Posted on February 18, 2014
Tiptoe-ing into the guest room…
“Oh, good. You’re awake. I brought you tea and…cookies. I stayed up all night baking them. I burned a few…oh, okay. I burned most of them. But the ones on the top of the pile should be pretty good.” I place the cookies and cup of tea on the bedside table.
“You don’t have to get out of bed, as long as you are in Mia’s Guest Room, it’ll work just fine…oh, you want your dachshund slippers?” I bend over to pick them up off the shaggily carpeted floor. “Here you go! No, no let me…”
I gently slide a slipper onto each delicate foot.
“Now you look more comfortable, Raine. Are you ready to start? Great…mind if I sit at the foot of the bed?” I push a couple of pillows onto the floor and sit down. “By the way, I love your Mumford and Sons T-shirt–super cool! So, uh…whenever you are ready…”
After a sip of tea, a nibble of a cookie, the FABULOUS Raine O’Tierney clears her throat.
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about social networking and how utterly stressful it can be for a brand new author. When I take off my tiny hat and my hot pink glasses and my faux mustache and become regular ol’ library lady, I love getting on and seeing what my co-workers and colleagues are all up to! I like to comment on their photos, chat with them, ‘like’ particularly witty posts—it’s all very easy and natural. When I have to do the same thing as Raine O’Tierney? It sometimes becomes a challenge!
When I received my first contract last year, I knew I was going to have to network. So I got myself all set to go onto the major social networking sites and I stepped into the world, friending other authors, and I was immediately hit with feelings of panic and inadequacy. It was like changing schools mid-year and walking into a cafeteria where everyone is already friends!
So I stood there with my proverbial lunch tray, not knowing where in the world to sit, eventually finding a little corner by myself and wondering—was it always going to be this way?
The answer is NO. No, it won’t. I know it’s hard feeling like the newbie and the odd man out, but it will get easier. I’ve made some KICKASS friends and I’ve learned some lessons along the way. If you’re feeling alone, consider the following pieces of advice that were given to me:
- Be helpful! If an author asks for advice about a subject you know about—talk to them!
- Be friendly! Maybe not such a good idea to start a fistfight when you’re trying to make friends. Don’t talk crap on people. Be positive.
- Don’t be a walking advertisement! Seriously, don’t. It’s WONDERFUL to announce that you’ve just got your first galley or to remind people to come to your public chat, but you will only turn people off if every post is a reminder to buy your book.
- You’re MORE than just an author! What are your other interests? Give a shout-out to your favorite show, post art you’ve done, or just celebrate your love of dachshunds. It’s all about connecting with people in a variety of ways!
- Support other authors! Tell an author if you loved their book and if someone asks for a beta reader in a genre you enjoy? Consider offering your help!
And the biggest one (and hardest for me!)…
- BE PATIENT! It takes a while for people to get to know you and if you panic and run away, they never will. I was told (repeatedly) that once my first work actually came out, conversations with people would happen more naturally. Of course, I decided this couldn’t possibly be true and spent months feeling isolated… Then the release drops and wouldn’t you know it? Conversation happens naturally.
Know this—you’re not alone in how you feel. (Most) all of us have felt this way to varying degrees. It’s hard to believe when you first walk into that cafeteria, but you really are part of one of the coolest, most supportive groups in the world! Give it time, you’ll find the whole cafeteria is yours.
(Thank you, Mia Kerick, for having me on your blog!)”
“Oh, Raine, you are so very welcome! It was my pleasure!”
“And you are absolutely glowing this morning.” (Don’t you agree, audience?)
“Is that a gift for me?” I lift a book from the deep mauve bedspread. “Your very first short story? Under the Table and Into His Heart! Well, sweetheart,” I lean toward the top of the bed and hug my guest blogger firmly, “I am speechless. I mean, you didn’t have to do this…but I’m so very glad you did!!”
Under the Table and Into His Heart by Raine O’Tierney
At the Under the Table host club, Valentine’s Day means one thing: cash. Neglected housewives, newly ex-girlfriends, and lovelorn thirtysomethings pay for the attention of handsome men. Shy bartender Jem has always wanted to be a host, and when the club’s owner, Miss Rye, accepts a contract from a MensLove Convention, Jem volunteers to flirt and make out with another host for the ladies’ entertainment. Bailey, an older man who’s had his eye on Jem, convinces Miss Rye to let him be Jem’s partner, and everyone gets more than they expected—especially Jem and Bailey.
“It was just playacting,” he said emphatically, hoping to make it true. His breath escaped in a little white plume that quickly dissipated on the night air. No. No, it wasn’t.
“Maybe for you.”
Bailey had slipped through the door unnoticed, so that when he spoke, Jem started. He turned on Bailey. “All of that—the kissing—it was real for you?”
“You… like me?”
No one had ever liked him in his whole life. Tolerated him, for the sake of Renzy, yes. But liked him? He could remember standing next to Renzy at school, while his brother received one love confession after another from the girls in their class. They had faces so similar they could almost have been identical twins—if not for the eyes. Renzy was always the one people were drawn to.
“I can take it back if you want,” Bailey said quietly. “If you think I’m too old. Or if you’re not interested in being with a man. I’ll say I was joking just then, and we can pretend it was just a job.”
“You can do that? Just pretend?”
“No. Not really. I doubt I’ll be able to delude myself after tasting you. But for your sake, I can try. All you have to do is tell me that you want me to pretend.”
Cover image and author photo
Attached in the email! J
Raine O’Tierney is an always-writing, boundlessly enthusiastic, exclamation point addict! (!!!) She is known for declaring every day “the best day EVER!” and every thing her “all-time FAVORITE!” Despite this (obnoxious?) exuberance, she still somehow manages to have a wonderfully encouraging husband, Siôn, (who also writes M/M rom!) and an amazing group of friends and colleagues who continue to support (read: put up with) her. Raine spends her days working as a library lady, fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom.
Website and social media links
Posted on February 17, 2014
My very first overnight guest, Raine O’Tierney, will stretch out in the bed shown below and discuss the stress of social networking for new authors.
I will try to reduce her stress by feeding her Chamomile tea
and Russian Tea Cookies that I will stay up all night baking.
You don’t want to miss Raine in her fuzzy bathrobe… and I hear that she has dachshund slippers.
I will continue this post…tomorrow.
Posted on February 16, 2014
One of the greatest things about being an author is that I can, through my stories, encourage readers to think about things differently. Maybe even radically differently.
At the most basic, there is this: I write M/M romance. I write YA M/M romance. My goal is to have YA LGBTQ romance mainstreamed into all YA romance, which is certainly a challenge, but quite achievable. You see, I want young adults to think about romance differently. I want them (gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transgender teens) to see love as love.
Not gay love or lesbian love or het love, but simply love. I dream of the day that a romance is just a romance, without qualifications. That is thinking about romance differently, is it not?
I have written YA and adult novels that encourage readers to think about family in a less traditional way. In fact, most of my novels deal with the concept of a “family by choice.” Brett and Corey, in Beggars and Choosers, come together as family, as they truly have no one else in their corners. In A Package Deal, Tristan and Savannah come to Robby as a “package”; not in the traditional sense of a threesome, as their bond is not sexual. They are bound as a family of choice by shared experiences, total commitment to each other, the building of mutual traditions, and time spent together. One of Out of Hiding’s primary conflicts is the need and willingness to accept others as your family, even at the risk of your heart.
In my YA novels, the flexible concept of family is also evident. In Intervention, Kai belongs to a strong family unit, and Jamie to a dysfunctional one. Kai’s family extends their love to encapsulate Jamie, and that sense of secure belonging allows Jamie to flourish. Not Broken, Just Bent also deals with the concept of family, as each character must recognize that, although their family units are far from traditional, they work, and are valid. Clearly, my goal is for readers to open their hearts and minds to the concept that simple love and commitment are the basis of familial bonds.
Another issue I hope readers will look at with new eyes is the essence of communication. Sometimes speaking directly just doesn’t work to express your love, hurt, anger, frustration or fear. Through music, dance, and art Kai, Dario, and Jamie are able to express emotions that words just can’t touch. Look at self-expression in a new way!
And finally, I hope to encourage readers to open their hearts to non-traditional ways in which love can function, and function with purity and innocence and beauty. This relates closely to the concept introduced in A Package Deal, the emotionally intimate love shared by three people, and a theme that I will continue to explore in future works. At its basis, is the question, “Who makes the rules for love?” Who is the powerful one who gets to say- ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN equals a LOVE RELATIONSHIP?
I say, there is no all-powerful being who cares to use his/her energy to dictate the exact equation of what comprises love. Why can’t three or four people (or whatever number of people) come together with a sense of fidelity, commitment, romance, and innocence, if it works for them? Why is that considered somehow kinky or perverse? If the love is pure and the participants are satisfied, who is to say that it is wrong? I encourage my readers to see these types of non-tradtional love relationships as potentially perfect.
This is a release week for me. The Red Sheet, that comes out on Thursday, February 20th, asks you to see the concept of a miracle as a possibility. A complete overnight personality change? Can it happen? Are you able to open your heart to see things with new eyes?
Posted on February 12, 2014
I have been so freaking busy. Seriously. (This is weird…it is kind of like having a REAL JOB!!!) In any case, I have been writing guest posts for blogs and review sites I am going to visit (for my release of The Red Sheet) like it was the reason God put me on Earth. In between writing guest posts, I have been doing edits for my next book for Harmony Ink Press. And in between all of that raising kids, drinking champagne with Mr. Mia, still not cooking decent meals, a little Face-booking, and emptying the dishwasher. And feeding cats. There it is…I have summed up my life.
Next week, I plan to do a post right here about FLASH MOBS!!! I am probably a little bit too excited for this. So stay tuned.
Here is where I’m going to be over the next few weeks, in the incredibly likely event that you start missing me desperately and you crave a few words of “Mia wisdom”:
PLEASE VISIT ME!!! (and maybe you can win some fun stuff!!)
Here are a few of the AMAZING PROMOS that my wonderful assistant Beckey White has created for the release of The Red Sheet.
I’m thrilled beyond belief!! There are many more promo pics to come, so keep an eye out for them on Facebook.
Leave me a response– I’d love to hear from you!!
Back to writing my guest post about miracles…
Posted on February 10, 2014
Posted on February 9, 2014
Cody Kennedy is an author I have come to admire over the past year for creating convincing YA characters who have great depth, as well as for devising I-can’t-put-down-the-book-although-it’s-2AM kinds of plots. I thoroughly enjoyed Omorphi and then Safe back in the fall of 2013, and since I was having trouble waiting for the release of Tharros, the sequel to Omorphi, I searched around a bit to find another work of Cody Kennedy. On Cody’s website: http://www.fairybycodykennedy.blogspot.com, I found a serial story, Fairy, and set about reading it in its entirety over the course of several days.Here is my 5 star review:
Fairy by Cody Kennedy should be a full-length novel.
Now that I said that, I feel better and I can offer my honest review.
I have never before read very much fantasy, as I feared I would not be able to relate to it. But because I enjoyed Omorphi and Safe by Cody Kennedy so much, I decided I would read his serial story, Fairy, from his website. Lucky for me, Cody had already written 20 chapters, so I wasn’t forced to wait for each of these segments to appear on his website. And I’m really glad that I got to read twenty chapters in only several sittings, as I was able to get a sense of Fairy as a more complete work.
Well, I was wrong to worry that I mightn’t be able to relate fully to the experiences of the characters in this fantasy story, because, thanks to the main character Merry’s authentic voice, I found myself able to know and care for him from the very first chapter. Merry is a character with whom I, and anybody who has experienced bullying at the hands of others, in particular in a school setting, can relate to. He is a young man who spends a lot of time feeling as if he is in some way less than others. His internal language was exactly as I would imagine a shy, insecure, and persecuted, but somehow still self-respecting, teenage boy’s voice should be. (I am at my happiest as a reader when I truly believe in the character; when I can picture him thinking and feeling and saying the words I see on the page.) And, yes, there was fantasy… and there was world-building, but nonetheless, I had no problem connecting with Merry.
Speaking of world-building, at different points in my reading, I often stopped to wonder just what the landscape looks like inside the author’s brain, because what he put down on paper was imaginative and colorful and sparkling and original. And in regard to his fae characters (I hope that is the right way to phrase it), each was rich and quirky and brilliant. I know them well, in particular Lady Sadb, and in her case, I know people like her and I will admit to not being their biggest fans. Maybe in future chapters she will redeem herself.
Quinn, the fairy prince, leaves nothing to be desired as a hero. And he is the kind of hero I like best, tortured in his own right, but fully selfless when it comes to the one he loves. I like it best when Quinn reminds Merry to stop being so hard on himself.
The greatest strength of Fairy, in terms of taking me to another place and holding me there, which is ultimately why I read, was Cody’s use of language. With the fairy language, which sounded to me Gaelic and old-fashioned, the writing was consistent and believable. I admired the intricacy and the flavor that never wavered. Writing in that kind of dialect must be very challenging.
Fairy is a wonderful YA serial story–filled with color and imagination and problems we all can relate to that make us pull for the good guys. There is more than a touch of sweet and poignant romance. The story is simple, in some ways, but quite complex in others. And so, on that note, I will not conclude by labeling the first twenty chapters of Fairy by Cody Kennedy as a fulfilling portion of a “YA novel”, but instead I will call it a heartwarming serial story (maybe someday a novel?) filled with the hope for better days, from which all readers, young and old, can benefit.
Posted on February 7, 2014