterstones, Foyles and other stores. You can buy me online in Tesco for heaven's sake. Hell, even the LGBT store would be great. I know friends/family still don't view me as a real author. The bloody royalties paying our bills should change their mind, but still, I'm not in the shops.

We are a new genre with a lot stacked against us. I tell people I write romance because you say 'gay' (M/M would just confuse them) and they substitute 'porn' for 'romance'. Seriously? The only word that goes after gay is porn? That says more about them than me.

Attitudes are changing. I only have to listen to the first wave of MM authors and publishers who tell me what it was like in the early days to understand that. Of course there is the cultural disapproval of anything LGBT but if they can cope with 'Brokeback Mountain' they can cope with a happy ever after. I hope to see that disapproval ease as same sex marriage becomes more wide-spread.

I'm lucky to be a published author. I don't need to be a traditionally published author to sell my books. I live in the best age. But I want to be able to see my books in stores, side by side with currently mainstream authors.

Is this pie in the sky?

Watch this space...

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Watching Cucumber with my kids

Not much to report today. I spent the day being a friend, not an author.

I made a boob (ha!) when I couldn't find my hospital number for the cancer hospital. Just wanted to chase up results. I spent the time scrabbling through my rubbish. It wasn't pleasant. I had visions of being CSI and digging through dumpsters. Anyway, I get the final results on Monday.

Spent the evening watching Cucumber, Banana and Tofu, the new Russell T. Davies series for Channel 4, E4 and 4OD. It's damn odd watching with my kids. Feels like I'm showing them my day job.

Now RTD is a huge hero in my family as we're all fanatical about Doctor Who and its spin-offs. However my kids have never seen adult RTD writing. They haven't watched Queer as Folk, and they won't be watching it with me! I have now reached the stage where they watch things calmly and I'm the one who's embarrassed.

Loved Cucumber. Let's face it, I'm the age of the main characters. Banana was okay but as they're nearer the age of my kids I rolled my eyes a lot. What the hell is Tofu about?

Time for bed.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Pirate Dick

Why do you pirate our books?

Because you like something for nothing. Because you don't value what we do. Because you're a dick?

Who knows. The losers are authors. People like me and my kids. Our only household income derives from my royalties.

You steal my books. You steal the food off my plate.

You don't care. I know.

There seems to be this misconception that we authors make so much money from our writing that the pirate copies don't matter. They do. Every single last copy downloaded from Pirate Dick makes a difference to my household. I am not writing in a big genre. I sell tens of books, not hundreds or thousands or I wish, millions.

I'm not going to deny that I hate and despise all the Pirate Dicks, and despise those for looking for a free ride.

I'm posting two blogs here. One from RJ Scott on this very subject of piracy and one from Aleksandr Voinov on why he doesn't sell books for 99c. Why? Because books are priced as they are for a reason.

There we are. Not sugar coated. Not allowing for justifications for piracy. This is me, being honest.


Life, the Universe, and boiler woes

Dear Universe,

What did I do to deserve my current run of luck? I must have been a bad bad girl in my previous life. Now my boiler is leaking and needs an obscure part to fix it, which the plumber will have to source. Sigh. I hope I'll see him again.

Still waiting on results, which I expected, but would really like to get so I can put this whole thing behind me.

I've been tinkering with In-Decision. I'm pleased that I've carved out the plot now to finish it.

On another note, this was an interesting blog in Publishers Weekly. A Look Ahead to Self-Publishing in 2015.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Standing in the Face of the Oncoming Train

I had a bit of a freak-out yesterday. I've finally got around to telling people (not on social media) about my cancer scare. One minute I'm burbling away about the bad news/bloody excellent news and the next freak-out. For the past few weeks I've felt like I've been in the path of an oncoming train and then a wonderful person knocked me to one side before the train hit me.

I also discovered the underside of my boob is purple. ICK!!

This week I need to get back into the pattern of working days. Onward and upwards. I have stories to finish. Otherwise my bestie Lisa Worrall will kill me. I'm going to finish In-Decision and Elin Gregory is helping me to plot a Regency story. Busy busy. Hugs to you all.

Even old animals can make us smile.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sunday Sunday

Good afternoon (just) on a rainy Sunday. I was hoping for snow but sadly I was doomed to be disappointed.

Writer's Block is a pain in the arse at the moment, but I'll get there. I always do. I just need to stop beating myself up about it.

My book tour for Stolen Dreams, closely followed by The Next Call, starts soon. Details to follow.

What else? Last night I read Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy. I ended up being late for my night out as I couldn't put it down.

Animal pic of the day: I'm not quite sure why this caught my eye but whatever...

Friday, 16 January 2015

My Friday: sofa, hot pack and coffee

Only a short post today. Yesterday I had another more extensive biopsy which is to confirm I definitely don't have anything nasty lurking in my boob. It sucked out some of the tissue. I was hoping for a boob reduction but sadly, no luck. Anyway I'm in pain today so I've retreated to the sofa with a hot pack to recover, plenty of coffee and a good book.

New books I have read this week.

Via a recommendation by Clare London, I've read Boystown 1 and 2 by Marshall Thornton. I'm always keen on private investigators and I really enjoyed these Nick Nowak mysteries.

These are based in Chicago in the 1980s. It's pre-AIDS, pre-PC and pre-Internet. It's a different era and Marshall Thornton doesn't pull any punches in the writing. If you want sweet romance these aren't the books for you. If you like gritty stories with a full-on lead who has complicated work and relationship lives, often intertwining, these are definitely the books for you.

Finalist for the Lambda Award in Gay Mystery, Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries takes place in Chicago during the early 1980s. Haunted by his abrupt departure from the Chicago Police Department and the end of his relationship with librarian Daniel Laverty, Nick Nowak is a beat cop-turned-dogged private investigator. In this first book of the series, Nick works through three cases: a seemingly simple missing persons search, an arson investigation, and a suicide that turns out to be anything but. While working the cases, Nick moves through a series of casual relationships until he meets homicide detective Bert Harker and begins a tentative relationship. 

Animal of the day - giraffes. Just because they make me giggle.