Totally ecstatic that The River Leith took got a few nominations in the M/M Romance Awards for 2014 on the Goodreads site! Absolutely honored that readers enjoyed the book enough to nominate it for Best Contemporary and Best Story That Should Have Sequel.
I’m not sure about a sequel, but Zach’s been gunning for a prequel, so we’ll see about that! I have no idea how to vote for The River Leith or any other book, but feel free to go to Goodreads HERE and figure out how to vote for you favorites! LOL! 😀
Training Season is bringing home so many nominations! I am just overwhelmed and shocked by the number of categories this book has been nominated for! Thank you so much to every reader out there! Y’all are the absolute best! No matter the outcome, I know how unbelievably lucky I am just to have readers who love the book enough to nominate it! Sending out my love to all of you!
I have no idea how to vote for Training Season or any other book, but feel free to go to Goodreads HERE and figure out how to vote for you favorites! LOL! 😀
“Bottom line? I loved this story. I related to both MCs so much. I understood both of their POVs and thought their feelings were valid and very honest. Wonderful love story about overcoming loss and rebuilding a relationship.”
Head on over to The Romance Reviews and participate in the contest for five free copies of The River Leith!
A sample of what some readers are saying about The River Leith:
“The River Leith is a delight: devastating, hopeful, sexy, romantic, and true.” — I’m With Geek Reviews
“I love Leta Blake’s writing. It’s so smooth and flowing. The River Leith is a very real book. Don’t expect any magical solutions or convenient plot turns. This is the story of two people who manage to find their way back to each other despite all odds being stacked against them. I highly recommend this book! ” – Rainbow Gold Reviews
“Elegant story-telling. I couldn’t put this one down. As would be expected with a story about a man with amnesia, there’s a lot of introspection and revisits to the past, yet it never once felt like the story had stagnated. In fact, the pace was so right, measured. Loved every word.” — Lane Swift, Goodreads
You know what’s really dang hard? Writing a book. You know what’s a hell of a lot harder than that? Writing a friggin’ blurb! I’d like to thank Jed, Keira, and Amelia for their wonderful help on crafting the Training Season blurb. Y’all are the best, and I think you should craft all my blurbs from now on. Especially Jed who did the heavy lifting.
And now for the blurb reveal!
Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.
When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.
But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?
First off, wow! I’m so happy with the response to Stalking Dreams! I am thrilled that so many people read the story and enjoyed the offering. I’m happy, especially, with the generosity of readers and the enthusiasm with which they greeted the story. I’m even happier that so many folks are looking forward to the novel set in the same universe and I absolutely can’t wait to get in the trenches to finish it. So, thank you, readers! You made this girl happy!
Now, regarding the novels that will be set in this universe. I wanted to take this opportunity set clear expectations because, as was evident with Stalking Dreams, when readers are expecting one thing and are delivered something else, there is an element of possible dissatisfaction. (Side note: I definitely learned a lot about readers’ expectations for this event, which will be good should I choose to participate next year.)
In the comments for Stalking Dreams, some people mentioned that they believed it to be the first few chapters of the novel that I couldn’t finish in time to submit to the event. In actuality, the first novel is set before Stalking Dreams and will cover the beginning of River & Shane’s relationship, the trauma of being stalked, and learning to trust someone again. It will also explore the mystery of River’s stalker’s identity and there will be an in-novel resolution to many of the initial problems.
The second book in this universe will, indeed, as speculated, cover the events of Reed’s wedding and will resolve the issue of River’s stalker’s identity once and for all. Stalking Dreams fits smack in the middle of these two novels and was intended to stand alone there. There’s no doubt that the presentation of these stories, in terms of order, is problematic, but, as I mentioned elsewhere, given my responsibilities (full-time day job, motherhood, wifeliness, friendships) in addition to my writing, there was simply no way to have the first novel completed by the LHNB deadline.
In addition, several people mentioned wanting to see Kelly Maybedog’s (yay, Kelly! so grateful for you, lady!) written prompt play out exactly as it was written. I cannot promise this. I do intend to employ the prompt to the best of my ability, but hopefully readers will be generous (as they were with Stalking Dreams) and give the muse a little leeway in terms of how the actual beginning of River & Shane’s relationship takes place.
All in all, I’m incredibly in love with this universe, and I’m hopeful that when the time comes, some of you readers will fall in love with it, too. Thank you again for your generosity, your time, and your confidence in me. May this year bring me much writing time. May I write like the wind. May the books pour forth without too much wrangling. And may the force be with me.
So, here’s the thing. I’m not a monogamous writer. I’ve always got between eight and twelve works going at any particular time. Eventually, a time comes when I choose one to focus on and make it happen for real, for better or worse. The others drift along during that time, and I come back to them when I get the current favorite in the can. Sometimes that focus shifts back and forth for awhile, but eventually I do focus on one book until it is finished.
One book has been the book of my heart but also the book “least-likely-to” for quite a long time. Almost ten years in fact. At first, it was because there was simply no place to even begin to imagine submitting it to for publication. It’s a m/m coming of age novel featuring a lot of graphic sex. When I first started writing it, I was told time and again, “This would be a great Young Adult book if you took out most of the sex.” I was told, “This isn’t really publishable because it’s not a typical romance formula and people don’t want that.” I was told, “This is too long, no one wants to read a book this long.” I’ve been told many things over the years about this book by many, many, many people. Some of those people had incredibly helpful comments and the book is so much better for their input. Some other people’s comments mainly just stymied the book’s development because they led me to believe the book would never have a place in the world.
I still sometimes think this book won’t ever have a place in the world.
This brings us to my situation currently. Every year for the last three years I’ve gone to NYC to sit on my friend’s sofa in Brooklyn to work on 90s Coming of Age Novel for a week. Every year for the last three years, I’ve thought, “This is it! The final push! I can do this thing!” And every year the edits needed on the first half of the first draft have been extensive enough to preclude me ever getting to the second half of the first draft. (Yes, I have a completed first draft, but it needs work.) I’m finally incredibly and immensely satisified with the the first half of the book and am ready to focus on the second half.
Cue the Goodreads Love Has No Boundaries Event. I chose a prompt about a young man who has a history of being stalked by a stranger. I’d intended to write a short story for the event, but, holy smokes, it took off like wildfire and before I knew it, I had half a novel written. A novel I knew I’d have no way of finishing before the event deadline. So, I went back and wrote a short story set in the universe of the novel. It doesn’t fit the prompt exactly and that disappointed some people, but I knew I couldn’t get the book done in time. I didn’t want to return the prompt unfulfilled just because I knew there was no way I could get the novel done, so I compromised the best that I could. I’m happy to say that the prompter was satisfied, I believe.
All in all, I was very happy with how that story was received and people expressed a great deal of interest in the novel based on the prompt. That thrills me! The idea that there are a few people out there who are eagerly awaiting River’s full story really gets my heart going and makes me feel a bit verklempt! In the wake of this, I looked at 90s Coming of Age Novel and I said to it, “Baby, maybe you’ve got to wait a little longer. I think I need to write this book instead. It’s got an audience, you see, and we all know that the biggest problem with you is that…you don’t.”
So, I resigned myself to the fact that it still wasn’t 90s Coming of Age Novel’s time. It was apparently Stalker Universe’s time, and I told myself that I was okay with that. It was the smart move. It was the wise choice. It made the most sense. Why keep readers waiting? This was obviously the right decision to make. It still seems like the right decision to make.
But here’s the thing.
I can’t do it. I was driving back to the office after my lunch break and I felt like my heart was going to break. 90s Coming of Age Novel, Peter, Adam, Leslie, Daniel, Minty, Renee, and Barry were all just there looking at me with this betrayal on their face. They’ve been so patient, you see. They’ve let me take a really long time with them. They’ve waited while I had a baby and wrote nothing for three years. They’ve waited while I wrote fanfiction and they’ve waited while I wrote fairy tales and they’ve waited while I wrote half a post-apocalyptic novel, and while I wrote half of six other books, and four short stories, and, damn it, now I wanted them to wait again.
BUT YOU PROMISED!
They sat there in my head staring at me, but you promised, and yeah. I can’t do it to them. I can’t go to NYC and work on Stalking Universe when I’ve asked them to wait so many years. I promised them at the beginning of the year that this was their year. I promised them that 2013 was it and they wouldn’t have to wait anymore. No more being patient. No more waiting for just one more thing to come before them.
So, okay, 90s Coming of Age Novel. Okay, baby, this is it. Next week, it’s me, you, and NYC again. Don’t fail me. I’m counting on you to come through for me. If I’m making this choice, you’ve got to play your part, too.
I was so inspired by the prompt at Goodreads for a story about a young man who had dealt with being stalked by a stranger and the resultant issues that might bring up for him that I’ve already written 45k words of a corresponding full length novel and have a plan for a full length sequel, too. I hope to have the first novel done and out by the end of the year, if luck is on my side. And the plan is to have the sequel available in 2014.
I’m very happy with this short story. I feel like it accomplishes a lot and leaves the reader wanting to know more about the situation and these characters. At least, I hope that’s true because see above about the upcoming novels based in this universe!
Thank you to everyone who reads it. I hope you enjoy it! Feel free to spread the word! It will also be available for free download to ereaders very soon and I will post about that when it happens. In the meantime….
So, I made a post last week about some things I don’t get, some more controversial than others. Today I’m going to post about something I think every author and reader can agree on “not getting”. The Goodreads rating system.
For example, in what world does two stars equal “it was okay”? Do you look at a two star rating on a book and think the person liked the book? Heck no. You think, “Wow, they didn’t like this book, but it wasn’t the worst thing they’ve ever read in their life either.” But apparently in Goodreads world, two stars means “it was okay”. I don’t understand.
In my mental star system (where Jean-Luc Picard reigns in naked glory like the time when the Borg kidnapped him), it works more like this:
One star = Loathed this book and think it sucks like a massive black star of suck.
Two stars = This book was pretty bad, but I’ve read worse.
Three stars = The book was incredibly mediocre but the author could spell and use commas, even though it was dull and I almost didn’t finish it.
Four stars = Yay, I liked it!
Five stars = Yay, I liked it a hell of a lot!
So, here’s my question–when you rate at Goodreads do you use their star system or your own mental star system? And does your star system more closely resemble mine or Goodreads’?
Also, what about rounding up? If you feel like the book was really 1.5 stars, do you give it the benefit of the doubt and round it up? Or do you stick it with the lower number because you’d hate to mislead people?
Another thing I’ve noticed about Goodreads–some people give stars based only only literary merit and not how much they enjoyed the book. I got a few emails from a friend proclaiming that she was crazy about a book featuring gay football players in love, couldn’t stop thinking about it, spent the whole day at work wishing she was home and could read the book. When it was over I got a text reporting that she was sad the book was done and the ending had been just what she wanted. Yet, on Goodreads, she gave the book only three stars. When I asked her why, she said, that it was a great read and she’d loved it a lot, but it was no Deathless or Fortress of Solitude.
This was fascinating to me because I always like to give stars based on the books effectiveness in its genre. If it’s erotica, did it engage me and get me titillated? If it’s romance, did I fall in love too? If it’s literature, was I impressed by the words and the craftsmanship? If it’s fantasy, how was the world building? If it’s self-help, was it actually, you know, helpful? If it’s a children’s book, will actual small children enjoy it? If it’s a spy novel, was it exciting and did I guess the end before it was over? If it was historical fiction, was it well researched?
It had seemed to me, from the outside in, that the gay football players in love novel had been a total five stars for her in terms of it being a book that did what it was written to do. But she rated on how it worked as literature, not how she reacted to the book in the context of what it was designed for. And that’s her prerogative and one of the things that makes Goodreads a confusing mire when it comes to interpreting the ratings given to a book.
What are your thoughts on the Goodreads rating system? How do you use it?
ETA: I wrote this post a month ago or more, and I honestly have no idea what Jean Luc Picard has to do with any of it. Just…you know…go with it.