Genre: Adult Writing Craft Nonfiction Year Release in English: 2016 Source: Kindle Copy
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I’ve been meaning to pick this craft book up for years now. When I got stuck on plotting the former middle of my latest project, I knew it was the perfect opportuntiy.
Hayes presents a very easy-to-understand framework for plotting romance novels. She keeps an eye on genre conventions and audience expectation while presenting the opportunities and variations in ways that aren’t prescriptive. The definitions of each plot beat stay within scope, and, for queer writers, the main couple is referenced as H1 and H2.
The big take away I got as someone who wanted to level up their character craft and not as someone wanting to necessarily write a genre romance is focusing on character wounds and addressing those both internally and externally. It made my plotting stronger, and still offers space for more character discovery. Highly recommended for people who might be great at worldbuilding and plot, but falter on character work.
Apologies for the delay in posting this recap. Life stuff came up and I needed to take care of my own, but it’s finally here. The biggest thing that happened in April is I debuted with my sapphic true crime fantasy noir novella, Ice Upon a Pier. The reception has been great so far, and I’m so excited that people have purchased, read, and enjoyed it. I did get some reading done, but absolutely not the level I’m used to. I’m really excited to continue down this path and there are announcements coming in June.
Here are the cool things that happens with Ice Upon a Pier:
Once again, I’m sorry that I had to take a break in February. March got me mostly back on track, aside from a mental health episode that’s stalled a whole bunch of things. But, in the best news, I’m done with my novella, Ice Upon a Pier, and it’s coming out with a paperback edition for those who don’t want to read it on a Kindle or in digital. All links have been updated in the press kit, including some indie bookstores for those who want to support those venues.
Genre: Dark Fantasy Why Choose Romance Year Release: 2023 Source: Amazon
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Content warnings: Parental abuse, dubious consent, on-page rape (Chapter 13), anxiety, dubious consent, classicism, blood, immolation, pregnancy, dead parent, mentions of infertility and miscarriage (full list here)
In another instance of a first foray into a subgenre, I picked up this dark fantasy Cinderella retelling because it’s the “why choose” genre – one where the main character, usually female, has multiple lovers over the course of the story.
In this retelling, Summer lives under the equally oppressive and neglectful thumb of her stepmother in a world where fae and magic are very real, where transgressions can cost people their names, and curses can spell economic disparity. Her only hope for societal freedom is marriage, but when she’s set up with Sandsell who seems more monster than man, she will do whatever it takes to find her own path. Between the pacing and the intrigue, I had a lot of fun with this entry point into a new-to-me genre, though I highly recommend checking the content/trigger warnings before diving in.
Freydís Moon returns to my blog today to chat about their latest release, Heart, Haunt, Havoc (HHH). Things go literally bump in the night when Colin Hart is hired by Bishop Martínez to quell the hauntings. This isn’t a simple exorcism, as it’s tied up with Bishop’s past griefs and path to his own healing. The layers in this book are heart-wrenching, with a hopeful ending, and I can’t wait for everyone to get to experience this tightly-paced mystery with genuine scares and a compelling romance.
Today, I’m celebrating Freydís by having them here to talk about drafting, their favorite scenes, and coming to the conclusion to self publish this gothic romance complete featuring two trans protagonist drawn together by more than mutual attraction.
I had the immense privilege of reading this book early. It’s about a haunted house, a broken relationship, mysticism, and genuine scares. It’s also incredibly hot, and the healing but horrifying journey these characters go through made my heart swoon.
I’m incredibly excited to be part of today’s cover drop. You are completely unprepared.
December is a strange month for me because of traveling to get home and other plans, and having to recon with my own success at completing my own goals (not going to touch on that whatsoever here). It was a month where I read a bunch of things in translation and a singular ARC which feels more in the direction of how I want to be reading into 2023.
Genre: Fantasy Shoujo Year Release in English: 2022 Source: Kinokuniya
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Content warnings: Blood, attempted murder
Stella is on her way to start a new job after a freak accident takes out her carriage driver, and she wakes up in a Gothic mansion that’s more a thorned cage than a residence occupied by four men who are definitely vampires. They eat crystals, have strange mannequins, and barely leave the building. There’s a sense of dread but the boys and the art are swoony.
This first volume is horny in ways that are very befitting of vampire lore. There’s a fixation on taste and devouring, with sensual wound care, and one of the vampires gets put in a muzzle during one of the chapters. As far as the boys go, the work leans into tropes and archetypes in ways that are swoony and delightful. I had fun during this first read, and I’m definitely looking forward to more.
November might have been the month that took me out. Though I did not do NaNoWriMo, I wrote a lot and, more importantly for a post coming later this week, I read a lot. So much. So many things. I also wound up watching a lot of Japanese horror films (classics like Ringu and Ju-On, so if you have recommendations, I’d love them).
Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance Year Release: 2022 Buy Link: NineStar Press
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Read a NetGalley eARC Content warnings: blood used in a ritual, necromancy, depiction of anxiety pertaining to pregnancy, conversation surrounding fertility
Ethan and Peter live a pretty idyllic life in the village of Casper as a lighthouse keeper and fishing captain, respectively. One day, a selkie gets tangled in Peter’s net and Ethan uses necromantic ritual to bring another person back to life. Full of healing, intimacy, and interpersonal devotion, this autumnal read is perfect for people looking for some magic and tenderness a la a Miyazaki film that also fucks.
I love the exploration of family here. Ethan and Peter are very devoted husbands at a kind of crossroads in their lives. The selkie does not help in the immediate situation, but opens up the opportunity for something else. There is a mishap with some marrow that leads to heat, but the relationships among the three develop long before ignition. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the husbands, but especially their interactions with others in town. It feels slice-of-life even though there’s definitely an inciting event, a middle, and an end.
The worldbuilding is also rad. The rules of the magic are fairly hand-wavey, but there’s a nice folkloric aspect to Ethan’s rituals that add a layer of dreaminess to the entire narrative. Overall, this quick read is atmospheric, magical, and romantic.