Thanks, Delilah, for hosting me today.
Although I have my 9th title coming out with Dreamspinner Press next month, it still blows me away that I’m a published author. Each new book is just as exciting as the first one.
One of the first things that struck me was the sense of community. It hasn’t been just Dreamspinner who have welcomed me into their family, but I’ve also had a lot of support and friendship extended by other authors, and by readers. Last year I made a New Years’ Resolution to make more of an effort to post on Facebook, and build more connections. I’d done a bit of it in the past, but updating my computer, and having Facebook now load properly has really helped with my resolution. I try to make my posts a mix of writing stuff, plus other things I’m interesting in. My other job is in a library and I’m a bit of an SF/fantasy/comics geek so it’s easy to find fun things to share. My two cats enjoy the limelight as well, especially with stories about their exploits—I have one who brings me home bones she’s stolen from neighbourhood dogs, and another who likes to steal muffins.
The other thing I’ve done is to open my blog for other authors, and become a blog tour host. I enjoy doing it, I figure it helps out other authors with promo, and it’s a way to give back to the writing community. I’ve also made some new friends along the way. This year I’ve begun doing a bit of reviewing—I love to read, and always review what I read on Goodreads, although I’ve a bit of catching up to do. I’m taking the reviewing a bit slower than the blog hosting, as I don’t want to lose writing time. I also have a few books to get through that aren’t M/M, as I like to keep my finger on the pulse for readers’ advisory for the other job.
It’s taken me a while to find a balance between being out there, making connections, family life, and writing my own books, but I feel it’s finally all coming together.
I’d love to hear about some of your experiences of community with other readers and/or writers. To celebrate my new upcoming release with Dreamspinner Press—Family and Reflection—I’m sharing an excerpt from my first release Cat’s Quill and offering an ebook from my backlist to someone who comments on this post.
Hidden Places: Book 1
Tomas Kemp has two successful novels to his name and the true belief that a successful sequel is only a matter of a little inspiration. When Tomas meets a mysterious stranger under the branches of an old oak tree, he feels compelled to tell him about a book he holds dear and the sequel he wants to read. But Cathal doesn’t share that deep belief that the sequel Tomas seeks ends happily. Cathal has seen enough of a world where stories are real to know that happy ever after is sometimes the dream that won’t come true.
But stories have never let Tomas down, and as he follows Cathal across the reality shift between their worlds, he learns that Cathal is right: Happy ever after is never just given—but sometimes, it can be fought for and won.
Cathal wiped his palms on his trousers and then turned the page of the journal back and forth, his eyes scanning the words again. “Maybe I could help?” he suggested. “Can you tell me what the story is about so I can get more of an idea of what this kiss should, er… involve?”
“Involve?” Tomas’s voice sounded strained to his own ears. He coughed, clearing his throat before speaking again. “Umm, it’s about a writer who meets someone he thinks might be a muse.”
“I see.” Cathal nodded slowly. “Why does he think that?” He edged closer to Tomas, the book still balanced carefully on his lap.
“He’s drawn to this person he’s not long met.” The explanation sounded somewhat weak now that Tomas had to actually explain it to someone else. “It’s like they have a connection….”
“Like Alan and Roger in your other book?” Cathal frowned. “That doesn’t explain why—” He checked the name. “—Deimos might be a muse though, but then I haven’t read enough.”
Tomas opened his mouth to explain more, how Deimos seemed to appear and disappear out of thin air, how he seemed otherworldly, how Mark kept thinking about him all the time. Cathal placed one hand on Tomas’s knee, his breath warm against Tomas’s face. “Cat? What are you doing?”
“I’m getting into character.” Cathal reached over and brushed Tomas’s hair from his face. “You’re a writer, so you need to be Mark. That leaves me the role of the muse.” His voice was barely a whisper. “This scene is too good for it to be abandoned like the other one.” His eyes dropped to the page and back again. He licked his lips, his fingers tightening on Tomas’s knee. Tomas’s breath hitched.
“Yes, it is.” He swallowed again, reaching out his own hand to caress Cathal’s cheek, echoing Mark’s actions in his book. “I don’t want you to leave,” he whispered, his words following the script, his heart speeding up.
Cathal closed his eyes as he followed Tomas’s cue, slipping into a role that could have been written for him. “I think I’m in love with you,” he murmured.
Their lips brushed together, tentatively, awkwardly. Tomas pulled away, unsure, his breathing growing ragged, Cathal’s skin warm under his fingers, soft but for the slight stubble across his lower cheek, blond facial hair almost invisible. Tomas leaned in again, his lips parting this time in invitation as he pressed their mouths together. Cathal moaned softly, opening his own lips, leaning into it, his fingers threading through Tomas’s hair.
Wet skin, soft and inviting, tasting of coffee and something else Tomas could only describe as uniquely Cathal. It felt right, better than anything Tomas could have imagined. He whimpered, pulling Cathal to him, convincing himself for that moment they weren’t play acting, that this was real, that the man in his arms was someone who loved him.
The need to breathe drove them apart. Cathal’s eyes opened with a start, searching Tomas’s. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.
“Don’t be.” Tomas traced Cathal’s lips with his fingers, committing the scene to memory, allowing himself a photograph he realized he wanted frozen in his mind forever. “I’m not.”
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.
Anne’s books have twice received honorable mentions and twice reached the finals in the Rainbow Awards.
Coffee Unicorns: http://coffeeunicorns.wordpress.com/
Dreamspinner Press Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/anne-barwell