Authors have feelings too — Breaking outside the romance box #reviews

depressed woman facial close upOriginally this story was published with Silver. A lot of you know the issues that publisher had, and the whole experience put me off writing any more. So when Dreamspinner wanted to republish this, I was thrilled, and did rework and expand the story.

So I was really excited to see the first review posted for Shifting Gears was 4.5 stars at MM Good Books. I couldn’t believe it. It’s wonderful when the reader gets why I did certain things in a story.

But that sense of well-being soon got shattered with a 2-star review that another review site posted. Yes, I’ll admit it hurt my feelings.

To be honest, I just don’t understand quite how two readers had such different experiences with my book. One reviewer loved the characters the other didn’t. One thought the writing was “wonderful” the other said it was “okay.”

Amazon readers seem to like it. Goodreads readers don’t. It makes my head spin!

I know it takes some getting used to what reviewers are going to say, and with just one book out, I don’t have a track record or group of avid followers. I hope it gets easier.

ShiftingGearsLGWithout spoiling anything, I tried something a little unconventional in this story and something I hadn’t seen elsewhere (in part regarding one MC’s relationship with another man before he starts up with the other MC). I can see it hasn’t gone over well, no matter how it was intended. I discussed this with my editor and betas and felt it worked here, but it hasn’t.

Quite honestly, I’m not sure if it was my writing or just that some readers don’t like things outside of the normal romance structure. Should I just stick to the safe stuff? The fun for me in writing is breaking outside the box in terms of sex an romance, yet still bringing the two main characters together in a satisfying and emotional romantic conclusion. But maybe trying something unconventional is not a good idea if I want to sell books and get new fans.

As readers, do you prefer that the romance and relationship follows the normal patterns?

4.5 stars for Shifting Gears “Wonderfully Written” #PNR

4.5 stars! Wonderful release day review from MM Good Book Reviews!!!

Shifters? Weres? What’s in a Name (#pnr #amreading #gayromance)

Cover by Bree Archer

Shifting Gears releases today from Dreamspinner Press. I tried to make this story different from your average wolf-shifter book and I hope I’ve succeeded. Today I’m exploring some aspects of shifters and werewolves and how I don’t see them as quite the same thing.

Gray Fowler, my alpha wolf-shifter is very particular. He is not a werewolf. “There’s too much mythology going on there,” he tells Kenton.

Order Shifting Gears at Dreamspinner

Order Shifting Gears at Amazon

I agree! To me, the word “werewolf” conjures up all sorts of dark (and hairy) images, most of which aren’t at all sexy. I think of the Wolf Man, who’s more Saturday matinee than movie star dream. Over the years, pop culture has given werewolves a pretty bad rap. They do some bad shit. Even the ones we love, like Oz in Buffy.

It’s been only more recently that wolf shifter characters have gotten a little sex appeal going. Though I’m not a fan of the Twilight franchise, I can still enjoy Taylor Lautner, even though his wolf is CGI. Teen Wolf is another departure from the more clichéd examples. When the wolves in human form can get our hearts and sympathy, we can forgive some of the things they do. Actually, I can forgive Alcide in True Blood just about anything. He only kills people who deserve it, but he still kills.

I’m not a fan of gore in my books or films, which is another reason I’ve shied away from many of the classic wolves. The transformation scenes get my skin crawling, though I think they are incredibly important to understand the experience from the shifter’s point of view, and sometimes that’s just yucky (think of the scene in Supernatural when the shapeshifter takes on Dean’s appearance. That scene still makes me need to wash my eyes out!)

What about other weres and shifters? Somehow the idea of a wereduck or wereotter sounds cute and cuddly, and they are. I definitely put them in a different category. These characters live in a different world than that of the wolf who is pursued in animal form, whether or not he’s actually done something reprehensible.

I haven’t even had a chance to touch on how to explain yourself to a non-shifter significant other? Or his parents? “Mom, this is my werewolf boyfriend. We promise not to visit during the full moon. Go on, give him a hug!”

So, there are a lot of fun aspects to explore with a shifter, wolf or not. I couldn’t possibly address even a fraction of them here or in Shifting Gears, but doing a little reading and research opens up so many possibilities.

What aspects of a shifter’s life interest you most? Who is your favorite wolf and why?

Shifting Gears (2nd edition) Releases Friday 11/21 (#pnr #amreading @dreamspinners)

I’m just thrilled to bits that Dreamspinner Press is releasing my novella tomorrow. It’s also available for pre-order over at

Here’s more about the story and check out the gorgeous cover by Bree Archer.

One rainy night, bike-shop owner Kenton Palmer finds an injured dog on the road and takes him to the nearest vet clinic, only to discover he’s actually a wolf. Undeterred, he wants to nurse the injured animal following a necessary surgery. The handsome Dr. Will Barclay’s interest and his own brand of animal attraction overwhelm Kenton, who’s been doubting himself after a failed romance.

Gray Fowler is a wolf-shifter and pack alpha. After Kenton rescues him and takes him home to heal, he’s forced to remain in wolf form. But that doesn’t prevent him from falling hard for Kenton. It begins as jealousy, but Gray soon discovers Will, Kenton’s new admirer, is caught up in something sinister. However, he’s forced to wait until he’s healthy before he can shift and enter Kenton’s life as a man. Then Gray must discover how Will’s shady activities are linked to the men who ran him down and expose the scheme before Kenton gets too involved with Will.

Pre-order at Dreamspinner

Pre-order at Amazon

Don’t forget, if you leave a comment on any of my posts this week, you’ll be entered to win a Dreamspinner gift certificate. The amount will depend on how many people comment. More comments = more $$$$.

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