You’ve written a book. Congratulations! You’ve done an amazing thing. Pop some fizz, soak up the applause, and then turn your attention to the next conundrum. How do you launch it? Getting attention on the various bookseller platforms isn’t easy, but here are some things you can do… Continue reading » “Top Tips: How To Launch A Book”
“Write what you know.” It’s the first advice given to new writers, but it’s invariably bad advice if you take it literally. Write what you know doesn’t mean your story has to be a carbon copy of your life. Nobody wants to read that, trust me.
On the contrary, ‘write what you know’ means you have to examine what you know, and also what you can research or learn. Because once you research or learn something, then you know it. Write what you know means you can literally write about anything, so long as you prepare.
Write what you know it also about experience and emotion. So yes, write about your dad’s red Ford Cortina estate with the traffic-light air freshener. Write about the fear of walking into your first gay bar. Write about the gut-wrenching pain you felt when that first woman broke your heart. But also, write about women from 1958, as I am in my upcoming lesbian romance, Big London Dreams. I wasn’t alive then, but I know how it feels to kiss a woman for the first time. To dance with a woman. I can put a magnifying glass on those emotions to hold the reader in the story, then shade in the period details once I’ve researched them.
Don’t be scared to write eras you haven’t lived, jobs you’ve never done, a gender you’ve never lived. Do the research, put yourself in the character’s shoes and truly feel their life. Then you can write what you know, because you know.
My upcoming lesbian romance is very personal to me, even though I wasn’t born in the 1950s. It’s close to my heart because my parents met and dated in 1950s London, and my mum grew up on the White City estate in west London, where the book is partly set. My first historical romance charts the illicit affair between Joan Hart and Eunice Humphries. Like my mum, both work in a clothing factory as machinists. Everything else is conjured up from my imagination, but the fact there’s a sprinkling of my mum’s life in it made this book a real treat to write… Continue reading » “Big London Dreams: On Location”
Every writer wants to be different and rip up the rulebook. But if you write in genre fiction, the rules are there for a reason: because readers expect them and want them. If you fail to follow them, readers will shrug and say things like “it was a great story, but something wasn’t quite right”, and they won’t come back. The solution? Follow the rules, but put your own twist on them. Build obstacles/characters/side plots around them. You can still be special, but in a good way. If you’re writing lesbian romance, here are the top six scenes to put on the page… Continue reading » “Top Tips: Lesbian Romance Key Scenes”
You can do a whole lot in seven years. Eat 364 tins of baked beans. Have nine kids. Drink 2,555 pots of nuclear-strength coffee. Watch all of Grey’s Anatomy. Or, you could do what I did and write 18 novels.
I started out slow, with one novel, then another. In the first three years part-time, I eeked out five books. Then something clicked, and I’ve written three novels a year since 2017. It’s taken hard work, discipline and a whole lot of love to get here. Along the way, I’ve learned so much. But every day, I’m working for myself and doing my dream job. I can’t ask for more! What have I learned in the last 84 months? Read on to find out… Continue reading » “Seven Years As An Author: Ten Things I’ve Learned”
When you’re writing a sex scene, it’s important to focus on the emotion and not the body parts. It’s not a biology exam, and nobody is going to thank you for using the word vulva. Trust me.
Sex scenes in romance are like fight scenes or car chases in action-adventure books. They’re essential and highly anticipated. Your characters (and your reader) have to work to get there, and when they eventually reach their peak, it’s your job to ensure nobody is let down.
The key thing is to make your sex scene both sensual and alluring. Describe what’s happening, but do it from the perspective of the character and all that they bring to the scene. What are their hopes? What are can they see, touch, taste, hear? What’s it reminding them of? What are they feeling in their heart now it’s finally happening?
Fingers can slide and caress. Tongues can tantalise and tease. Lube can be popped and pressed. Everything the character thought they once knew can be rewritten. Sex scenes should move the story forward. They should reflect what has gone before and what’s possible from here on in. Your characters have just taken things to the next level. Show it all.
Remember, you’re not playing a game of Sex Twister: no crazy moves required. Don’t use coarse or flowery language as that will throw your reader out of the story. Keep it real, but elevate it to a almost-perfect reality. Make sure senses tingle and stars collide. It’s all in the build-up, all in the emotion. The first kiss, the first touch, the loaded look that tips your character over the edge. Romance and sex go hand in hand, so don’t be scared of writing a sex scene. Instead, put yourself in your character’s shoes and write from the heart. Embrace it. Have fun with it.
And don’t for one second think about the fact your parents might read it.
Welcome to episode 68 of the Lesbian Book Club where I interview UK author Kirsty Eyre. Her first novel, Cow Girl, won the inaugural Comedy Women in Print Award and a publishing contract with Harper Collins. Kirsty talks about how she stumbled into writing late, but is now fully embracing the world of novel-writing. Throughout lockdown she’s been juggling home schooling, a new puppy, a day job and trying to write her next three books. No pressure!
As usual, I also do a run-down of the Amazon Lesbian Fiction charts in the US & UK, as well as updating you on the latest news of lesbian fiction conferences & awards season. I’m currently deep in draft two of my next book, Big London Dreams, which is available for pre-order now.
One of my guilty pleasures is looking at property websites and watching property shows. In another life, I’d have been great at selling homes! When I decided to make Gina Gupta an upmarket estate agent (running Hot London Properties) in my new book, Hot London Nights, I knew the other lead, India Contelli, should be looking for a flat and that’s how they’d meet. I also knew I’d get to check out fabulous London pads in the name of research. Want to have a look at the property I based India’s flat on? Step this way…
Continue reading » “Hot London Nights: Check Out India’s Flat!”
Are you doing Jae’s Sapphic Reading Challenge 2021? If not, maybe you should consider it! There are prizes on offer, as well as the chance to read more widely and be introduced to a ton of new books and authors. Plus, if you join her Facebook group, you could even chat about the books you’ve read with other like-minded readers, too. It’s a triple win!
How does it work? In Jae’s own words: “The goal is to read sapphic books that fit as many of the 50 categories listed as possible. You can read ebooks, paperbacks, or audiobooks; and they can be new-to-you books or re-reads. I’ll post book recommendations for a new category once a week. Of course, you could also just read whatever books you want and then, afterwards, see what categories they fit into. Depending on how many sapphic books you manage to read in 2021, you can earn different badges and book prizes.”
Basically, read books that fit certain tropes, and there are prizes to be had! Plus, you get to call yourself a Book Penguin, a Book Dragon or even a Book Unicorn.
Jae has 50 categories to tick off in her challenge, so I thought I’d list my books and what category they fit in. I’ve got 18 novels, and there are 50 categories. I might miss some matches, but I’m going to do the absolute best I can, and hopefully it might help you to fill your challenge card and puff your reading muscles. Ready? Here goes…
Continue reading » “Jae’s Sapphic Reading Challenge: Start Here!”
Welcome to episode 67 of the Lesbian Book Club! This month the focus is on me as I round up my goals for 2021, including publishing three books and four audiobooks, as well as getting more stretchy in body and flexible in life! I also shine a light on my new release Hot London Nights, and give you a listen of the first chapter of my Made In London audiobook – all of which should get you bang into the London Romance mood.
As usual, I also do a run-down of the Amazon Lesbian Fiction charts in the US & UK. Plus, if you want to come along to my Zoom event in association with Stockport Library on February 25th – A Conversation With Clare Lydon – you can register for free tickets by clicking here.