Bywater & Ylva Blog Hop

Hello! I’m blogging today a day late for my spot on the Bywater and Ylva Publishing Blog Hop, because of an email going astray–which seems to be happening a lot lately. I’m teaching this semester, yet again, which basically means that I’ve been going non-stop with my PhD since I began in September 2014. I’ve either had to complete course work, teach a class online or in person (and the last two semesters, completely designing the syllabus myself), or I’ve had my comprehensive exams for my degree.

Basically, I’m saying I’m tired. More often than not, I have to schedule myself weeks in advance in order to get anything done. So the fact that the blog hop was happening slipped my mind until I got an email reminding me yesterday, and well, now I’m here. I’ve had the chance now to go over and read everyone’s posts & I’m super impressed with everyone’s work. Definitely added a few books to my t0-read list. When I’ll get a chance to read them, I’m not sure, but they are there. 😉

I don’t want it to sound as if I’m complaining about being busy–not in the least. I actually wanted this post for the blog-hop to be celebratory because somehow, even in the middle of this madness, I’ve managed to keep producing creative work. Some of that includes Fragile (which, in theory, I wrote and edited before I started my PhD in 2013 and then let sit in a drawer for six months before I gave it to Ylva to read) and the anthologies I’ve been in for them (still can’t believe it’s 5!)–but that also includes ANOTHER novel coming out in later 2016, some more novellas with unknown pub dates, and a couple handfuls of other short stories. After Fragile, my next release is The Flower Duet with JMS Books.

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After that, I think my next release may be The Open Window with Less Than Three Press, since I’ve completed edits now, but I’m not sure. I’ve updated my separate release tabs on my site to have a “coming soon” section if anyone is curious for more details.

In addition to writing during this time, I’ve also managed to make my academic work reflect my current interests. For example: my comprehensive exams. I’ve deliberately picked my area of specialization in LGBT studies–so now I get to read The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg, and Nevada by Imogen Binnie and call it homework!

Come May 30th, I’ll take that exam and write three essays in four hours (only one of them on LGBT lit) and then I’ll have the summer… to do “nothing.” It will be my first free semester in almost two years now. There’s a calendar I keep in my office that’s usually filled to the brim with deadlines and emails to write and grades to give and papers to hand in that gets suddenly BLANK as soon as June comes around.

And I couldn’t be happier. I plan on reading at least a million romance novels (give or take), go to the beach, and maybe even get a tattoo that I’ve been planning on getting. Learn to cook a new meal. And of course, write a couple novels or novellas myself. I have lots of sketches for upcoming projects, but only time will tell. I have to get it all out of my system, though, because when I come back to school in September, I’ll be teaching again–and doing my proposal for my dissertation.

But c’est la vie. I’m not going to think too far ahead, because I might spoil the good mood I have right now.

I’ve gotta return to a stack of grading for my class, but I wanted to highlight the next person on the list for the blog hop: Cindy Rizzo. We were both in Ylva’s holiday anthology in 2014. Congrats on your releases since then, Cindy!

Thanks again for Jove Belle for organizing the blog hop! I hope my post is better late than never. 🙂

 

Two Anthologies + Exam Season

My comprehensive exams are only a month away and I’m starting to feel the heat. Mostly because I spent the first part of September and October reading my favourite romance authors more than I should have been reading about new media. Oops. I guess my November is scheduled for me.

But before other things take me away, I want to talk about the two anthologies I’ll be in this season. One for Halloween (though really, spooky stories can be read at any time in my opinion), and another in time for the Christmas (or other winter holiday) season!

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I’ve already mentioned a few details about “Ugly Things” so I’ll shift my focus to my story “Red Suits and Second Chances” in Ylva’s Do You Feel What I Feel Anthology. My main character, Gina, dreads the holiday season because she wonders if she’ll have to play Santa Claus again at her office’s Holiday party. Years before, when she wasn’t out as a trans woman, she was always slotted into this role because of her large beard and belly. Now, her life is considerably different–and she merely wants to get through the holidays without revisiting her past ghosts. Good thing Felicia, a helpful coworker, has a plan that involves some rethinking of Christmas spirit and what to do with red fabric.

I realize now that so many of my holiday stories end up having characters who hate Christmas, or generally find a hard time enjoying the holiday. Gift Wrapped was about two women who were considerably stressed for the holiday, since one was grading and the other wasn’t that close with her family. I’m sensing a trend here! I love Christmas, but I often find that I have to really work at loving it in some way. I need to find unique traditions and different stories to tell.

And hopefully, if everything goes okay, I will be done and passed my exams (both written & oral) by the time the winter solstice happens. Wish me luck!