Genius or madness?

I’m sitting at my keyboard and contemplating that question. Why? Because I decided to rewrite my title Rockin’ the ’Nog.  Complete revision of the story. Why? Because I’m either a screaming genius or corkheaded mad.

So, what happened when I first wrote ’Nog—way back when—was a small story placed in the Christmas time of Portland, OR while I was in a time of transition in my life.  It’s been hard, but I’m now out of “survival” mode and into “thriving” mode. But, back to the book. As I’ve done in the past, and will probably do in the future, I used my fiction to help me process things that are happening in my life. More, I did receive a mistaken “c*ck shot” from a buddy, who thought he was texting someone for a hook-up. HILARIOUS!! Then I put it into a book and we all laughed. (The trouble of being buddiemichelleking_seasons_rockinthenogs with a fiction author. Anything interesting that crosses my plate could, and probably would, end up in a book.)

But now, four years later, ’Nog has something else to say because I have something else on my plate. That plate is full of concerns for my audience who follows my Portland Men stories and characters. Specifically, my publisher’s murmurings for a “sequel” to Ascend. (The thriller about the knife-wielding serial killer?)

Well, okay. I’ll produce a sequel but, in truth, this sequel isn’t simply “picking up where the other left off.” There is usually more, at least when I produce a sequel, because for me a story must be larger before it can encompass more time and space. So, to produce a requested sequel I needed to produce MORE.

“Backstory is dead story” so, no, I wasn’t happy to lump it into the one manuscript. (I mean, why? I’m a fiction author. When I make a story I usually put it to paper. Why do all the work and not get paid? #justsaying.) So, I decided to sacrifice my peace of mind—and more than a bit of my sanity—to restructure and revise Rockin’ the ’Nog, now for my m/m brand with Loose ID Publishing.

Yes, there will be a romance between two characters—one who just happens to be the attorney prosecuting the criminal who tried to kill the starring characters of my Ascend—and the guy he’s been lusting after but…well, you know.

Aside that romance, please pluck a bit of the criminal’s story from ’Nog. That would have been the “backstory” of a sequel but, like I said, I loathe backstory dumps so…yeah. Anyway, enjoy the new ROCKIN’ THE ’NOG and Merry Christmas! And look for the Ides of March, my St. Patrick’s Day story which is getting the same revision treatment.

After that, Ascend’s sequel. Also, I’ve working on upgrades of Catching Her Balance and, btw, something new! My first try at serial-type detective fiction tentatively titled The White Mare.

I expect 2017 to be GREAT!!

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No, don’t panic!

My upcoming title is a m/f erotic, but please don’t panic dear fans. My Portland Men series is still going strong, to include (but is not limited to): shifting Rockin’ the ’Nog to reflect the series, as well as equally shifting Ides of March, and creating a sequel to Ascend.  Rewriting the two books above came about because of my publisher mumbling about a sequel to Ascend. (Read: twisting my elbow and giving me the Stink Eye.)

More on that in the next blog entry because I want to discuss my m/f erotic novel and why I didn’t shift that one to m/m. The upcoming book, titled The Veteran’s Homecoming, is, and has always been, a response to my fans’ question of, “Hey, what’s tveteran_test_dogtagshe story with Annabel?”

Thing is, if I were to portray the situation in its fullness, then my Jeremy stops being someone a reader can relate to and is transformed into an abusive a*shat.

–> test cover; only a “what about this?” bit of art. Totally unofficial and belongs to someone other than me.

Yes, Jeremy was once in a terrible emotional and intellectual space regarding his fearful choice to stay in the closet, and that resulted in damage done to him as well as the people in his inner circle. Specifically, Annabel.

Is there any value to read about this traumatizing mental landscape? No. Butterball is already out. But there is a story to tell. In sum: Annabel’s.

What is it like to be uncomfortable in one’s own skin?

What is it like to be lost and orphaned?

How how can torn souls be healed?

Those questions, and the finding those needed answers, is the core of my upcoming The Veteran’s Homecoming. It’s my honor to introduce to you Annabel Lawrence and Jeremy’s brother Zachary Roberson.

Now, Annabel has been wronged by Jeremy but that isn’t anything I will discuss. I like to ensure my heroes, wounded or otherwise, stay heroic. So…Jeremy’s past is in the past. However, it is referenced because Zach acts on what he believes to be truth. In an ugly spin, he’s acting on lies. Why? Because this Jeremy is pre-Travis (in Butterball) and, consequently, he’s still closeted.

That means his life is a lie.

That means that he needs to keep the reason for his broken relationship to be a secret.

That means, when given the opportunity to come clean to his brother Zach…he fails

That means, Annabel is is Zach’s target for “justice.” Zach is a marine. Honor is the heartbeat of Zachary Roberson. He learns too late that honor isn’t the path his brother walks at this time in Jeremy’s life. Annabel, furious about the past, is determined to enjoy a reckoning.

The two come together like a swirling confluence of raging rivers…and fall in love.  Isn’t that lovely? Did I mention that Zach’s personal sexual kink is BDSM’s owner/property? Annabel’s minuscule amount of trust makes that sort of play problematic.

Now Zach must find a way to fix what he broke. Honor must be restored, and to do so he must heal what he broke. More importantly, he needs to accept that both Portland and Annabel are his future.

Welcome home, marine!

(Thumbs up to the cover artist!)

 

 

 

ASCEND arises

I’m home with a summer cold–they’re the worst, those summer bugs–so this is late. Sorry. *Sniff/koff/honk/wipe/koff* Sorry again. Today’s news is that Ascend (FKA Marked) has now been shelved at Loose ID.

First: Yes, I changed the title. From Marked to Ascend. Why? In sum, another author’s story had been shelved with a similar name. Too recently and too similar for shelving purposes. (That confusion thing.)

 
Second: Why Ascend? I’d kicked around MichelleKing_Ascendmultiple ideas, one of which was Rising. That went forward for a while until I hit the eject button. Why? Rising reminded me of an expanding p*nis, and that wasn’t a correlation I wanted for my m/m romance. Now, I would have used the title if the novella was a comedy, but since it’s  a romance/thriller, I pulled the title and thought up something else.

ASCEND. Yeah. Out of the ashes and rising. No retreat. No surrender. Totally apropos for this novella.

Third: Did you notice the Phoenix? That’s both the tattoo on Diego’s shoulder and (to my knowledge) the icon for Puerto Rico. From the beneath the jackboot of Spain’s colonization to their eventual rising into a US Commonwealth. I expect that soon they, like the populace of DC, will become a fully realized state of America.

Fourth: As seems to be the norm for such a talented artist, GD Leigh totally NAILS IT with the cover art. Diego is not only hot-hot-hot, but his plumy hair–a “fade”–is totally what I described on my book. Okay, yeah, the tattoo isn’t there but that’s not really GD’s fault. I built that part of the book around a piece of cover art selected for Amber Quill, the title’s first publisher, which had the tattoo predominantly displayed.

Thus, there is no surprise that something like that art wasn’t included in the graphic. There’s only so much that can be done between the differing cover art. Times bring changes and due to these changes, I certainly cannot expect everything to be included with the cover art.

GD Leigh’s work is as close to perfection as I could wish for Ascend. Total RESPECT.

Please enjoy the edited and tweaked title!

Busy week(s)

The other day I was asked by my brain injury doctor (read: shrink) if I’ve had time to write. She wants to make sure I’m taking time for the things that feed my soul. “Balance,” she says. “Time for yourself. Time for the things that feed your  creativity.”  She knows I’m an artist so, yes, time for the artistic thing appears to be important for my healing.

Or as I say, “writing keeps me sane.” So, what have I been doing? Creatively speaking, that is. Well, this is on my desk:

  1. Putting In Control through the meatgrinder so it can return to the shelves for Loose ID’s call for three seasonal books that will be bound in paperback at the conclusion. Consequently, In Control needed a new title to reflect a holiday in spanning Autumn 2016 to Spring 2017.
  2. Fussing with a title and a holiday, settling on A Veteran’s Homecoming (for Veteran’s Day) and producing all the necessary documents for that. Oh, and folding the minor changes to shift the book’s time frame from summer’s sizzle to Veteran’s Day.
  3. Reissue of Marked, which includes all the editing and such. Except that the publisher had recently put out a book with “marked” in the title. So, I was invited to explore new ideas for a title. (Gaaaaa!! Being “marked” is an important part of the plot/theme!!)  Left with no other option, I shuffled words around in my head seeking something that sort of worked within the story’s theme.
  4. I came up with “Rising” as in getting up…but that chafed me. “Rising” called to my mind that of an erection and a filling penis. Rising. *koff-koff* Yeah. Just no. I chewed on the situation more and came up with “Ascend” since that also reflected the “phoenix rising” gig I have within the manuscript. So, back to the manuscript as it goes through LINES and PROOFREADING before returning to the shelves. (I’m guessing late July or early August.)
  5. Pizza

Three different covers?

Remember the glory and amusement of Christina Dodd’s first Castles in the Air cover? The lady had three arms. I remember Dodd saying to a group of us: “You can’t buy promotion like that.”  I’m feeling her bemusement.

The cover of The Pirate’s Cove had three different variation during this past week. Keep in mind my manuscript and support documents always indicated “The Pirate’s Cove.” Things, however, moved a bit sideways.

It went like this:

Pre-shelving –

  • “The Pirates’s Cove.” My response: (paraphrase) “Uhh, Ummm… Please change. Too many ‘s’.”

Then arrives the shelving:

  • “The Pirates Cove.” (Me internally: “Okay, no apostrophe but I’ll go with it.” Besides, I’m flexible. I can promote anything, even mistakes.)

Days later:

  • “The Pirates’s Cove” again. My response, after reconciling myself to the wandering apostrophe: “(Paraphrase) I like “The Pirates Cove” better.)

Jumbling and drama on the back end–“There’s been three different titles for this book. Editors, what did the manuscript say?”–and I’m feeling sick to my stomach over the issue. (I don’t like conflict. That’s probably why I write romance novels.)

Today:

Now, I know issues happen. And like Christina Dodd said: “You can’t buy promotion like that.”

GD Leigh? Respect. You do amazing work. Morgan takes my breath away.

Pirates Cove

Yay!  It’s finally here! (And LOVE that cover, no?)

BTW, I should give trigger warnings. Why? Because my own buttons, long pushed, wanted yet another moment in the sun. And writing about them is what I do. (/justsaying)  Anyway, here’s the AUTHOR’S NOTE from the manuscript itself:

“Beta readers of this story have asked me if I have a problem with religion. I do not. What I do have a problem with, however, is parental kidnapping and alienation of the other parent. I am a victim of this crime myself.

In the summer between my first and second grade, I was kidnapped by my mother, put into the hands of a monster, alienated from my father and grandparents, and groomed to be a grifter. All for her benefit. To this day she refuses to take ownership of her vicious behaviors. The cries of “I’m a good mommy!” and the “you said you wanted to be with me!” still came my way until the past year. That’s when I severed all contact. I had to.

Daily, I struggle with and endure the aggressive case of PTSD woven into my psyche from her lies, her gaslighting, and how she turned the other way when faced with my bruises, my depression, and the pervy pictures taken of me. I use my fiction to lance that still-seeping wound.

Childhood abuses, specifically what happened to me beneath the mask of her “caretaking,” can be seen in every book I write. It’s that endemic to my world. No, it’s not okay, and yes, it must be spotlighted and ended.

As for the argument regarding the Apostolic faith? What that infamous Kentucky clerk did to a faith-based walk close to my heart is unforgivable. She and folks like her are the very reason the term “recovering Apostolic” exists. It is a corruption of our faith and our journey.

“Your war is arrogance. That makes it evil. That makes it mine.”

(Lucifer, The Prophecy 1995)”

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