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“Maybe it isn’t worth it,” Leaghanda said out loud, not caring who heard it.
Arakiss, her demon, lay by Leaghanda’s feet as usual, picking lint from the bedspread. At Leaghanda’s words, she sat up and pinched her little toe.
“Ouch.” Arakiss had claws.
“What do you mean it isn’t worth it?”
“Modern living.” Leaghanda bit her bottom lip. “Would it be so bad to just leave it all? There are cheap cabins and houses up north. I could buy one and just live there. Far away from society.”
In a few weeks my new novel “A Tale of Spiders and Canned Soup” will be out.
The blurb can be found here.
“A knock on the open door brought her back to reality. And there Mika was. Light blue eyes, widened as if from exertion and a panting, strawberry mouth. Her hair, a golden messy thing, stood out in every direction as if she had been running against the wind. She was wearing a small green T-shirt that accentuated her slim waist and sinewy arms and combined with baggy jeans she gave the impression of a rag doll. A pretty rag doll. But a rag doll nonetheless.
Pauline shook her head to get rid of her stray thoughts and plastered a professional smile on her face.
“Ms Lister?” The rag doll’s voice was soft and held together despite the breathlessness.
“Mika?” Pauline made a gesture to the chair in front of her desk. “Come in and sit down.”
Mika felt her cheeks strain as she met her new mentor’s smile. She sat down on the chair, willing her heart to stop trying to hammer its way out of her chest. She couldn’t believe she was late for her first meeting with her mentor; she could have physically slapped herself. Sorry, Molly, I can’t believe I’m screwing up already. She reached into her pockets and closed her fingers around her keychain. As the edges of the key dug into the flesh of her palm, she felt herself grow calmer.
“Hello.” Apparently her mentor was Australian. “My name is Pauline Lister.”
“Mika Sinclair,” Mika murmured even though Pauline already knew her name. “Nice to meet you.” Her mentor had short brown hair and was wearing a burgundy shirt. She looked nice. Professional and put together.
“You too.” Pauline said curtly. “I trust you found your way here no problem?”
“Yes, yes. I’m sorry for being late.” Mika nodded. And I would have come on time if I hadn’t decided to visit Philip, Becky and Natalie. She sighed when she thought about how her little foster siblings had cried when she said goodbye. She had had to pry Natalie’s fingers from her neck to even be able to leave.
“So I think we should go through the classes you’re having this semester, and you also have some choices to make.”
“Oh?” Mika took out her notepad and a pen and got ready. She hoped that Pauline wouldn’t make her opt out of her health and social care class.
“First, I need to ask you what kind of degree you’re hoping for at the end of your studies.”
Mika felt her face heat.
“Well, I applied for a joint degree of sociology and history, but…” Her face was getting hotter and hotter and she prayed to God that her cheeks weren’t as red as she dreaded they were. “I wanted to exchange my sociology classes for anatomy, and a health and social class.”
Pauline raised one eyebrow.
“It let me do that online.”
“Did it now?” Pauline looked at her own screen and clicked at something. “You need to take at least one sociology class, I’m afraid. Introduction to sociology is mandatory.”
Mika frowned. She had hoped to trick the system somehow.
She raised her head and their gazes met.
“Why are you studying sociology if you’re not interested in it?”
Because it’s what Molly would have wanted to study.
“It doesn’t matter. Can I keep my anatomy class?”
Pauline looked puzzled but didn’t say anything else. She looked at the screen again.
“Yes you can. This semester you can take Introduction to sociology, one history class and one anatomy class.”
Mika nodded. She hugged the key tighter, not caring if it broke the skin. She fixated Pauline with her gaze, pleading her not to ask anything more.
“I can see here that you want to take Vikings class.” Pauline smiled and this time her smile looked more genuine and less out of politeness.
“Yes.” Mika nodded. She had looked at the different history classes the university offered and that had been the least boring one.
“Then I can only congratulate you on an amazing choice.” Pauline looked back at her screen but kept the easy smile.
“That’s one of mine.””
December was a very difficult month for me in spite of a little lovely trip. I had a medical procedure, reacted badly to medicine and spent the time between December 26th and January 5th in a sad fog. I’m okay, I am but there isn’t as much of me as there was before the holidays. I’m going to take it a bit easier now. Probably won’t be online as much on social media. I might still update my blog. I will definitely still write.
I actually sent “A Tale of Spiders and Canned Soup” to my publisher just before 2018 ended! I’ll make a proper announcement soon, with blurb, a teaser and eventually cover art in future posts.
Happy New Year everyone!
I know that I’m really on the letter M but since my dog Sheeba fell into eternal sleep on Sunday, the only M I can think of is mourning. I need a distraction and what better distraction is there than NaNoWriMo!
NaNoWriMo for those who don’t know is a challenge to write 50 000 words in a month, basically write a whole novel give or take. You can learn more about the challenge here, however I’m in no way affiliated with that website. In fact I don’t even have an account there. I’m just doing this in my own little bubble.
So what does this mean?
It means I’ll try to post the word count of the day on my twitter.
It means I’ll use this challenge to write every day which I usually don’t do during working weeks.
The last time I did this challenge was back in 2012 or something silly like that so it’s very overdue.
It would be kind of nice to finish another novel before 2018 too and if I do this and manage, I would be so proud of myself.
I’ve already written about 4000 words on the project, these words will not be counted towards the challenge.
A piece of advice to myself:
If I write around 1600-1700 words per day I will meet the goal. Just under 2k words isn’t a problem. On those days when I feel like writing more, I will. I doubt I’ll write every day for 30 days so it’s good to build up a buffer on the days I can.
Anybody else doing the challenge?
I started writing this post when the vet called. My littlest but oldest dog is in the hospital. He has been for a couple of days now. He is just deteriorating. Not eating or drinking. We can’t really tell what’s wrong. A bug? The little tumor he has on his gallbladder? The medicine for dementia he was prescribed a couple of weeks ago?
It feels wrong that he is there. Little Sheeba. Deaf and probably confused. He should be in my arms.
The vet says they’re giving him 24 hours but after that they’re giving up. He is old and thin, it’s cruel to just let him suffer.
How does one deal with the death of a pet? I have had it happened before but it’s such a shock. I don’t know what to do now. We got him when I was 16, he has been a part of my life for so long.
I hate the thought of him being somewhere I can’t get to. Where he can’t get to me. To us.
Maybe he will miraculously get better and come home tomorrow. Stranger things have happened right? Right?
A.N: This is not “enemies to lovers”, but more “lovers to enemies”. Also NSFW and all that. After writing the blog post yesterday I sat down to write non-stop. This is the result.
Ela loved power. She always had and probably always would. Her title, queen, was more than just a nickname since her dad dying. She had a proper throne now and the sentences she gave out stuck. Her word was law. However, this was not what she had wanted. The sword in her hand. The neck in front of her.
It didn’t seem so long ago that Ela had pressed her teeth into that soft skin. Bit it. Not gently. It didn’t matter. Kero had always made her pay afterwards. Their trysts more battle than love-making. But Ela had never wanted to kill her. This was not what their dalliance was supposed to lead to. This was wrong.
“You might as well kill me.” Kero’s voice was husky as always, just the sound of it made Ela’s insides twist. Stupid woman, she thought, if Kero just could have been normal… Like everyone else. Or if she could have just not been a criminal. That would have been helpful. “Just do it. What are you, a chicken?”
“You dare to judge me?” Despite her harsh words, Ela kept her tone soft. “You want to die?”
…actually, K is not for kerosene at all but close enough to energetic. I struggled with this letter. All the words I thought of start with a k in Swedish but a c in English.
I’ve been ill for a few days. Bedridden when I should have been at a birthday-party; under a blanket when I should have been dancing, you get the idea. Today, after taking a nap, I woke up extremely hyper. My brain is on overdrive and my body can’t keep up. In the past, let’s say at the tender age of 23 I would have channelled this energy into a very smutty fan fiction but now that I’m older and wiser I think I shall instead use it for something using original characters. After writing this blog post, that’s what I’m going to do. Write a very small, hopefully very sexy, one-shot using who knows what characters my brain can come up with so be on the look-out for that.
Otherwise I have finished the planning of my fifth novel, “The Biggest Secret” (working title) and within a week or so I’ll start writing that. But today, tonight, maybe a short lesbian story is actually what my mind needs to focus on. I tried reading first (Dangerous Waters by Radclyffe) and I just couldn’t focus.
In other news, work has started. I hope to still be active on social media but as all my readers know, that’s not something I can promise. Just next Tuesday, we’re pulling a 12 hours shift and between planning and correcting and stressing over what might happen, a lot of times my creativity is ground into dust.
Fun fact: K could have been for Kathy which is based on Katarina, my legal middle name. I’m going to go and write something decadent now, which me luck!
In my last post I talked about how reading Backwards to Oregon changed my life. Backwards to Oregon was written by Jae, whom I have had the fortune of interviewing!
I think most people know who you are, but let’s say there is someone reading who doesn’t, what would you say is the most important thing to know about Jae?
That I love books—writing them, reading them, editing them. When it comes to my own books, I want my readers to know that I work hard to deliver a high-quality book every time, with three-dimensional characters and a realistic love story that makes you fall in love with both characters too.
Do you prefer e-books or physical books?
It’s not an either/or thing for me. I buy mostly e-books because otherwise I would run out of space on my bookshelf. Plus e-books are really convenient when you’re traveling. But if I really like a book, I’ll buy it as a paperback too.
Do you feel different about writing now than when you first started?
Honestly, no. I was always passionate about writing, and I still am. But, of course, now writing is my job too, so that means I can’t skip a day of writing because I don’t feel motivated. Being a full-time writer isn’t all about sipping lattes all day and feeling kissed by the muse. Sometimes it’s hard work. But it’s still the best job in the world.
Once you said, in an interview, that one of your biggest fears was having all characters be the same – do you feel like you’ve managed to not do this?
I’ll let my readers by the judge of that. So far, I think I managed to avoid it. I see it so often with writers who publish several books a year. Sometimes, their books and characters are weak copies of earlier novels. I don’t want that to happen to me, so I put a lot of extra effort into creating my characters. I create character sketches that include a lot of details from their childhood, past relationships, job history, their fears, strengths, and weaknesses. I want my characters to be fully developed story people that my readers want to hang out with.
Would you say Backwards to Oregon is your biggest success?
That depends on what criteria you use to measure success. It’s not my best-selling novel of all times (that would be Just for Show and Something in the Wine) nor did it win the most awards (that would be Second Nature, which won five awards). But it’s certainly a book that still resonates with readers. When I asked readers for their all-time favorite lesbian / women-loving women novel for the free choice square of Lesbian Book Bingo, Backwards to Oregon was one of the top 15 answers.
If you didn’t work as a full-time writer and editor, is there any other field that interests you? Psychology again or something else?
I’m interested in a lot of things, but I’m not sure I’d want to do any of them for a living. Being a psychologist was great, but since I’m an introvert, working with people all day took a lot out of me, so I probably wouldn’t want to do that again. Honestly, being a full-time writer is a dream come true for me. But if I couldn’t do that for some reason, I’d love to do something else with languages.
How do you balance writing with the distraction of social media and the internet?
I always say the Internet is the biggest blessing and the greatest curse for writers. I try to do my writing in the morning and early afternoon and turn off the Internet until I meet my daily word count goal. If I use the Internet to look up things while I write, I sometimes fall down a research rabbit hole… Half an hour later, I find myself reading a fascinating article that has nothing to do with my initial research question at all.
Once I’m done writing for the day, I do marketing, connect with readers via social media, and answer email in the afternoon.
Do you have a favourite social media?
Hmm… In the past, I would have said Facebook, since I started out not liking Twitter much. But over time, that has definitely changed. I’ve been on Instagram for just a few months, and I really like it. Having a mainly image-based social media is a nice change of pace.
Is there any novel of yours that took longer to write than the others?
The writing itself almost always takes the same amount of time—about three months for the first draft. What differs is how long the research phase and the revisions take.
Just Physical is the book that I spent most time revising. I had to rewrite the entire book several times to get Jill’s emotional journey right. When it comes to research, my historical romances (Backwards to Oregon, Hidden Truths, and Shaken to the Core) took much longer, and I also did a lot of research on asexuality before I started writing Perfect Rhythm. So these would be the books that took the longest to finish overall.
When you start planning a new novel, do you start with the story or the characters?
Always the characters. They are at the core of the story. They are the story. Once I know who the characters are and what they need to learn and how they need to grow during the course of the book, that determines the plot.
If someone had never read any of your books, which one do you think they should start with?
That depends on what kind of books they like to read. If they like historical fiction, I’d say start with Backwards to Oregon. If they like paranormal romance, I’d say start with Second Nature. If they are mainly reading contemporary romance, I’d say either Just for Show (which is a romance that starts out as a fake relationship) or Damage Control (which is a celebrity romance).
Is there anything in your writing journey that you’d like to go back and change?
Not much actually. Maybe making that huge leap into writing full-time a little sooner or with more confidence. But all in all, I look back without any regrets.
What is next for you?
I’m eagerly awaiting the publication of my newest romance novel, Paper Love, which will be available everywhere on August 29. It’s my first book that is set in Germany—in the city where I live—and I’m curious to find out what readers think.
I’m in the middle of doing research on my next novel, book #2 in the Fair Oaks series. It will have different main characters than book 1 (Perfect Rhythm) but takes place in the same small town in Missouri.
I’m also traveling a lot right now. I just got back from a trip to the US for the GCLS conference, and I’ll leave for EllCon in Bristol soon. It’s always great to spend some time among people who are just as passionate about books and about lesbian fiction as I am.
You can find out more about Jae here.