Seeing the Bright Side of Romance & Fantasy

Category: Miscellaneous

Random stuff that’s not related to anything.

A Little Wolf Music

Hey all! I’m running slow lately because of a lovely bout of pneumonia last month, but slowly getting back to work.

One of the best ways for me to keep focused on a project is a playlist I custom build for each new project, so I figured I’d share a few of them. If you’ve read The Wolves of Kismet and pay any attention to chapter titles, you probably already have a clue what would be on those playlists, but I threw in a few extra character-related songs on each, and some things that randomly struck my fancy. Also, there’s a little overlap because these guys are just that close.

How knitting came to Rowan Harbor

So a funny thing happened a few months ago. Those of you who know me personally have heard the story of how I came to writing m/m romance: someone mentioned their favorite book, The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune, and I asked them for more information. After listening to it, and then reading and listening to a few hundred other books in the genre, I was inspired to actually finish writing a book and publish my own work. It came full circle in November, when on the same podcast where I first heard The Lightning-Struck Heart mentioned, I heard my own pen name. (~32 minutes in)

Many thanks to Laura and Leslie for making my day!

Pre-order of Stag and the Ash is available now

This always feels like it happens sooner than I expect, but here it is. The pre-order of Stag and the Ash is up on Amazon.

Meanwhile, I’ve been planning Adder and Willow, the next installment in The Rowan Harbor Cycle, as well as a certain secret project that shall remain nameless until way closer to completion. (hint: there may be witches and a coffee shop involved.)

Hope everyone’s having a fabulous weekend!

All the ways to say said

Fun story with a twist ending.

I worked with kids in an ELL program. That’s ELL for English Language Learners, not ESL/English as a Second Language, because for many kids learning English in the American school system, English isn’t a second language, but a third or fourth.

With one student, we were working through a novel intended for teenagers about her age. (16-18) She went through the words she knew easily, and her vocabulary was pretty impressive; after a year of English, she knew words her US-born contemporaries would have scratched their heads at. She liked to read, and it helped build her vocabulary a lot.

Anyway, every other paragraph or so, she’d stop and ask me what a word meant. And after a while, it almost became a game. Because every single time in this novel, the word she was asking about was a clumsy replacement for “said.”

“Don’t do that,” she yelled.

“I’m not angry,” he hissed.

“You can’t make me,” she growled.

“I didn’t mean to,” he sobbed.

Okay. Sometimes I understand this necessity. It’s important that he’s sobbing, and we need to know that. But seriously, there’s a limit–and there are better ways to say these things.

If my student would have to stop five times on every page of your manuscript and ask what that word means? You need to rethink some of your word choices

So stop it, okay self? Now get back to writing.

For all the reviewers in the house…

After a conversation with a reviewer in the m/m community, I was taken by the need to write you reviewers, for lack of a better term, a love letter. I’ve met a handful of the reviewers in the m/m community, and every one that I’ve spoken to has been a lovely person. I feel lucky to be writing in a genre that has these people in it.

You guys don’t have to be here. It’s not your job. You don’t get paid to show up. Most of the time, you don’t even get thanked for your efforts. You sometimes get treated like dirt for expressing your opinions. On terrifying occasion, people get threatened, stalked, and attacked for being reviewers. With all that, the fact that you stick around and keep going? It amazes me.

I’m a writer. I could try to be something else, but I’ve done that, and it doesn’t work for me. So I have to be here. I come back every day not just because I love books, but because this is my bread and butter. If I do my job well, I get paid for it.

You? You’re just here because of the books. You could read and not review, but you choose to share instead. Sure, sometimes if you review long and well enough, you get free books to review. You didn’t get promised free books at the outset, though, and chances are they’re not the only reason you’re here.

And sure, there are some books that make you angry, or bored, or disgusted, and you give them bad reviews. But you’re not here for those. You’re not here because you want to insult bad books. You’re here because you want to find the good ones, and share them with other readers. And frankly, there’s something incredible about that. You’re here to find and share joy.

Sometimes your review will disagree with the overall opinion of the community, and that’s fine. Sometimes you’ll review and then realize that there were issues surrounding the book that you didn’t know about, and that’s fine too. Sometimes, you’ll give my favorite book (or even *gasp* my book!) a bad review, and that’s fine too.

The thing is, you’re here. You show up and tell us about the amazing books you’ve found, and everyone needs more amazing books in their life.

Thank you.


*I swear, this isn’t an attempt to get better reviews. As has been said over and over again, reviews of my books aren’t for me, they’re for potential readers. If, as a reviewer, you feel like my book deserves to be panned, pan away.

This Is Us

Since I’m on a roll with the whole linking other people’s clever posts instead of just coming up with my own content, I’m going to hit you guys with a double.

For those of you who’ve been in the m/m community more than a year, you’ve probably seen all of this. I’m not really interested in rehashing any drama, but a few important blog posts came out of it, and I think they should be re-read with a wider context in mind.

Dylan St. Jaymes: Intent =/= Impact


K.J. Charles: How To Like Bad Things

I may not read or enjoy some kinds of problematic content, but I’ll defend forever the right of people to read and write it. However, when that content’s existence hurts people, it’s indefensible. When it adds to an overall problem that’s causing strife and death in our world, it’s indefensible.

So basically, don’t kinkshame. Good people can read things you don’t like. And don’t support the normalization of hatred, because that’s not a kink, and it’s never acceptable.

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