Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone 1) COVER REVEAL #amreading #lesfic

Today, I’m officially revealing the cover for Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1). This book. This book, you guys. I can’t even. I love it.

It’s a fuller expansion from a short story I wrote in 2015 called “A Blizzard’s Blow” in an anthology titled Young Love, Old Hearts. I have wanted to expand this story for YEARS, and I finally decided to do it.

Serial killer investigations need a woman’s touch, luckily Agent Morgan Stone is the best profiler the FBI has.

A twenty-year veteran of the FBI, Morgan has worked her fair share of cases. When Chicago Homicide Detective Fiona Wexford calls for a second opinion, Morgan jumps at the opportunity to help.

With a growing crush on Fiona, Morgan fails to weave the personal and professional when it becomes clear Fiona’s suspect is a serial killer. Taking over the investigation, Morgan rushes to solve the mystery and makes an egregious error in the process.

Will Morgan reclaim her case and catch her suspect before one more person has to die?

If you have read any of my Grace novels, you will recognize the main character’s last name. Morgan Stone is the oldest of the Stone children, Amya (Grace’s long-time girlfriend) being the youngest. And it may explain a lot as to why Amya puts up with so much from Grace or why she understands Grace’s quirks a whole lot.

Morgan is a 20 year veteran of the FBI. It’s been her life, and she loves it. She’s not someone who ever wants to be in a long term relationships (she was married once, it didn’t last long, and she thinks it was a HUGE mistake).

Morgan, also being the oldest child, gets the bulk of the family drama from most of her siblings and definitely from her mother. Who we will meet in person in Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2) — a Detective Grace Novel which releases in December of this year!

I have twelve books briefly outlined for this series, not including three crossover books with Grace and Amya. Those are going to be a blast. The design of this series is that every three books should go together in a sort of trilogy. You don’t have to read all of them at all, but there are hints of information in the first two books that lead a big case in the third.

So…we have…

Stone’s Mistake — Book 1
Race War — Book 2
Mr. Jimmy — Book 3

but alas, I’ve talked too much I think and should give you a bit of an excerpt. ALSO!!!! If you want an ARC (they’ll be going out in the next 1-2 months), send me an email (adrianjsmithbooks@gmail.com) and I’ll put you on the list for when they’re ready.

Morgan had arrived early that morning, but she had to wait for the local PD to let her in before she could go to the crime scene. She’d walked the apartment complex twice before the detective arrived well past nine in the morning. The murder had been discovered the night before, the car Morgan had been searching for parked by the apartment had only pissed her off even more.

When it had been run, an alert had popped up on her end, and she had immediately called Taylor and told him she was leaving in the morning. He readily agreed. She clenched her jaw and glared at the detective in charge. If St. Louis Police Department had only taken her inquiries seriously then perhaps they would have one less dead body on their hands.

Morgan stomped straight toward the detective’s vehicle. Pax’s rental SUV stopped her short, and the window rolled down. Pax gave her a grin, and Morgan sneered at him. “You better brighten up, buttercup, if you want any information from them. Going in there like that will get you nowhere.”

“Shove it. You got the good stuff.”

“Always, love.” Pax handed her the cup of coffee out the window, and she breathed in the aroma before taking a sip and hissing. “It’s hot.”

“No shit,” she muttered but took another sip anyway.

Pax drove ahead and parked next to the detectives vehicle. There were still uniformed officers on the property. Morgan walked to meet up with Pax, but he was already talking to the detective in charge. She raised her eyebrow at him and waited for introductions to be made.

He nodded at her. “This is my partner, Special Agent Stone. This is Detective Hadley.”

“Pleasure to meet you.” Morgan put her hand out for him to shake, but he stared at her and turned back to Pax. Inwardly groaning, Morgan listened and drank her coffee, absorbing anything he said. She worked it into her already built profile.

When Hadley offered to let them in the apartment, he turned to her with a hand on his hip and a smirk on his lips. “It’s a bloody mess in there, forewarning you.”

“Why? Because you think that I’m a lowly, petty woman who is going to faint at the sight of blood or because you just think I might be interested in the fact that this murder is a lot more violent than the others?”

Hadley’s lips thinned.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Morgan pushed her way around him and walked up the awkward cement steps to the building. She made it to the top floor before Pax and Hadley were even at the second floor. She was pissed, and the anger running through her veins was not going to do her well. She flashed her badge at the uniform at the door and went inside after putting on her booties to cover her shoes, not wanting to wait one more minute for the asshole behind her.

No one was in the apartment but her. Taking in a deep breath, she caught the scent of flowers and bacon. Someone had cooked recently. Walking into the kitchen, Morgan found the dishes done and no sign that anyone had eaten there recently, much like the other crime scenes. Whoever was committing these murders was meticulous before they left about making sure the house or apartment was in complete order.

Morgan moved to the dining room. Nothing looked amiss there either. The chairs were tucked under the table, pushed in and out of the way. The living room had the throw blanket folded and tossed over the arm of the couch. Pax walked in, his breath slightly heavy from the climb up the stairs. She’d tease him about it later but really didn’t want to open any opportunity for the asshat to talk more than necessary. “Body found in the bed?”

“Yeah, this way.” Detective Hadley grunted and then led the way into the back bedroom, passed the bathroom. It was a small apartment. No more than five hundred square feet. It wasn’t spotlessly clean, but it was tidy. Everything was in place, just as she had requested it, except for the body. They had already taken that to the morgue, she knew. She and Pax would make that stop next, but first she’d wanted to get into the mind of her murderer.

The bedroom was a completely different story. The bed sheets were bloody, but the vague outline of where the body had been was imprinted into the pattern of blood. Splatters of red littered the ceiling, the headboard, and two walls, like the killer had shifted position in the middle of stabbing the victim. Unlike Andrea’s murder, this one was violent. If Morgan didn’t know better, she’d say her killer was angry.

“She’s getting more violent,” Morgan commented to Pax, bypassing Hadley.

“She?” Hadley asked.

Morgan refused to answer and let Pax do the talking for her. If she didn’t have a direct question to ask Hadley, she wasn’t about to talk to him, and she might even be of mind to complain to his supervisor if she could find the energy and the time.

“Theory is our killer is a woman.”

“Not theory. She is a woman. Your tests will come back, undoubtedly, that the victim had sex before she was killed with a woman. There has never been a sign of a male in the homes of our victims.”

“Jesus,” Hadley muttered.

Morgan spun on him with a grin on her face. “Want to make another snarky comment about women now or afraid one of us might kill you?”

Hadley blanched but wisely kept his trap shut. Morgan took her own photos on her phone, knowing she’d get copies of everything anyway but wanting access to it sooner rather than later.

De-Termination (Quarter Life 2) #amwriting #backlist #newrelease #comingsoon

SO! I realized this morning that I had announced over on my Facebook but I forgot to announce here. Ooops!

De-Termination (Quarter life 2) will release on December 1st!

This is huge, you guys. Seriously. This book was originally supposed to release in 2016, but life got in my way, and instead of writing it, I didn’t. I finally wrote it this summer, and since a lot of the back work was already done (cover, blurb, etc) because it’s been planned for 4 years, my publisher and I agreed to release it December 1st rather than wait until 2021.

What this means for everyone else.

Unbound (Quarter Life 1) is currently on sale (ebook only) for $2.99. If you get it and read it, please leave a review! They are so helpful in many ways, AND it lets me know what you think. I don’t even care if you hated it, leave me a review. =P

De-Termination releases December 1st, so ARC copies will be going around shortly and a blog tour set up, and a release event. If you are an author or blogger and interested in any of those, let me know.

NOW for the fun part!

I have decided every Tuesday from here on out, I will be doing a live reading from Unbound every week until De-Termination releases. I’ll be reading one chapter a week over on my Facebook page. It’ll net us 7-8 chapters I believe. Chapter 1 is already up.

This is a huge celebration for me. I’ve been out of the writing game for 4-5 years, and it feels so good to be back in it! Let’s celebrate in a huge way!

Faye’s been Molly’s lover and agent for her creature-hunting friends for a year, but she’s still unsettled and unwilling to fully-explore her Tainted Side. She is sent on a mission and disappears in South America.

Molly, a powerful witch, searches for Faye ruthlessly, leading to conflict with her team. Meanwhile, she’s brought Amelia in to help, and Amelia has her sights on seducing Molly as things fall apart.

There may no longer be such a thing as home sweet home.

Trigger warning: Rape, torture

Broken Taboos: being bisexual and writing lesbian fiction

I wrote this post on my Facebook wall a while ago and realized quickly it was 1. too long for a post on Facebook and 2. really needed to be expanded on. So here you are…my rant on why I write broken taboos and then a calmer discussion toward the bottom.


 

 

What? I write things that are taboo? Things people don’t talk about? What? No…. =P

Lesbians!
Religion and lesbians?
Tentacles and sex?
Twincest?
Again! Religion and lesbians? Because we all know you can’t be a Christian and a lesbian…ummm…what?

Sex used to be a taboo subject too. Erotica, things with eroticism. Now it’s just another book. It’s hard to find books without sex in them.

So YES!

There are religious elements in every book in the James Matthews series. There’s also no sex. There’s also other taboo subjects. Mental illness. Foster care.

There are definitely overpowering religious elements in every book in the Spirit of Grace series. I mean, come one, one is a Chaplain and then you have Peter. OMG I love Peter.

Yes there is tentacles and erotica in Loneliness Ebbs Deep. It was a fun exploration of how to write hentai in a consensual and sensual way. Not to mention an exploration of how masturbation is a GOOD thing.

Yes in Quarter Life: Energy Feed there is twincest. It just kinda happened and it worked. They’re not human, so who knows what rules or social parameters they have. Also they don’t actually touch each other. There are rules, and they follow those rules.

Yes in Quarter Life the rest of the series there are witches, vampires, bigfoot, and a whole slew of other creatures that used to be taboo. There’s bisexualism in a realistic manner that isn’t all about let’s have sex with whoever because we’re bisexual and can use it as an excuse.

In Memoir in the Making there is the taboo of an age difference, quite a big one, there is the taboo of student/teacher relations NOT just being about sex but actually being about love.

So…I guess what this rant is for, which I’ve been shunting down for awhile, is to say to you…if you don’t like reading taboo things and exploring them further, then I am not the author for you. If you do like exploring taboos in the safe environment of reading a book, then HELLOOOoooo! Welcome to my world!

***

There is a reason why I write taboos, things that are NOT talked about. It’s nothing I can particularly say I went in expecting to write when I started the whole publishing thing, but I do have to say I love it. It’s a challenge to me. Not only does it make me think of how can I pull something like this off without being disrespectful, with making it more acceptable in society, but to actually have a point and a reason behind it.

The first taboo I deal with is writing lesbian fiction. It’s not even just the fact that people don’t really talk about lesbians, it’s the fact that lesbian fiction is the taboo in the LGBT fiction world. Gay fiction is readily accepted. People read it all the time. Straight people even. Same with bisexual and menage/poly. It’s just readily accepted.

But I find that lesbian fiction isn’t really read much beyond the lesbian or bisexual female realm. It’s a much smaller audience, and surprisingly, not a lot of people are willing to take a risk and try it. It’s as if something about two women being together and being realistic isn’t attractive to them.

Not only to I write lesbian fiction, but I write lesbian fiction as a bisexual/omnisexual woman. There we go, another taboo right off the bat. I don’t know if you know this, but lesbian fiction is not readily accepted by lesbians unless you, the author, are a lesbian yourself. I do have an advantage and disadvantage here.

1. I’m a woman (don’t even get me started on men who write lesbian fiction and are put down because of it)
2. I’m bisexual/omnisexual (meaning I get what’s it’s like to love a woman even though I married a man)

Being a woman gives me an instant in. Some readers see that I’m a woman who writes lesbian fiction and automatically assume I’m a lesbian. Which is fine, it really doesn’t matter to me. A reader is a reader. But it’s people who flat out refuse to pick up my books because I write something they don’t think I have any understanding on. It’s interesting to me because I mostly write urban fantasy…like I understand what it’s like to be a pyrokinetic or telepathic or a witch or a vampire. I don’t. Those things don’t exist in the real world. So why is it acceptable for me to write those but to lesbians?

It’s not something I claim to understand, but it is a definite belief. It’s something I want to explore, something I want to understand. But I’m not sure I ever will. And the interesting thing is…I do with with bisexual books. There aren’t a lot out there, but the ones that are tend to be ploy/menage. It’s not something I see as a common form of bisexualism. It doesn’t mean I won’t read the books, but it does mean I don’t consider those books bisexual. It’s different. I find that people rarely want to write bisexual or other colors under the rainbow (lesbian and gay aside) unless they actually fall into that category themselves. It’s as if people are afraid to test and try out and expand their creativity.

And I don’t blame them. If you’re constantly being labeled as “not this so I won’t read” then why even try to write it? This is where being bisexual/omnisexual comes in handy. I have been in relationships with women. Hell, I almost married one. So I do have experience, and the label of bisexuality comes along with the assumption of experience. So there are some readers, who with that label, will pick up my books.

But the point of this whole long post is that I break the taboos. I’m not someone who follows a binary (ha! Bisexual and binary!? Not likely). I’m someone who likes to explore what we consider societal norms and try to figure out why the hell they’re there and if they really work.

So this post begins a new post series that will go on for I don’t know how long. I’ll talk about some of the taboos I write, and I’ll talk about how I break them, or rather, why I wanted to write them.

Do I Feel Different…? Guest post with A. M. Leibowitz #lowereducation #MM #bisexual #romance

Hello one, hello all! Today I’m so excited to host my good friend A. M. Leibowitz on my blog. She’ll be talking about publishing and finally being a published author and just want that feels like.

***

10518908_10204489956156895_156712596_nWhen Adrian asked me to write this post, I jumped at the opportunity because, well, she’s one of my favorite people, and how could I say no? Then I realized I had to actually come up with a topic. I consulted my crystal ball (also known as my spouse), who suggested I write about whether I feel different now that my book is officially available to the public.

I want to say that I don’t feel different at all, that I was a real writer before, and I’m still a real writer now. I wanted to say that having my words in a format people have to pay to read doesn’t make any difference at all. But I would be lying.

I do feel different. It’s not just because the book is really, truly, honest-to-goodness available for purchase. It’s because in some way, I feel like I’ve earned the right to say to people, “You can buy my book. Or not. And if you don’t like it, you can leave me a bad review. Or not.” I no longer have any desire to hedge my bets.

Before, people used to say to me, “Oh, I would love to read something you wrote! Please let me know when your book is coming out.” And I would hedge. I had an overwhelming desire to say, “Are you sure about that?”

I come from a very conservative religious background. For some of you, that should tell you all you need to know about why I was hesitant. If you’re in the dark about it, here’s what that means.

It means attempting to put off a few people by telling them I write “romance.” It means glancing over my shoulder, leaning in, and whispering, “But I write gay sex.” It means giving people everything about the plot of the novel except for the part where my main character is bisexual and falls in love with another man. It means my neck sweating and my face turning a thousand shades of red as I say, “I don’t know if my book is church-approved.”

I’m now at a church where lgbtq+ people are welcome and affirmed, but that wasn’t always the case. The kinds of things I write are more than a little frowned on among my conservative friends. While I probably won’t lose any friendships, I might lose some respect.

When I wasn’t a published author, that mattered to me. It created in me the almost crippling fear that if I couldn’t make these people respect my writing, by extension I’d failed to make them respect me. Having a published novel has given me the confidence to stop allowing these people to own me that way. I’m not saying being published is the cure for all our writerly anxieties; it’s not. But for me, it was the boost I needed to be able to look people in the eye and take credit for my work.

I guess that means next time someone asks me what I do, I can say with conviction, “I write queer lit that falls somewhere between literary and romance. I swear a bit, and sometimes people in my novels have sex.”

Then again, maybe I won’t. I’ll wait until at least the second time we meet.

Amazon: Kindle Edition
Smashwords: 8 Different File Types
Barnes and Noble: Nook Edition
Apple: iBook Edition

Author bio:

A. M. Leibowitz is a spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. She keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing romantic plot twists and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, she blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, and her family.

 

Find me on the Internet:

Web site:         http://amleibowitz.com

Facebook:        Amy Leibowitz Mitchell (personal profile)

A.M. Leibowitz (author page)

Twitter:           @amyunchained

Gender Neutral GUEST POST with S. A. Snow #authorscorner #bisexual #eroticromance

Hey everyone! I’m thrilled to be guest blogging here at Adrian’s blog. I’m S.A. Snow, and I have decided to write about gender neutral writing today since that’s something I’ve had some experience with that a lot of other people haven’t.

I’ll start off by saying that Across Worlds: Collision is the first novel I have written that involved non-gender conforming characters. Usnavi doesn’t identify as one gender or another at all. Zhe can be either, depending on what zhe wants at the time. Notice what I did there? Zhe. That’s in place of “he” or “she”. Other pronouns I had to get used to using are “zher” and “zhim”.

To be completely honest, I still get mixed up on using them sometimes. My betas and editors were catching me calling Usnavi “he” or “she” several revisions into the novel. I would catch myself falling back on the pronouns I was familiar with while writing the first few chapters, and figuring out when to use “zher” and when to use “zhim” was difficult. For the record here’s: “it belonged to zher”, “she said to zhim”. I think.

Going through the process of writing Across Worlds: Collsion was completely eye-opening to me on the importance of these pronouns. My characters are real to me, so by a few chapters in, Usnavi was a fully fleshed out person. Zhe had quirks and dislikes, and I knew what zhe thought about things. When I would catch myself using the wrong descriptor, I felt bad about it. It was a struggle for me to get to the point where I could consistently refer to zhim in the right way all the time.

Writing this book has translated into real-world applications for me. I don’t tend to think about things until I’m faced with them and getting to know Usnavi and exploring zher feelings about gender and the fluidity of things helped me really shape how I view things in the world we live in. Simply, our world is changing rapidly, and we have more diversity around than ever before. Instead of just assuming everyone fits into the “he” and “she” boxes that have existed for so long, we need to be open to expanding our definitions and the words we use to describe people.

Writing about Usnavi was a lot of fun. Zhe is a great character, and I loved going on zher journey with Jane. I personally felt a lot like my journey was similar to Jane’s. As I wrote about Usnavi, I learned a lot about being sensitive and aware that not everyone is like me and being open to accepting them for who they are, no matter what form that takes. I sincerely hope that reading this book takes you on the same journey it did me. If you’re interested, you can purchase it on Amazon.

Author Bio:

After chasing around puppies and corralling kittens, S.A. Snow flips open her BSG replicated console and enters her mysterious world of imagination. Seeking to escape the rigors of her day jobs, she enters flight mode and powers her engines full-speed ahead.

A prolific writer of non-traditional erotica, S.A. Snow grew up on a small alpaca farm high in the Andes Mountains. A lover of yoga and meditation, she spends her free time constructing alien space stations, organizing werewolf governments, and cataloging all episodes of Star Trek in order of technical soundness. A firm believer that one need not choose between Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas, she also has closely examines all Star Wars movies in order to determine which episode is more factually based.

S.A. Snow writes truth and only truth, factoring in all evidences she can find. She writes only about parallel universes she has personally visited, and believes if something about her books isn’t shocking, she’s not effectively telling the story.

Connected with S. A. Snow on Facebook and Twitter.

70a86-awccoverJane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love.

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing.

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
iTunes
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Kobo

Biphobic #HAHAT

Howdy! Today is the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia! It’s hard to imagine that I signed up for this hop ages ago, and it’s finally here! If you didn’t know, today is actually the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia! Go figure.

You can check out their website here: http://dayagainsthomophobia.org/

HAHAT 2014

I can’t wait to share with you today. This is something special on my heart. Not only do I write in the LGBT genre and have characters who are LGBT, but I also claim to be part of that rainbow community. And what a fantastical community it is. The LGBT et al community is one of the most rewarding and supportive communities I’ve ever been in. And I’m proud to be a member, for the most part.

I’m part of this community because I’m bisexual, which is what I want to talk about today. I know many bisexuals and the high majority of them have experienced something similar to what I’m going to talk about. Phobia of the “one who can’t decide.”

I’ve been in and out of the family since I was fourteen. I didn’t come out to immediate family until I was eighteen but that didn’t matter. They were supportive and there was no pushback from them at all. What did matter was the GLT friends I had…that’s where I experienced the most pushback.

Perhaps it’s just because people don’t understand bisexuality. Perhaps people don’t understand that there is more than just the L and the G in that fancy smacy little acronym. But experiencing a phobia from the very group that we’re supposed to be a part of is not the most ideal. It’s like being rejected at every single turn. There is no safe place to just be ourselves. There is no acceptance.

When I was in college, I was continuously told that I just needed to choose whether I was going to be lesbian or straight. It pissed me off. Downright angered me to the point where I refused to hang out with gay/lesbian friends and I refused to participate in any LGBT “friendly” group. How often have I heard that it’s not a choice from them? Yet they never afforded me the same opportunity! It seemed so contradictory to what they were saying, as though they had the same bias against bisexuals as certain straight people had against them.

When I entered my Master’s program, I was told that I wasn’t bisexual. Like really? Who’s going to tell me my sexuality? But they did. Over and over again I was told that I was pansexual or omnisexual because I didn’t discriminate against those outside of the male/female spectrum. It frustrated me to no end. No end because clearly being bisexual was still considered a “bad” thing, something which no one understood and something which people feared.

We break the binary. We break the nice, neat little lines that have been created for years. It isn’t a matter of one of the other, it’s a matter of both or all. It’s a matter of having something which no one else can have. There isn’t black or white, male or female. There’s red, brown, yellow, gold, silver, pink, camo all combined into one piece of a world that is so wonderfully bright.

So why is it that we as bisexuals feel phobic tendencies from inside the group and from outside? Because we simply don’t follow the “natural order” of things. We’re not binary, and we mess up the binary lines that we’ve been taught for centuries.

So what? So break out of that box a little bit and see that phobias and discriminations that are happening in your own back yard. See the stereotypes we create for people all over the spectrum and try to put a stop to them. Change your mind on something. Change the way you talk about bisexuals. Change the way phobias are continued. Just change.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

If you’d like to enter to win some awesome prizes, click the link above. There are 4 books in the print book package from three different authors. All you have to do is like the FB pages. I will contact the winner once the winner has been chosen (it’s a random thing, I don’t handpick winners =P) The giveaway ends on May 27th, so the winner will be contacted within 1 week after.

Want to learn more about the Blog Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia? Check out their website here: http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com.

 

And please check out all the other wonderful posts in this blog hop!

#authorcorner Dominica Malcolm!

It is a great honor and privilege to interview Dominica Malcolm today!! I can’t wait to share what we talked about!

Tell us about yourself.

Bio: Dominica Malcolm is the author of Adrift, a speculative fiction novel that follows pirate Jaclyn Rousseau in the 17th and 21st centuries. As with her novel, her writing tends towards pirates and/or mermaids, though she also writes dystopias. She’s been published in 4 anthologies, with a couple more on the way: Fae Fatales: A Fantasy Noir Anthology by Solarwyrm Press, Idol Meanderings, Horrors of History and Happily Never After (coming soon) by Fey Publishing, and an indie anthology Harvest Moon. She’s also in the process of releasing an anthology she edited herself, Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction.

 

Though born in Western Australia, Dominica holds citizenship in both Australia and the USA, and currently lives in Malaysia with her husband and two children. She travels a lot, having been to over 30 countries in 6 continents around the world, which inspires some of her writing. She has a Bachelor of Science in Internet Computing, and a Graduate Diploma in Media Production. Checking out her web site (http://dominica.malcolm.id.au) will lead you to music videos and short films she’s worked on, as well as sample stand-up comedy, artwork, and writing.

 

Seems like you get around and do a lot! But what is one thing not in your bio, something totally random that only a few people know?

When I got married in Australia, the furthest someone travelled to attend my wedding was basically the other end of the globe – from Toronto, Canada, to Perth, Australia. I also had three friends fly from the other side of the country to see me get married.

 

Wow!! Onto writing. =P What made you decide to write? If it even was a decision. And what kept you at it?

I think most writers seem to have a story about how they used to write stories from a young age, don’t they? I’m no different than that, though my creativity didn’t stop with story writing. In primary school, I wrote plays and performed them with other kids, took classes in modelling and then taught catwalk modelling to other kids, and even choreographed my own dance for “Just Around the Riverbend” from Disney’s Pocahontas.

 

So my point is that I don’t just focus on writing, though when I do write, it’s generally what I’m focused to work on at any given time. In the last decade that’s been anything from screenplays and a one-act play, to stand-up comedy, to blogging, creative non-fiction, and finally fiction. I write because I have something to say. These days what I want to say tends to be that storytelling is just as good with a diverse cast of characters, and so I focus on character-driven stories with that in mind. You’ll usually find racially and/or sexuality diverse characters in my stories because those are the types of people I’m most exposed to in my own life. Even when I blog, one of the topics I bring up a lot is diversity in the media.1056694_10153832420855204_2041546874_n

 

Who has been your biggest inspiration and support in writing and in publishing? Doesn’t have to be an author or anything, and yes, it can be your mom or dad.

I don’t know that I could pick just one person who has been the “biggest” inspiration and support, because it changed over time. I’d say the person who was my inspiration to really make the switch to speculative fiction was a friend who writes under the name Joey Michaels. I wanted to be able to write like he does, and then asked myself, “Well, what’s stopping me?” But then when it came to writing my novel, the support I got came mostly from my editor, Jeremiah Murphy, and my husband. They were always the first two people to read my chapters and give me feedback, and then my husband helped me with the practical side of publishing, whilst Jeremiah fixed up all the nitty gritty punctuation, grammar, and typo kinds of errors in my manuscript.

 

Why is it that you are an independent author? What prompted the decision to publish with a small press publisher, and how has that experience been?

I’ve often had an attitude of “do it myself as much as possible” because I’ve found it hard to find people who I can rely on to get things done when I want them to. I think this in turn fostered an attitude for me to have a clear vision about what I want to achieve, and whilst I can take feedback from people and adapt if something isn’t working for my early readers, I’m not really comfortable feeling like I’m forced to do something that might disrupt what I was trying to achieve.

 

I’ve enjoyed the experience so far. I might not be anywhere near as widely-read as a traditionally published author, but I am being read and people—strangers included—generally seem to be enjoying what I’m putting out there. I’ve also enjoyed connecting with people, and finding other indie authors whose writing I can enjoy too.

 

Tell us a bit about editing anthologies and what it’s like to get them together and the talent you find.

Well, Amok is the only anthology I’ve worked on as an editor so far, but I can say it’s been a very rewarding experience for me, finding writers from all over the world who are writing the sorts of stories I like to read. Reading all the submissions was the easy part. There were a lot of great stories to choose from, but when it comes down to the selection process, some stories just fit my vision better than others. I think that was the most important thing for me, and it was good that I knew what I wanted to accomplish in this collection.

 

My personal vision was one of great diversity. How that came about is because I’ve been blogging for a while about wanting to see more diverse characters in the media I consume, and I thought what I really needed to do was be a part of that change and provide access to the types of stories that represented what I felt was lacking. Focusing on the Asia-Pacific region helped but was not in and of itself responsible for diversity. Probably my most common reason for rejecting something was because the story focused on a white male protagonist. Now, I’m not saying I rejected all of those stories, because there were some that were too compelling to reject, and/or still included some diversity, but I couldn’t choose too many of them when I also wanted to provide a portal to other cultures that are less represented.

 

Some of the stories I selected have a good range of diversity. For example, one of the reasons I enjoyed “Bright Student” by Terence Toh was because he showed the interracial friendships and relationships that occur in Malaysia. It’s not the only reason I chose it, of course, but it was an influencing factor. Some of the other stories don’t have as much racial diversity, but that didn’t matter, as long as the collection as a whole did. That also meant that competition between stories set in some countries like Australia and Malaysia, which had the highest number of submissions, was higher than others. But the quality of those stories were also very good, so they also have the most stories in the anthology.

 

In the end I was able to include most of the settings that I received, with a total of 15 (Australia, China, Hawaii, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Pacific Ocean, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam). I was, however, a little disappointed in the lack of submissions with LGBT characters. And one I had received (and accepted) that filled that role, I hadn’t even realised did at the time of acceptance. That was the major reason I wrote something myself to include in the collection, because I wanted a little more LGBT representation.

 

If you could meet one character in real life from you novel Adrift—and yes, I know this is a hard question—who would it be and why?

Haha, actually this is pretty easy, I think. I’d pick Turtle, my African character, who just seems to have turned out to be a great person, despite his harsh background – a former slave turned pirate. He taught my protagonist a lot, and I think if I met him in real life, he’d teach me a lot more about the realities of life for him in ways non-fiction books wouldn’t be able to achieve. That’d be great to know if I ever get around to writing a sequel!

 

What do you do when you get stuck in your writing? What happens when that nasty writer’s block sets down and refuses to budge—if you believe in writer’s block that is?

I don’t know that I believe in writer’s block as such, because there were times when I was working on Adrift where I just wasn’t feeling it but would force myself to sit down and get it done. The thing that has actually been debilitating for my writing the past few months has been depression and anxiety, but now that I seem to have gotten that under control, I’ve actually been able to finish my first short story in a long time (the one for Amok). So I guess what I do when I am blocked like that is deal with my mental and emotional health in whatever way is needed for the situation. Sometimes that means spending time with friends, or watching a movie, or focusing on another of my creative pursuits.

 

What is your editing process? Editing seems to be the bane of a lot of author’s existence, so how do you edit and stay on track?

I generally can’t edit my work without feedback from other people, because I’m too close to the story to see where it’s lacking. I’ve been very lucky to have a number of people available and willing to provide that for me, because in the end it means I have a better story for people to read.

 

Another thing that has helped is setting self-imposed deadlines. That was the only way I managed to get back to editing my novel for the final time. I’d set it aside for months, despite having had a heap of feedback to delve into. Part of it was a crippling fear that I wouldn’t like the story any more once I re-read it, because of some of the harsher comments. But in the end I wanted to release it before I turned 30, so I looked at my plans for the rest of the year and figured out when would be the best time for me to release it (International Talk Like a Pirate Day, of course!) and worked backwards from there, knowing I also needed to factor in my editor going over everything with a fine-toothed comb himself.

 

I also tend to edit as I write. I know a lot of people say don’t do that because you’ll never finish the story if you’re always editing it, but I’d rather finish something as close to done as I can. Usually when I’d finish a chapter of my novel, I’d send it off for feedback, and edit before moving on to the next chapter.

 

A follow up question, what’s the difference between editing your own work and editing other author’s works? How is the process different?

I can usually be more impartial when it comes to someone else’s story, but providing feedback to people, you still have to be sensitive to how they might respond, and what works best in order to get them to listen to you. When it came to the stories in Amok, I didn’t do much more than copy-editing, because I didn’t have the time to give advice or offer suggestions, and so I chose stories that worked well as they were when they were submitted. There was only one story that was edited after I asked if the author wanted to clarify something better for readers, but I didn’t have a problem with it being vague if that was what had been intended.

 

Would you mind sharing some of your ups and some of your downs about writing and about publishing? Any advice to new and upcoming authors?

Hmm… well, of course, seeing my novel in my hands for the first time was a huge high! The realisation that it was done, and the cover turned out well, and the typesetting looked good. Actually a lot of people complimented me for my typesetting job in that book, and maybe that seems like such a small thing, but it made me feel really good because I’d spent so much time trying to get it just right and easy on the eyes. What it said was “This looks professional.” And considering I’ve seen people bemoan a certain subset of self-published authors who don’t bother to make their books look professional, it meant a lot to me that people didn’t put me in that category.

 

I guess the downs have come mainly from me not being a great marketer, and maybe having higher expectations than I should have had with how many people I sent review copies to who never followed through to write a review. I have no idea if they even read the book, and I’m not very good at following up with people with that sort of thing. Part of that is just because I haven’t been the most reliable reviewer of other indie authors myself, and so I feel like there’s some level of understanding that they’re probably just busy with other things.

 

I feel like the best response I got in terms of marketing was through the Goodreads giveaway program. I’ve seen some authors bemoan this, saying that the winners just sell the books instead of reading and reviewing them, so maybe I got lucky, but I gave away 3 books and got 3 reviews out of it. I don’t even mind the two-star one because that just shows my book isn’t for everyone. It also seemed to generate a heck of a lot of to-read labels. I don’t know what effect that has had on other readers, but it at least makes it look like there’s a lot of interest. My other piece of Goodreads-related advice is to make sure you put them on appropriate lists. Having Adrift on lists for things like female pirates and lesbian pirates was definitely responsible for some of my readership, and since they’re short lists, they’re fairly easy for people to go through and find what they’re interested in. I’m doubtful that lists with more books would make yours easier to find because they’d be too overwhelming.

 

Here’s a more serious question. What is it like to write in the LGBT realm of craziness that we all support? What’s it like to dip the toe into the rainbow through writing and publishing?

I’m not sure dipping my toe in is the best way to describe how I include LGBT characters, since they’re generally my protagonists! I think all of the fiction I’ve written in the last couple of years has included at least one LGBT character, but I don’t see myself as a writer of LGBT fiction, and my reason for that is because I don’t think LGBT fiction should be separated from mainstream fiction. I think that alienates a subset of the audience who might enjoy the work. It’s like the label limits the audience to readers who identify as LGBT themselves, because they’re the ones who are going to be more likely to go out there and search for fiction that fits that description. But I’d rather open up my writing to be exposed to people of any background, and especially those who aren’t LGBT, so those characters can be seen as just as normal as any straight character.

 

But, first and foremost, I write for myself, and not seeing such characters represented often in the media I consumed growing up and beyond is, I feel, one of the reasons I found it so hard to come out as bisexual myself, as well as accepting that I was. I’d honestly only seen myself as straight because I thought that was the only option on the table. This was despite an obvious attraction to other girls before I understood what that was.

 

What is your best memory from the whole writing and publishing process?

I don’t know if this is necessarily the “best,” but it was certainly memorable. I spend a lot of my social life with the local comedians in Malaysia because the stand-up scene here is fairly small and easy to get into. Even when I hadn’t been performing for a few years (I didn’t perform at all between March 2010 and September last year), I’d go watch some shows and hang out with them. Since I wasn’t performing, everyone basically knew me as a writer, and seemed excited about my book being in print. Then, after one show, which was headlined by a visiting Singaporean comedian, just before the official release of my book, I happened to have a copy on me. I think someone must have mentioned the book to the Singaporean, or maybe she randomly asked me what I do and I brought it up, but after only a couple sentences exchanged between us, she bought it from me. That was a big week of feeling elated, and the confidence I felt from how I was selling copies definitely contributed to my being able to get back up on stage doing stand-up comedy again the following week—the actual week my book was released.

 

QUICKIES!

1. Dog or Cat? Cat
2. Favorite color? purple
3. Favorite junk food? Mint Slice biscuits (they’re Australian)
4. Favorite musician? I don’t really have a favourite, but I’ll give a shout out to Malaysian composer Onn San. His Epomania album is amazing and everyone should check it out.
5. Favorite curse word? Is douchebag considered a curse word? It’s one of my favourite insults to use against men who annoy me, though I don’t think I ever say it to anyone’s face!
6. Favorite quote? I don’t think I have one!
7. Rolaids or Tums? I have no idea what they are.
8. Short or Tall? Short
9. Favorite body part? Hair
10. Favorite holiday? Maybe Lunar New Year (it’s a holiday where I live!)

Books

I1903554_10153832419200204_1621426844_nt’s the 21st century, and Jaclyn Rousseau is not where she should be. 1661 disappeared before her eyes, and there’s no way home. That matters not to Jaclyn—she lost her lover, and everything else that meant anything to her, in the West Indies.

In an adventure that crosses time and the Atlantic, a murderous pirate must find a place for herself in this new world.

Can she escape her past, or will it catch up with her?

 

Buy links:

All of my buy links for Adrift can be found here: http://dominica.malcolm.id.au/writing/adrift/

Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction is not yet available but I’ll be selling pre-orders through crowdfunding site Indiegogo soon.

social media

Website: http://dominica.malcolm.id.au

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DominicaMalcolm

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dommalcolm

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/DominicaMalcolm

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dommalcolm