I’m taking a break from the Sex Scene Championship for my latest writing updates:
Moro’s Shield: M/M/F space opera romance. 50K written of 70K needed, now that I’m back on track from a two-year legal delay that had *nothing* to do with my own writing.
Singer in Rhunshan: M/M/F non-explicit fantasy romance-quest set in the Lonhra Sequence universe. 39K written and polished, out of projected 45K final length. Not bad for something that was originally a 6.6K short story.
Red Amber: M/M erotic romance in fantasy paleolithic setting. 15K written out of projected 40K final (last 7.5K already written as short story, just needs to be incorporated.)
Leopard’s Leap: M/M erotic romance set in the Moroverse. 26K out of projected 48K final length.
Mask of Falling Stars: M/M erotic romance standalone in science fantasy setting. Halfway through outlining, no projected length yet.
Damn, that’s a lot of words to catch up.
1. My excerpt didn’t win in the Sex Scene Championship. Shockingly, I’m okay with that. I wasn’t planning on getting past this stage for my first-ever try at this contest, and I’m having a lot of fun reading everyone else’s steamy scenes. It’s like a free online workshop presented by some of the best writers in erotic romance.
2. Again, for the umpteenth time that I’ve written about this, I am not just a M/M writer. I write and read all kinds of romantic and sexual interactions. I want to read hot scenes, but more importantly, I want them to be true to the characters. Being a cynical romantic, I treasure all aspects of romance, in real life and in fiction.
So, when I bluntly say that my main male characters in Moro’s Price and Moro’s Shield are bisexual, I mean it. Moro and Val are as attracted to women as they are to men. I thought I made that plain from context (Moro had a girlfriend as well as a boyfriend, back on Ventana; Val has always known that he has several potential female mates, though he’s never been allowed to meet them) in the first book, but I guess some readers didn’t get that. I’m sorry. Not sorry. There is just the teensiest possibility that there will be a female love interest later. It will not be instalove first based on selfishness and expediency, like Moro and Val’s meeting. It’s going to be hard and emotionally trying and the results may surprise some readers. Because I really don’t like the long-standing trope in much M/M fiction, of making the female characters into total bitches. They are people, too. Or the one about ignoring or downplaying bisexual characters. Nope, sorry. Bisexuality actually exists, so why not have it in fiction, too?
3. Several different conversations this week have drawn my attention toward reviews and new writers. This is one of the hardest things to learn, as a newly-published/exposed author: how to deal with negative reviews.
The best and most-often-given advice is to ignore them individually. They are meant for readers, not writers. If a number of readers pick up on the same flaw and talk about it, it may be worth the author’s time to address it in future writing. That’s why this blog has a rudimentary Moroverse glossary buried over on the left side.
But vicious, individual reviews? Don’t answer them, try not to dwell on them. Everyone has their trigger points that make them lash out, often not even at the thing bothering them most. Laugh about the reviews from obviously clueless people, but try to recall that every reader comes to the book with different reading skills and expectations. No book can satisfy every reader.
As for trolls, those reviewers spouting vitriol solely to get a rise out of the author? Ignore them, do not reply, do not feed the troll. They don’t care about your book; chances are, they’ve never even read it.
But what to do when another writer takes it upon themselves to start a feud in social media or review forums? I understand we writers are in general competition with each other, but this isn’t a zero-sum game. Readers are voracious, and are always looking for more of their personal fixes. Otherwise Amazon’s ‘Also Bought’ service would be useless. Writers ganging up on other writers just makes the aggressors look stupid, and wastes everyone’s time.
Sure, there are writers whose work I don’t like. A much smaller subset of writers whom I’ve actually met, and didn’t like in person. Other than rolling my eyes and writing some general blog posts, I’m not going out of my way to spread one-star trashy reviews about them. I’ve adopted the policy of disinterest: if I’m not in love, love, love with someone’s story, I won’t review it. I may give a three star review on something I like, but I’ll make sure it’s a reasoned review hitting the good points, too.
Most of us are not in junior high or high school anymore. We certainly don’t have to act like it.