Thursday, 17 April 2014

Rainbow Con: People Watching

Day 2: Not wanting to move.

I'm a wee bit tired today. Despite the long day yesterday and getting to bed at 'my' four in the morning, my wretched mind was still in travel mode. I don't think my brain got off the plane until part way through today. I didn't sleep much last night, but I'm hoping for better things tonight. Also someone's alarm better not go off at six tomorrow. That's all I'm saying. *glares at roomie*

I sat in the lobby today and watched people arrive. There's nothing like hordes of very fit teenage tennis players to make this out-of-shape author feel really old. However I did get the chance to talk to lovely Angel Martinez as her room wasn't ready.

As we talked more people rolled in. Rhys Ford gives great hugs! So here is me with Rhys Ford, Gryvon, Angel Martinez and Nicole Dennis.

L.E. Franks' photo
What else? Oh yes, dinner organised by Jodi Pushkin at Ruby Tuesday. L.E. Franks lied. I'm just telling you that in case she says different. She told me I wouldn't need long sleeves, but then we sat outside and I froze. I'm always cold. The food was yummy and I got to sit with Charlie Cochet, Dean Pace-Frech, K-Lee Klein and Michael Rupered.

I love the fact we get to talk to so many different people. I wish I'd discovered cons earlier. Just having conversations with people who don't think you've got two heads because of what you write is wonderful.

Anyway, I ended the day with coffee and curled up on the sofa chatting to L.E. Franks. Plus yawning. I did a lot of that.



Day 1: Where's the taxi?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Brit in America. Where's the taxi?

Tuesday 15th April. Travelling to Rainbow Con.

Oh happy days. The taxi didn't turn up. It was 6.40 in the morning. The taxi was meant to arrive at 6.30. Okay, only ten minutes late but I had a flight to catch and they couldn't blame traffic this time. I got up at 4.30. Yes, I was packed but the house looked like a tip and I forgot to run the dishwasher, and... and... and... I was in a panic, does it show?

My lovely daughter, got up at 5.30 to make sure I was up. She was a star, helping me to get ready and pack the previous day. By the time 6.30 arrived I was ready to roll... except no taxi. I phoned them up. There was that pause when you know something was dreadfully wrong.

"You are booked, but for tomorrow."
"I booked and paid, and I checked it last night. Today is the day."
"Someone is just passing your door...." Yeah right!
I took a deep breath and tried not to panic. "I'll be here."

Now, my flight was not until ten, but you have to understand that the trip around the M25 to Heathrow airport in the rush hour generally looks like this.

A 35 minute journey can take an hour and a half - if you're lucky, and the traffic starts from early in the morning.

The taxi arrived eventually (passing the door - hah!) and we got going. He was a great guy, ex-Marine, and very chatty. The traffic was bearable, and by eight o'clock I was checked in, with coffee and breathing for the first time that morning.

My flight with US Airways was uneventful except for the turbulence. I thought I was going to be thrown off the loo - mid-stream - at one point. Wouldn't that have been embarrassing? The staff were lovely, I had no one sitting next to me so I could write, and food was actually okay. Considering most airline food I've had is disgusting that is saying something. One curious thing that made me giggle, post lunch, they made everyone put the shades down "for the screens". Of course everyone went to sleep like good little girls and boys. I don't sleep on plane flights so I watched this with some amusement.

My back is not up to eight hours of those seats. By the time I staggered off the plane I could have done with a hot tub and a nice massage. I did contemplate upgrading but it is out of my price-range.

THEY LET ME IN THE COUNTRY! Woohoo. Immigration was very simple. Yes there were queues (lines) but what the heck, the British are used to that.

Charlotte to Tampa. More bumps. But again, no one sitting next to me so I could carry on with my story. Yes, S.A. Meade, Stormin' Norman is nearly finished!!

I was really pleased to reach Tampa. I'd been travelling for fifteen hours, but there was still one hurdle to overcome. The shuttle to the hotel. After I'd sat on the wall outside the airport for nearly an hour waiting for the shuttle Sue was starting to grit her teeth, or doze; I think I did both.

I met author, Ann Lister, in my shuttle once it had turned up, and we chatted happily for the next hour(ish) as the shuttle meandered around. The older ladies behind us were wide-eyed when they realised what we were here for but to give them credit, their heads didn't explode.

I found my roomie, L.E. Franks in the hotel bar (well, there's a surprise) with Kindle Alexander (both of them) and Sandrine Gasq Dion. Thank you Kindle Alexander for the welcome. You rock. Despite being knackered I was hungry, and they took me and Ann to a steak house. Our waiter, Jeff, was a one-man entertainment act all by himself. He handled the six of us (you can imagine the conversation) extremely well. Now Sue, in a steak house, very tired, faced with a huge choice of meat (!) and no idea what to pick - I let Jeff do the choosing. One steak dinner and a watermelon margarita later I was much happier.

By the way, happy birthday, Sandrine. Sorry you didn't get your ice cream.

Ann Lister's photo

So, I'm here at Rainbow Con. Tired and a little travel-happy today. More later.

Sue xx

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Silver Publishing

There are many posts going around about Silver Publishing. Please read here for the details from AJ Llewellyn.

I received my rights back to Chance to be King, Stolen Dreams, The Layered Mask and Backpack the beginning of last week. Many thanks to Brenna Lyons for sending me the letter. The first two I have submitted to Dreamspinner and the last two I am going to self-publish.

I have mixed feelings about Silver. Like many people I have no idea what I've sold over the past year and whether the money I received bore any relation to the actual royalties. Then the money dried up completely. However, unlike some of my fellow authors, Silver was not my major source of income.

Silver was one of the publishers that gave me my first start in publishing, and for that I thank them. I learnt a lot from the editor, Alison Mann.

I'm not going to talk any further on the subject. I don't know much because I'd stood back from the whole mess last year - there's too much going on in my family to deal with Silver at the same time.

Sue xx

Friday, 11 April 2014

Why did my book sell less than Auntie Nora's shopping list?

Every so often, author friends and I have this discussion which generally follows the same path.
"I really love this book."
"It's a great book. One of your best. Look at the 5 star reviews from all these happy readers."
"Yeah but Auntie Nora's shopping list - the one with cream for her piles - sold more copies than this book did."
"Gettaway. Why didn't it sell?"
"Fuck knows. XXXX did and that's a pile of pants."
"HUGE pants. Great-aunt Betty sized pants."
"There's no justice in the world."

It's not fair. The book you put your heart and soul into sells three copies and sinks into oblivion. XXXX which was clearly written on the back of a cigarette packet sells hundreds of thousands of copies, if not millions, and is crap, really crap.

Lisa Worrall and I had this discussion a couple of weeks ago and she blogged about it. We've both had books, Hairy Harry's Car Seat for me last year and Un-Expected for Lisa that have sold very well - and yet others have sold less than Auntie Nora's shopping list. Why these and not the others?
Last night we sat around a dinner table with Elizabeth North, Connie Bailey and Anne Regan from Dreamspinner, three ladies who know the business inside out, and had the same discussion.

There's no rhyme of reason why X sells and Y doesn't. They can be about the same topic and yet one catches the readers' imagination and one doesn't. You may get five star reviews from reviews sites but will they translate into sales? Let's face it, readers make their own minds up about what they want to read, and word-of-mouth is a powerful tool. Aha! But what about marketing? Clever marketing does make a difference but word-of-mouth is greatest marketing tool there is - look at the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.

What about our genre. Let's be honest. The MM Romance genre is very small tadpole in the big pond of romance. Except that no one knows how big it is because there is no industry record. We could be 5% of the romance market, we could be 55%. Who knows? But it's hard when you see tweets from authors celebrating 6000 downloads a month, and knowing that even with your one bestseller, you could only reach half that figure - for one month - maybe. Will MM romance ever reach mainstream sales levels? I see MM books reaching scary high in the Kindle charts. I look forward to the day we hit the top 100 on a regular basis. I want to be one of those writers.

I have four years' experience as an author. I follow the pattern; regular releases and I see sales building up from sales of my back catalogue. I call myself a jobbing writer. I work hard, I write a lot, release a lot and I hope that each new book will be 'the' one. I have hope and I love my job.

So if you're discouraged. If today is not your day, now's the time to pull up your big girl/boy panties, mainline the coffee and start writing. Because your next book could be it.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Coming Soon: Isle of Waves

Isle of Waves

Wig Tobias and Nibs Tyler have been together for a long while, but this year their love is about to be tested. Their business, the Blue Lagoon Restaurant on the Isle of Wight, is vandalized, and it may or may not be a coincidence that the neighbors want to buy them out. Making matters stickier, the police don’t seem interested in investigating until a friend of the couple, an out of town copper, prods them to take action.

Their friends, Paul and Olaf, Liam and Sam, and the whole Owens family come to help Wig and Nibs in their time of need. But Paul and Olaf may need a nudge from Wig and Nibs to keep their relationship alive. Meanwhile, a dear friend falls gravely ill. And if that’s not enough, Nibs has been hiding his own medical problems from Wig. When a gale strikes the Isle of Wight, the Blue Lagoon and its owners could be facing the end—unless they and their friends can unravel the knot of misfortune one hitch at a time.


When Liam Marshall’s best friend, Alex, loses his fight with colon cancer, he leaves Liam one final request: buy a ticket to Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, and scatter Alex’s ashes off the pier. Liam is tired, worn out, and in desperate need of a vacation, but instead of sun, sea, sand, and hot cabana boys, he gets a rickety old train, revolting kids, and no Ewan MacGregor. 

Liam would have done anything for his friend, but fulfilling Alex’s final wish means letting go of the only family Liam had left. Lost, he freezes on the pier… until Sam Owens comes to his rescue. 

Sam’s family has vacationed on the Isle of Wight every year for as long as he can remember, but he’s never met anyone like Liam. Determined to make Liam’s vacation one to remember, Sam looks after him—in and out of the bedroom. He even introduces Liam to his entire family. But as Sam helps Liam let go, he’s forced to admit that he wants Liam to hang on—not to his 
old life, but to Sam and what they have together.

After a whirlwind vacation on the Isle of Wight, where he found the love of his life, Sam Owens sends Liam Marshall home to Michigan to tie up loose ends so they can be together forever. When all communication with Liam goes silent, Sam worries. Fearing the worst, he enlists the help of his brother, British Metropolitan police officer Paul Owens, to help him find Liam and get him back safely in time for their wedding. Paul has little difficulty digging into this mystery across the pond. Paul is also good-looking and openly bisexual, all of which adds to the dismay of Wisconsin Detective Olaf Skandik. 

Olaf is ex-military and still closeted now that he’s part of the police department. He’s frustrated, hemmed in by the walls he’s erected, and when he meets Paul, he wonders if this may be the time and opportunity for change. Looking into his brother’s missing fiancé, Paul also starts looking into Olaf, and business soon mixes with pleasure, a bit of romance that may strengthen his case for them to make a future together.
Isle of Waiting

Out and proud police sergeant Paul Owens is fed up. Olaf Skandik has broken an Internet date, and since the man is not only closeted but lives across the ocean, there’s no other way to meet. Paul has given it his best shot, but now he’s sure a long distance relationship will never succeed. But when Olaf wakes him up in the middle of the night, he gives Paul a few good reasons to make another attempt at staying together.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Grand Adventures

I'm not sure how I manage to forget something so important but I'm part of a very important anthology, Grand Adventures, brought together by John Goode and Dreamspinner for two of our own, TJ Klune and Eric Arvin. A little of their story is below. Please buy from Dreamspinner if you can because a greater percentage of the royalties go to the couple.

My story is Isle of Waiting, a snapshot in the Isle of Where series. Paul is being an idiot. Enough said.

On September 1, 2011, TJ Klune wrote, "'s not about the ending, it's about the journey..." in a review of Eric Arvin's Woke Up in a Strange Place. With those words, two men began a journey of love and invited us to ride along. TJ and Eric have shared so much with us: their wonderful books, their smiles, their humor, their lives, and their inspiring devotion to each other. In December of 2013, their journey took a detour when Eric was taken to the emergency room. He survived the surgery to remove a cavernous hemangioma from his brain stem, but the challenges TJ and Eric face are far from over. 

The authors in this anthology donated their talent as a way to support Eric's continued recovery, to help bring strength to TJ, and to show both of them just how much love surrounds them. Grand Adventures is a diverse range of stories about the journey of love. We’re going on some grand adventures for a great cause. Thank you for joining us. 

One hundred percent of the income from this volume goes directly to TJ and Eric. 

Foreword by S.A. McAuley
An Unexpected Thing by John Amory
The Twinkie Ignition by J.E. Birk
When Friendship Becomes More by Sophie Bonaste
Isle of Waiting by Sue Brown
The Jogger by KC Burn
Holding Court by Cardeno C.
For Dear Life by Mary Calmes
Under the Full Moon by Ellis Carrington
Stripped by Shae Connor (2nd Edition)
That Place Across the Hall by C.C. Dado
Mistaken MD by Phoenix Emrys
Cops and Comix by Rhys Ford
Last First Kiss by LE Franks
Tomorrow by John Goode
From Fantasy to Friends by CR Guiliano
Witness Protected by Dawn Kimberly Johnson
Water Under the Bridge by Mia Kerick
A Gentle Shove of Human Kindness by Amy Lane
Air (Roads #1.75 million) by Garrett Leigh
An Atheist and a Yoga Instructor Walk into a Bar by Rowan McAllister
Stalking 101 by Moria McCain
Simple Desires by Tempeste O'Riley
Object of Care by Zahra Owens
Kid Confusion by Madison Parker
Fall Train by Jaime Samms
The Exhibition by Andrea Speed
What You Will by Tinnean
Prologue by Brandon Witt

Monday, 31 March 2014

Oh lord, it's Monday again

Seriously, I shouldn't complain about Mondays. It means the kids are back at school and the house is peaceful. I guess that 'Monday morning' feeling is ingrained in all of us.

I have good news. My story, Falling for Ramos, has been accepted by Dreamspinner and should be out October(ish). I am also in a position of having a potential cover, by the very talented Ian Brown (no relation). Being more of a photo girl, it is not often I get actual artwork affecting me but this young man certainly did. I am hoping to feature more of Ian's work on my covers with future books.

I have two weeks before Rainbow Con and I hope to get another story finished, fingers crossed Stormin' Norman, which has been delayed because of writer's block. I hate not finishing stories and this one I've half written twice. What is in my head doesn't fit the Lyon Road series at all.

Wish me luck with Norman and have yourself a great week.

Love and kisses,