Friday, July 15, 2016

Books and Black Orchids

My writing slump seems to have passed.

Partly, I'm sure, that's due to catching up on all the stuff that was mentally weighing me down. Everything from buying screens for the front windows of the house to arranging for the Italian translation of The Mermaid Murders.

But mostly I think my renewed enthusiasm for writing is due to two things: spending time with friends and family AND reading.

More precisely, reading within the M/M genre.

Last year I read an essay by Matt Bell in the NY Times titled "Influence Looming" wherein he muses "Novels have two primary sources: writer's life experiences or their art experience."

It's a real balancing act. The best fiction is that perfect blend of art and reality. Too often the aspiring author confuses writing fiction with the dutiful documentation of memoirs--and rarely are our own lives as fascinating to others as we imagine. But there's also the danger of being unduly influenced by the work of your peers. You don't want to sound like a third generation recording of a what was once a live performance.

Still, it's important to read in the genre you're working in, and regardless of the medium, all artists are inspired by each others' work. Part of how a genre evolves is through this process of influence. So yes, it was interesting to catch up on what's been happening in the genre over the past couple of years -- sample some of the rising stars and see what old favorites have been up to. There's some great stuff out there, although it feels harder to find those nuggets of gold given how very wide and very deep that river of content has grown.

Anyway, the only thing better than reading is talking books and writing with friends. Especially
talking over cocktails. I discovered something called Black Orchids at our local Yard House and our martini shaker has not been silent since (kidding -- no shaker is involved in this recipe).

Black Orchid
 
 1 ounce Skyy Raspberry Vodka
 1 ounce DeKuyper Blue Curacao
 1 ounce DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker
 Splash: Cranberry juice
 Garnish: none
 


I'm not going to share too much information about what I'm working on because I've got several projects going now and only two of them are absolutely certain to be finished this year.

One is Fair Chance, the final book in the All's Fair trilogy. HOWEVER that book won't be released until next year--please don't give me a hard time about it because I have no control of my publisher's release schedule.

The other project is So This is Christmas. It's that long promised Adrien English holiday novella.

(I know, you'd given up hope of that ever happening, but just because it takes me a while doesn't mean I'm not going to follow through on the books I promised.)

Yes, it's a mystery and it picks up right where the holiday codas end. And...and...I think that's pretty much all I'm going to say at this point!

Cheers! Have a Happy Weekend!

59 comments:

  1. Any recommendations for 'nuggets of gold' that you found in your recent reading?

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    1. Currently reading Amy Jo Cousin's THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and enjoying it very much.

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    2. I loved that one! That entire series was good.

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    3. Any recommendations for 'nuggets of gold' (in the M/M genre) that you found in your recent reading?

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    4. Ah! Well, this affords me opportunity to plug a brand new -- available for pre-order now -- M/My Mystery that I think readers are going to be excited about: Bitter Legacy by Dal MacLean.

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    5. Susan, I didn't realize the book was part of a series.

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  2. I scared the puppy squeeing. She is side eyeing both of us. Just sayin.

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    1. I do not know why my comment posted twice. Twice the squeeling? I'm going with that!

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  4. Oh yay yay yay more Adrien and Jake, I'm so looking forwards to that :-)
    The cocktail sounds lovely too.
    <3

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    1. LOL

      Well...maybe. To you and me maybe? :-D

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  6. So happy to hear about renewed enthusiasm, always a very very good thing. That's fantastic! :-)

    And the bestest thing right after that - more Adrien!!! for Christmas!!! how very wonderful and just *squeals and happy dances* Can't wait!

    Also, cool name for the drink.

    :-)

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    1. Yes! The name of the drink persuaded me to order. The flavor kept me at the bar all night.

      (Okay, not ALL night -- shouldn't start rumors) ;-D

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  7. Wonderful to hear your muses have returned. Looking forward to anything from you but Adrien of course, is a blessing. I completely agree about reading within the genre you write. I am always uplifted by reading authors that have influenced me along my journey, like you. Much love, CJ

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    1. Thank you so much, CJ. That's such a lovely comment.

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  8. I was thinking about authors and writing slumps just recently while listening to "The Boy With the Painful Tattoo" and had wondered if Kit's ambivalence about his writing career was something that you had experienced before. I'm so glad you enjoyed some "me" time and you are back on track. That is great news for us (and you too of course)! Thank you so much for the update.

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    1. I think most writers -- at least writers with lasting careers -- go through various creative "upgrades." I think you have to in order to keep the work interesting -- and to keep building audience.

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  9. Happy to hear you are back in the saddle. Oh, extra points for oh-so-casually dropping HUGE news. LOL Not a Vodka fan, but I'll happily down a few margaritas in honor of you, Adrien and Jake.

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    1. I am grieved to say that tequila has started giving me a headache! :-( But I do so love margaritas. Margaritas, chips and salsa are the sure sign of a civilized country. ;-D

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  10. I am so happy (my smile is unbelievable wide, I could bite in my ears I think), that you have found your joy for writing again! I have my favourites, but these favourites are ca. 98% from your work, so I am so looking forward to read these books. I am really happy!

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  11. Glad to see you've found a way past your slump. :)

    Just knowing that there's a new Adrien English in the works makes me unbelievably happy. *does Kermit!flaily happy dance*

    Hmm... I think I might have to scope out the liquor store to try that Black Orchid. Sounds yummy! Always fun when you get drink recipes and new book updates together.

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  12. So, I read the blog. Then I got to the words Adrien English and long-awaited novella, and nothing else mattered. :-)
    So glad you are in a positive place for writing!

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    1. I love your name! I'm currently listening to the Holmes & Moriarity series and really enjoying it.

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    2. Thank you, Mr. Pinkerton. :-D

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  13. So excited to hear about the Adrien English novella!!! I didn't know this was a thing. Roll on Christmas ��

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    1. What??? You didn't know??? You mean I had more time on this one? :-P

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  14. So nice to hear all the good news.
    Your writing slump has gone on vacation, (may it enjoy a lengthy stay) you got stuff done around your house, (always a good thing) you found a pretty fantastic new drink, and, oh yes, a new Adrien and Jake is on the way!

    *commences Christmas in July dance*
    :D

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    1. Well, when you put it like that! It does sound like a profitable break after all. :-D

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  15. This is wonderful news, Josh! I'm so tremendously happy for you -- and for us, your readers! :-D

    I'm sending lots of big, warm hugs. :-)

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  16. Awesome! Including the Black Orchid:-)

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    1. That Black Orchid is not to be trifled with. :-D

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  17. Phenomenal news-- and not just because there will be new adventures for two of my absolute favorite couples. Welcome back to the world, Josh.

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  18. I am excited and also curious. Chronologically does the Christmas novella take place after we see Adrien and Jake in The Boy with the Painful Tattoo?

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    1. Hm. Interesting. I think it probably takes place before that scene -- assuming that the events of The Dark Tide take place before the H&M books begin, this follows the Christmas that immediately follows TDT.

      So before the scene in TBWTPT. :-D

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  19. Thanks for cheering up my day! Make it even better for me? - is the sequel to The Mermaid Murders still scheduled for the start of next year? Just askin'!

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  20. That is good news.

    Talking with friends over cocktails is a solid solution I think :)

    I read an interview with Eleanor Catton and she said the same thing about needing to read tonnes of books to get inspired/refreshed for her own writing.

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    1. It's a good reminder of what you love about the whole process -- and the emotional and intellectual response you're seeking from the reader. Sometimes writers are just too much in their own heads.

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  21. Awesome!!!! So happy you found your muse again... Looking forward to anything and everything coming up... No pressure 😉

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    1. Thank you. That is the perfect encouragement. :-)

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  22. Wow, have just finished listening to Adrien and Jake for the third time as I need my fix every twelve months or so. Can't wait to catch up with them for xmas. Absolutely luv everything you write!! Whenever I despair at trying to find some quality M/M I just press play on any one of your books and breathe a big sigh of relief. Thanks so much!

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    1. Oh! Thank you so much. That's really a lovely compliment.

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  23. Good to hear your MOJO has returned and how wonderful to have Jake & Adrien on the horizon, along with Elliot and Tucker whom I also adore!
    The new collection of stories in WLOF is on my order from Amazon...I was just about to reread "This Rough Magic" from my PDF, when I saw the posting for the PB! YAY! Looks like a weekend for reading and that yummy Black Orchid cocktail...Thanks! Rdafan7

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    1. I'd honestly sort of forgotten that we had committed to trying to get everything we could into print -- and then all at once I got a series of emails from readers saying WHAT HAPPENED? :-D

      And the truth is I love print!

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  24. Jake and Adrien, Adrien and Jake!!!! You just made my week, maybe even my month!! So glad your slump is over!

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