Brita Addams

The Prose Speak: A Holiday Guest Post (and Gift) by Brita Addams

gift12Well, it’s that time of year again. For some it’s Christmas (me too,) but it’s also a time of reflection.

Every year has its share of sadness and joy, and 2015 was no exception. We had loss and health setbacks, but here it is nearly Christmas and we’re still here, slightly slump-shouldered, but standing. Here’s some of the highlights of our year.

In January, our grandson, Sebastian, turned sixteen and sprouted to over six feet tall. He towers over most of the family, except his dad (6’3”) and one of his two Uncle Chris’ (6’4”.) We’re super proud of our daughter and her husband, Michael, for raising him to be the thoughtful and kind young man he is. What a guy!

In February, I took my milestone birthday well, I think, when I forbade the family to mention it and insisted they let the day pass unacknowledged. They did, except for a couple of smartasses. I can always count on them to remind me why I have gray hair.

March brought brain surgery for our oldest daughter, Kim, due to some nerve webbing (simplified explanation.) She’s fine now and is free of the blinding headaches she’d suffered for three years. I won’t detail the heart-stopping hours of waiting for the news that she came out of surgery and all was well.

Sebastian zombie pic

T’was during his visit with us during his mama’s hospital stay that Sebastian introduced me to the Walking Dead. Hooked me like a fish. Ya know, you do things to please the kids. I’m told I’m his cool Grammie. The conversation went something like this:

“Grammie, I think you’d really like the Walking Dead.”

“I don’t know, baby. Zombies?”

“Yeah, but the characters are really good and you know how you like good characters.”

“True.”

“Come on. Let’s get some of your hazelnut coffee and I’ll watch the first few episodes again with you.”

“You want coffee?”

“Yeah. Whenever I think of coffee, I think of your hazelnut coffee creamer and it makes me smile.”

He had me hooked there, thrilled that he’d remember such an obscure thing. “Oh, baby! I had no idea you knew that.”

“I love ya. What can I say?” Big hug and lemming march to the guest room to watch the Walking Dead.

We watched five episodes that day. He went home the next and I watched the first five seasons in the next nine days. He’s still on season two. And the conversation did go like that!

Tina_and_ClintMay is always joyous for us because we celebrate two anniversaries, both on the same day, the ninth. We celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary and the 39th anniversary of our first date. There will never be enough of these—ever.

The summer brought a turn my husband’s chronic health problems. He has Parkinson’s and he’s had his ups and downs, but from about June to now, he’s grown weaker. He takes everything in stride, God bless him. He’ll rally for a few days, and then not so much. He’s still him though, sense of humor and sharpness. He loves to cook and with me acting as sous chef, we get the job done. He still makes the best gumbo and potato salad in the South, bar none.

I don’t tell you all this for any other reason than to celebrate the life I have the privilege of living. The people I’ve lost this year made up a part of who I am. Those still with me nourish my soul and make getting up every morning something I look forward to. I’m more aware of what truly matters.

We each hold a figurative lifeline in our hands. These days, I’m holding on tighter than ever before. I want more of the good while I fend off the bad for as long as I can. I’ve also come to realize that we don’t have a lot to say about the latter. That makes the former all the more precious.

2f970d_2cefdd2cac18466c8cb19705c045b631Merry Christmas everyone! Thank you to everyone who has purchased one of my books this year. Your loyalty and support humbles me.

As my gift to you, here is a link for a free short story. Sometimes we need a little awakening to realize what matters most. Please enjoy An Evening at the Starlight, and after you read it, hug those you love a little tighter.

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Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press

Guest Post by Brita Addams: Promotion Help – Did I Mention It’s Free?

mfrwbutton800Promotion is a never-ending job for authors, but I have a great avenue for all my author friends. Are you a member of Marketing for Romance Writers? If not, you are missing out on a great avenue of promotion. I’m a newbie myself, but this week, they did a Tweet Fest and my notifications didn’t stop for three days. I gained almost on hundred new twitter followers and with their Cover Love feature, Tarnished Gold was promoted to thousands of people.

The brain children of author Kayelle Allen in 2006, MFRW and its sister, Romance Lives Forever, have wide reach, hundreds of thousands of followers on every social media avenue there is. Many opportunities for FREE promotion. I encourage all authors to scoot over there, after of course you’ve read the following exclusive excerpt from Tarnished Gold.

Now here is that excerpt, one never before shared. Enjoy. Buy links follow.

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TarnishedGoldWhen the knock sounded, Jack fairly raced Roderick for the door. “I’ve got it,” he told the older man.

He flung the door open and had to use every bit of restraint he possessed to keep from throwing his arms around Wyatt and hugging the life out of him.

 

“Come in, come in.” He anxiously took Wyatt by the arm, led him into his office, and shut the door with his foot. “You look good enough to eat.”

Jack claimed Wyatt’s lips, leaving the man breathless. He poured his desperation into the kiss, wanting to climb inside the man and take refuge there for the rest of his days.

When they parted, Wyatt drew in a big breath. “I’m so glad you are back.”

“Don’t leave me,” Jack whispered. “Please, don’t leave me.”

Wyatt placed his hands on each side of Jack’s head. “Look at me.”

Jack did, giving away the tear he’d hoped not to show.

“What’s wrong? Tell me.”

Jack took Wyatt’s hand and led him to the couch. “What’s not wrong. The tour ended badly, and I’ve just learned that my father died.” Jack covered their hands with his free one. “I don’t want to be alone.”

Wyatt held and rocked him as Jack poured his sadness into Wyatt’s wool jacket. He didn’t mention Milo, no need, but he surely wept for him too.

“I’m so sorry about your father. Were you close?”

“Yes,” Jack said, embellishing the truth with that single word.

Wyatt’s tenderness warmed him through. He took it in, reveled in it.

Roderick’s brisk knock startled them both. Jack pulled himself to a full sitting position and wiped his eyes on his sleeve. “Come in,” he shouted, his voice watery.

Roderick brought their dinner in and placed it on the table he’d set up earlier. “If there’s anything else, Mr. Jack, just let me know.”

Jack nodded, not wishing to risk a hitch in his voice.

Familiar smells filled the room, transporting Jack back years to when his mother served the meals to the workers after they came in from the fields.

“Come sit, before it gets cold,” he told Wyatt, who gave him a worried look. “I’ll be fine. You’re here.”

“I hope so.”

They chatted through a dinner of chicken and andouille gumbo, made with the homemade sausage Jack had brought back from Louisiana.

To wash it all down, they had an ample supply of Theresa’s cure-all mint iced tea.

“Dig in. It’s the best gumbo you’ll ever eat.”

Wyatt wrinkled his nose, as he pushed the contents around the bowl.

“Is something wrong?”

“Ah, this looks like dirty dishwater.”

“Oh, you city boy. That’s the roux, and it’s delicious. Taste it before you make any hasty judgments.”

Wyatt took a wary sip from his spoon, then another. His eyes brightened. “My God, I’ve never tasted anything so delicious.”

“I knew you’d like it. I grew up on this stuff. My mama used to tell me I had it running through my veins.”

“It’s different, I’ll give you that.”

“Good different, though right?”

Another mouthful and a nod.

When they finished eating, Roderick cleared the room and said he and Theresa were retiring for the evening.

“Good night and please thank Theresa for a wonderful homecoming meal.”

“That I will. She’ll be glad to hear it.”

When Roderick closed the door, Jack asked, “Would you like a glass of wine?”

“That sounds great.”

Jack wanted to lick Wyatt’s smile, and a few other things, but chose to sit at one end of the couch, his leg crooked and his body turned to face Wyatt. “I’m sorry for my behavior earlier. So much has happened these last few days, then to hear of my father’s death, it all kind of got the best of me.”

Wyatt sipped his wine, his eyes fixed on Jack. “Please, no apologies necessary. I’ve been told I’m a good listener, if you’d like to talk about things, that is.”

A good listener. Had he ever known such a person? “I saw my family on our stop in New Orleans. My father was quite ill and despite hopes, it was understood that he’d not make it. I expected his passing, but I suppose not so soon.”

Wyatt studied the swirl he’d produced in his glass. “You know, we never really mourn for those who have passed. We always mourn for our loss, what the absence of that person will do to us, the living.”

Jack contemplated Wyatt’s words. “I’ve never heard it said quite like that, but I suppose you’re right. You know, I was never sure if my father loved me, until that last day when he was so weak he could barely speak.” Jack hesitated, recalling his father’s barely audible voice. “He told me he was proud of me. Those words were the finest gift he’d ever given me.”

Wyatt sipped his wine. “Is your mother still living?”

“Yes, she and my brother, Andrew. The telegram said she was holding things together. She’s strong. I want to take care of her, but she won’t allow me to. Now that Papa’s gone, though, I’ll be more forceful in seeing to her needs. Listen to me, I’m rambling on. What about you? I want to know all about you and your family.”

Wyatt’s expression changed to doleful. “Nothing much to tell. I was raised in an orphan asylum. My father died before I was born and my mother shortly after giving birth to me. I was given a parochial education, then shown the door when I was eighteen.”

“I’m so sorry. I had no idea. But you seem to have done very well for yourself. I mean, you’re intelligent and you have secure employment.”

“You could say that. I’ve worked hard to achieve my success, and it hasn’t been easy. Hiding my true nature takes precedence over everything, which makes for a very lonely existence. I mustn’t be doing a very good job, though, because you saw straight through me.”

Wyatt’s chuckle belied an obvious deep-set hurt.

“Only obvious to one who looks for such things. I’ve always enjoyed watching people. The true test would be to see you around people you have no desire to know better.”

Wyatt raised his glass. “To astute observations. May they take us far.”

Jack joined in the toast and winked. “May they take us far indeed.”

WYATT lolled his head against Jack’s shoulder as Jack drove him to his Garden Courts apartment. He kneaded Jack’s leg and inched higher, until Jack stopped his hand, mid-thigh.

“I coulda driven myself home,” Wyatt slurred.

“Not so sure of that, sport,” Jack said, as he patted Wyatt’s hand. “You should have told me you aren’t used to drinking.”

“I’m not ushed to drinking, Jack.”

There was something endearingly innocent about Wyatt’s drunkenness.

Jack pulled up at the apartment building, a neatly kept set of buildings. He rested Wyatt’s head against the back of the seat and got out of the car.

When he opened the passenger door, Wyatt appeared as though asleep. “Come on. You’re home.”

Wyatt groaned, then allowed Jack to get him out of the car.

The walk to the door of the building involved much shuffling and more than a few stumbles.

“Where are your keys?”

Wyatt fumbled in his pockets, then dropped his key ring on the ground.

Jack chuckled as he balanced Wyatt and bent to retrieve the keys. He unlocked the door, and then, with his arm securely around Wyatt’s waist, he helped Wyatt up the stairs to his second-floor flat.

“You’re tickling me.” Wyatt laughed, the sound reverberating down the long hallway.

Jack hefted Wyatt closer. “You find this humorous?”

“I was just thinking how you were trying to get me drunk so you could take me to bed.”

“Shh. You’ll alert the neighbors.”

“Don’t care. That’s what you were trying to do, isn’t it, Jack?”

Wyatt’s knees buckled just outside apartment 204. Jack held on while he slid the key into the lock and opened the door. He then scooped Wyatt up, into his arms, and carried him through to a hallway. “Which room is yours?”

There were only two choices, and with Wyatt hemming and hawing, Jack chose the one with the clothes scattered on the floor.

He laid Wyatt onto the unmade bed and proceeded to undress him down to his union suit, something he’d hoped to do under more auspicious circumstances. Wyatt dozed until Jack covered him, brushed his blond forelock into place, and kissed his forehead. He took Wyatt’s glasses off and put them on the bedside table.

Wyatt grabbed his arm in a weak grip. “Don’t leave me alone.”

There was something quite vulnerable about this handsome man that touched Jack deeply. Not since he and Andrew were children had he felt so protective of someone else.

He loosened Wyatt’s grip and tucked that arm beneath the covers. “I’ll be right here.”

Jack took off his own shoes, lay down next to Wyatt, and tugged him into his arms. Wyatt snuggled against his neck, then his breathing evened as he gently blew warm puffs of air against Jack’s skin. Jack smiled, closed his eyes, and fell asleep, feeling content and needed.

Buy Link | Amazon

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BritaAddamspicAbout Brita Addams: Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

Readers can find more information about Brita Addams at any of the following places:

Website/Blog  | Twitter | Facebook  | Fan page  | Pinterest | Booklikes | iAuthor | Monthly column at The Novel Approach | Please stay in touch by subscribing to my monthly newsletter |  Cold Coffee Café

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Lynley Wayne

Professionalism in Writing: A Guest Post by Lynley Wayne

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The Novel Approach is pleased to have Lynley Wayne with us today to offer some great common sense tips for authors, whether you’re an established author or just beginning your writing career.

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Writing, unlike other professions, has a lot of flexibility. We can write anywhere. Whether it’s down the road at our favorite coffee shop. Sitting in the bleachers of our child’s game. Curled up on the couch in our pajamas. In our cars while on a lunch break from the day job. Standing in line at the post office.

You get the idea.

And while it’s nice, it also makes it easier for some to forget that at the end of the day writing is still a profession. As such, there needs to be a certain level of professionalism. How you present yourself online, and in public, is important.

Professionalism

Let’s start with something simple, the author’s name. Oftentimes the name is the first impression a reader has of you. It doesn’t matter if you use a pen name or your real name. Your name says a lot about you. People form opinions based on a name. If you chose to write under a pen name (as I do), then make sure it’s a name you will still be comfortable using ten years from now. Make sure you will have no problem answering to it in public, and I don’t just mean at writing conventions. If someone hollers it in the middle of a crowded mall, would you smile and wave, or would you duck and hide?

Another thing to think of is website domains, blog titles, and/or email addresses. For all of these it should be the author name. If you write under the name of Janie Doe, then your domain name should be http://www.JanieDoe.com or .net or .org. Your email address should be JanieDoe@email.com. If you can’t get your name @ email.com, then try authorJanieDoe@email.com or JanieDoe.author@email.com. Even better would be Janie@janiedoe.com. Not only is it more professional, but it is also easier for readers to remember. Let’s not forget editors, publishers, agents, and bloggers.

Nowadays it seems like everyone is online. Social media allows us to connect with people like never before. The down side? It allows people to connect like never before. Meaning, we have a greater chance to say the wrong thing. We have to be more careful of what we say and how we say it, because once it goes into cyberspace there is no getting it back, it’s out there forever.

Think of it this way. Every interaction, whether it be in person, on social media, or through email, is a job interview. Always put your best self forward.

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ATL_Lynley Wayne_BWAbout the Author: Lynley Wayne is the pen name of a thirty-something female living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When not writing, she can usually be found reading and thinking up creative ways to avoid housework. She is married to a very understanding man who doesn’t complain when she spends hours in front of the computer, or talks for hours about whatever story she’s working on, or asks random off the wall questions. He also keeps her fed on those occasions when her muse has taken over and she loses days at a time. Yeah, basically he’s vying for sainthood.

Lynley strongly believes everyone is entitled to their own version of happiness, no matter how it may differ from the norm. She writes characters she wants to read and hopes others like reading about them as much as she enjoyed writing them.

It is her hope that one day society will be able to look past the labels and see the person behind them. That they will realize we are all the same. Until that time comes, she will continue telling stories of a love others may believe is wrong, but she thinks is nothing short of beautiful.

You can find Lynley online at: www.lynleywayne.com, www.twitter.com/@LynleyWayne, www.facebook.com/lynley.wayne.1, & www.facebook.com/LynleyWayne

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Brita Addams

Guest Post: Random Acts of Promotional Kindness by Brita Addams

Random Acts of Promotional Kindness

Last year I started a Facebook page called Random Acts of Promotional Kindness, where I hoped people would help each other promote books, events, giveaways, contests, and well, anything else book related. The page got some attention and people used it as I intended. But I wanted more, so I recently started a RAPK Facebook group, and it has taken off nicely for being so new.

There, everyone can put up excerpts, links to their websites, buy links—anything they want, but I ask that everyone keep it clean, because Facebook is so blinking judgmental. Nice shiny covers are welcome, but no nudity. Excerpts should be tamer than you might like, but put a link in for the racier bits. LOL

This your personal invitation to join the Random Acts of Promotional Kindness group and use it regularly, not only to promote your own work, but to help others reach a wider audience. I will never add anyone to the group, as I think that’s rude, but I would love to see more members.

Promotion is expensive and if we can help each other, we should. We’re also working with Writers Online Network or WON, for reciprocation. WON is a year old and they have many promotional avenues for authors.

They host many themed radio shows on Block Talk Radio and the blog is very active. You can contact Zachary Phillips for a guest blog spot. Check them out at Writers Online Network. They are looking for a host for the show I created, And the Rest is History. Interested? Contact Will Prater.

Open your promotional horizons and check out WON.

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hertimelessobsession-510I have a release coming out on January 23rd. Her Timeless Obsession is a het Regency romance and is available for pre-order now and download on release day at Musa Publishing. I’ll be on tour with the book from January 25 to the 30th, and I invite everyone to join me. I’ll have a giveaway of a backlist books along the way.

A love that transcends time.

Ever the explorer, Honey Danby discovers a treasure trove in her dusty 1910 London attic. Old trunks filled with clothes, journals, and love letters written between two lovers in 1810 entertain her and leave her longing for a time and a man long past. Dressed in an irresistible gown from one of the trunks, Honey discovers a heart-wrenching love story. When she learns that all was cruelly torn asunder, the handsome soldier’s loving words written to his H. catapult Honey into an adventure that defies logic.

When, dressed in a crisper version of the gown, Honey inexplicably awakens inside a rumbling horse-drawn carriage, she discovers she shares the antiquated vehicle with the man who tore the lovers apart. Can she convince this stranger to forego his unreasonable demands, or will history repeat itself on a misty August morn in Green Park?

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Something new on the horizon

2015 started with an idea to write a story set in a city I’m very familiar with, New Orleans, in the early part of the 20th Century. In the planning stages, I called in my author daughter, Lindsay, to brainstorm, and she immediately suggested it should be a gay romance. While I started writing het romance five years ago, I love gay romance more every day. The story is steaming along, with on protag born in the Red Light District. I’m working on the draft, after which I’ll go back and put the flesh on the bones. I’m excited to finish this one and get it sent off to the publisher. Feels good to write something new after spending the last year rewriting my hets and getting them a new home with Musa Publishing after the original pub folded.

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Brita LogoAbout Brita Addams

Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Musa Publishing publishes Brita’s heterosexual historical romances, including the rewritten and expanded, best-selling Sapphire Club series, each with new titles. Again, each of the titles have again hit the best-selling lists at various online vendors.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

Readers can find more information about Brita Addams at any of the following places:

Website/Blog 
Twitter
Facebook
Fan page 
Pinterest
Booklikes
Monthly column at The Novel Approach
Please stay in touch by subscribing to my monthly newsletter

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Brita Addams

In The Full Swing Of The Holiday Season With Brita Addams

 

Brita Christmas

Well, we’re in the full clutches of the holiday season. Does that sound bah humbugish? I confess, that’s the way I feel.

I am a product of a mother whose favorite holiday was Christmas and each year, she went all out. Dad handled the present purchasing and my mother did the rest. Oh, I have fond memories of the year she chose the “drunken sailor” Christmas tree (because it looked so pitiful on the lot,) and decorated that sucker until it looked perfectly straight. That woman could work wonders with that silver tinsel stuff. One damn strand at a time, her domain, and God save your fingers if you tried to “help her.” I do remember the year I crinkled a bunch of it (made like aluminum foil, not the flimsy stuff we can get today,) and tossed the wad on the tree when she wasn’t looking. Score for me. That petulant act saved me hours of her fuss-budgeting every year. In all my adult years, I’ve never used what she called icicles. Continue reading

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Brita Addams, Musa Publishing

Guest Post: Inside a Love Scene by Brita Addams

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Let me start by saying that anyone who thinks writing a love scene is fun is greatly mistaken. It’s work and for the most part, technical. A writer has to make sure that the positions we put our characters in are possible and doesn’t end up making them out to be contortionists.

Badly written, you risk tossing the reader out of the story. Well written, your reader is right there, in the story, wishing they could participate. Continue reading

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Brita Addams, Guest Contributor

I Need a Hero – A Guest Post by Brita Addams

I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero
‘Til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
Bonnie Tyler – “I Need A Hero” Lyrics


Larger than life, yes indeed—but real as well.

Let me start this article by saying that while I read all the time, my leisure time reading is very limited, and for that reason, I mostly read historical fiction when I read for enjoyment. I like nothing better than to settle into a good bit of historical fiction, romance or otherwise, where the heroes are larger than life and the story sweeps me away to another time, another place. Continue reading

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Brita Addams

Call Them Sentient, Autonomous, Floating, Or Disembodied, They Are Still Detached Body Parts – By Brita Addams


Of course, when an author writes “His fingers inched up her leg,” they don’t mean it literally. The problem, however, lies in the interpretation and not in the intention. An author’s job is to paint a picture with words, to create a story. If we use detached body parts as a part of that picture, we have conveyed the wrong picture.

Authors generally dislike the rule about no autonomous body parts—where eyes, legs, hands, arms, feet, and other parts, act on their own, independent of their owners. “His eyes traveled over her body.” Well, ew. What kind of mental image does that conjure?
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B. Addler, Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

The Hop Against Homophobia And Transphobia 2014 Kicks Off Today With A Giveaway


The Novel Approach is proud to once again be participating in the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia today, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The mission of this annual blog tour throughout the LGBT writing community is a fairly simple one: “To spread awareness of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination by expressing ourselves and getting readers from within our own genres involved. Furthermore, we are here to stand together as an LGBTQ writer community against discrimination of our books.” Through a global outreach of nearly one-hundred-eighty participating authors, publishers and bloggers, HAHAT has become a positive voice in a virtual world.
Continue reading

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Guest Contributor, MLR Press

It’s Con Season! A Guest Article by Kris Jacen


Yay! We’ll all get to see our friends again, we’ll also make new ones, and that’s the whole point…right? Or maybe not? Socializing and having fun are certainly important. Without a doubt, they are often the high points of the events we attend. However, there are a few very important items that we need to be mindful of.

It used to be that there were only a few conferences (cons) each year, featuring or welcoming LGBTQ writers and readers (RWA National, RT, AAD, Lori Foster’s). But now, there are so many more – GRL, Rainbow Con, The Novel Approach, UK M/M Meet, to name a few. As our industry, and our genre continue to grow and mature, we gain more and more opportunities to represent ourselves online, and more significantly, in person.
Continue reading

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Brita Addams, Guest Contributor

Cliches We Use Incorrectly – A Guest Article By Brita Addams



You have to love Sean Bean and since I do, here he is. No other reason really. :)

I love words and I also love clichés. They have become clichés for a reason, and I embrace them fully. I do use them sparingly in my writing, depending upon the period I’m writing about.

On occasion, in research or even in reading, I come across phrases that are so blatantly wrong, but they weren’t caught in editing. Others are phrases that a new generation decided needed changing, perhaps to sound hipper. Bad will always mean bad, and sick will always mean sick. Sorry, folks, but meanings aren’t changed simply because you want them to be. And don’t get me started on the silly spellings I see on social media. Yep, I’m a purist.

For fun, I have created a list of some of my favorites.

Graduated high school – Grammar Girl, my person grammar heroine, says this about that: “To graduate is a verb-transitive or intransitive. Transitive verb takes an object and an intransitive verb doesn’t. Object is a thing or person the verb is transferring action to-the thing the subject is taking action on. When you say someone graduated from a specific college, you are using the intransitive form of “to graduate” because the verb has no object. Let’s say Mr. X got a degree from Burrow College. Although it’s a bit archaic, the formal way to say this using the intransitive form of the verb “to graduate” is to say, “Mr. X was graduated from Burrow.”

The more modern way to say it and still be correct is “Mr. X graduated from Burrow.”

You need the “from.” Mr. X graduated FROM Burrow. The shortest form of this sentence would be “Mr. X graduated.” If you think about it that way, you can see that “from Burrow” isn’t an object, it’s just a prepositional phrase that tells you more about where Squiggly graduated from.

The thing is, when you say, “Mr. X graduated Burrow,” you’ve turned “to graduate” into a transitive verb. By definition, the act of graduating is something a school does to a student, not something a student does to a school. Schools graduate students. You could say that Burrow graduated 600 students this year. However, if you say, “Mr. X graduated Burrow,” you’re making Mr. X the subject and Burrow the object and saying that Mr. X did something to the college. It’s possible Mr. X did many things to the college during his tenure there. He may have damaged the college, delighted the college, or desecrated the college–but he didn’t graduate the college.

Whole, entire life – whole and entire mean the same thing, so there is no reason for the redundancy. Whole life or entire life would suffice.

AM in the morning – this one is so obvious, yet I read it and hear it on television all the time. A.M. means ante meridiem, which is Latin for before noon. To say that breakfast is served at 9AM in the morning, you are really saying breakfast is served at 9AM before noon in the morning, which is something we wouldn’t say, is it?

Same exact – Really? Don’t they mean the same thing?

Try to explain/Try and explain – Easily mistaken, but Try to explain is the correct phrasing.

Holed up/Hold up – Holed up means hide in a literal hole or a cave for shelter. Hold up means to rob. Two quite different things.

Took this tack/tact – at Grammartist.com, we find this about that: “Tact is sensitivity in social situations. A tack is a course or an approach (the word has nautical origins). When switching courses or taking a different approach, one changes tack, not tact.

Tact often appears in place of tack. Presumably some people think of it as short for tactic, which is synonymous with tack in some contexts. This is understandable given how rare tack is, but tact is not conventionally short for tactic, and, fairly or not, phrases like change tact are generally considered wrong by people who pay attention to these things.”

Every single time – We all say it and it is silly upon examination. Every time will suffice.

The whole world – If you speak of the world as a whole, then there is no reason to say the whole world. If you mean part of the world, then you would say world at all.

The very first time – The intensifier very is used to make a stronger point, but it is unneeded. The first time is quite sufficient. Very changes nothing. More on intensifiers in my May column.

Close proximity – Grr! Proximity means close. Such a shame that screenwriters use close proximity with abandon. Correctly used, it reads: We are in proximity of the restaurant.

By accident/on accident – My children used to say this all the time, albeit briefly. It is said that language changes over time – bad meaning good, etc. Simply because people adopt a certain way of speaking, doesn’t make it correct, does it?

By accident is the correct way to say this and to say on accident makes you sound like a ten year old, whose mother hasn’t corrected them. My children weren’t that lucky.

That’s so much fun/That’s so fun – This corruption is relatively new to my ears. This is what grammarphobia.com has to say: “Fun” is traditionally a noun (a thing, as in “We had fun”), not an adjective. So you usually wouldn’t use it as a modifier (“We had a fun day”). An exception would be when “fun” is a predicate nominative – a noun that follows a verb and modifies the subject (“This is fun”).

Therefore, it would be OK to use “fun” in a sentence like “Skiing is fun,” but not in one like “We had a fun day on the slopes.”

For the same reason, the ubiquitous and annoying “so fun” is incorrect, but “so much fun” is not. If you mentally substitute a noun like “entertainment,” you can see why. You wouldn’t say “so entertainment,” but you could say “so much entertainment.” Similarly you could say “This is entertainment” (predicate nominative).

He’s so bad (when we mean good)
That’s ridiculous, when you mean just the opposite.
You have sick talent

As my parents did before me, I will blame rock n roll. Seriously, saying any of these things doesn’t make one sound cool. Actually, it sounds uneducated. Words mean what they mean and no hipster will ever make them mean something else.

All of a sudden/All of the sudden/All the sudden – The correct phrase is the first, all of a sudden. The other two are just ridiculous.

My head literally exploded – Ah, no it didn’t. How do I know this? Because if it did, you wouldn’t be here to tell me it did.

Lying about her/ lying on her – When you tell a lie about someone, you are lying about them. When you lie on someone, well, that is quite personal and we don’t need to know.

Card sharp/card shark – Grammartist.com sorts this for us: Card sharp is preferred in British English, while card shark is more common in American, Canadian, and Australian English. They share their main definitions—namely, (1) a professional card player, (2) a person who is skilled in card games, and (3) a person who is skilled in cheating at card games. The British card sharp more often implies cheating. Card shark, especially in American English,is often simply a term for someone who spends a lot of time playing cards.

Homed in/honed in – You home in, which means you zero in, as opposed to hone in. To hone means to sharpen or improve.

Think to myself or thought to myself – say them several times and you’ll see why they are on this list. They make no sense. Of course you think to yourself. You can’t think to anyone else.

I had a thought in my mind – I do so hate those thoughts from other people in my mind.

For naught/for not – For naught is the correct saying. Don’t know where the other one came from.

For all intents and purposes/ For all intensive purposes – Intensive means rigorous and focused, but it’s not the same thing as “for all intents and purposes.”

Another think coming/Another thing coming – The complete phrase goes “If that’s what you think, you’ve got another think coming.”

Jibe with/Jive with – Jibe with means to agree with. Jive is a dance.

Pique my interest/Peak/peek my interest – Pique means to provoke or arouse, which makes more sense in context. Peak is highest point and peek is to, well, peek.

Scot free/Scott free – This means without incurring payment or penalty. ‘Scot’ as a term for tax in various forms – Church scot, Rome scot, Soul scot, etc. Whatever the tax, the phrase ‘getting off scot free’ simply refers to not paying one’s taxes.

Bated breath/Baited breath

Bated – Breathing that is subdued because of some emotion or difficulty. Baited breath simply means you have worms in your mouth. Remember this one that way.

Without further ado/Without further adieu – Ado is commotion. Adieu means farewell in French.

Should have/ Should of – “Of” is a preposition, not an auxiliary verb like “should.”

Try to/Try and – “And” is often used in place of a preposition after a verb, but the more appropriate version is to use “to” — in most cases.

Beck and call/ Beckon call – At one’s beck and call means you are ready to obey one’s command immediately. Beckon means to hail or call over.

Words are always such fun, but when we craft phrases for our writing, we should get them right. Each one of these and many others are easily Googled.

Next month, I’ll tackle intensifiers in writing. Strange how most are not needed at all, but they are used with abandon. Sure sign you don’t need them is when the sentence doesn’t change meaning without them.

Until then, happy reading.

Brita LogoAuthor Bio: Born in a small town in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her Tarnished series for Dreamspinner, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. It also nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads MM Romance Group.

Brita and her husband love to travel. They’ve taken no less than twenty-five cruises and countless long car trips, as well as completed a Civil War battlefield tour, and visits to many sites involved in the American Revolutionary War. Their 2013 anniversary tour of England, Scotland, and Wales gave Brita fodder for many new tales.

On a trip to Hollywood, California, Brita stood in the footprints of some of her favorite actors—Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and many others, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and has even kissed Mickey Rooney, God rest his precious soul.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

Starting April 29, 2014, Brita will host a Blog Talk Radio show for Writers Online Network, entitled And the Rest is History. She’ll interview authors, publishers, and readers of historical fiction. The co-founder of WON will interview Brita on April 29, and together they will introduce the show. Then, starting on the last Tuesday in May, at 2 pm Central time, Brita will take on hosting duties.

The list of guests is shaping up, including USA Today Best Selling author, Pamela Clare, scheduled for June 24. Watch Facebook and Twitter for all the details.

Contact Links:

Website
Blog
Twitter: @britaaddams
Facebook
Fan page
Pinterest
Booklikes
Monthly column at The Novel Approach

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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor, J.A. Rock, Lisa Henry, Riptide Publishing

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Feature – “When All the World Sleeps” by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock



This week’s cover of the week is…bum bum bum…When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock artwork by Amber Shah.

I see a lot of covers every week, as we all do. On Facebook, on Google, on my Photoshop, but they don’t all stand out. In fact, a lot of them are just typical. I kinda love that this one is not “typical”.

The first thing you see when you look at this cover, in big or small size, is the title. Bold, bright, easy to read, but oddly enough, even though it’s very prominent, the title doesn’t overpower the picture. I like the texture too. It looks like rough concrete, or even an earthen texture, which goes well with the ground it’s superimposed over and also goes well with the almost pre-tornado like feel of the cover.

I have no clue what the story is about. I know, I know, I really need to read some of the books I review covers for. It’s probably a good thing I don’t review the books, isn’t it?

As I said, I have no clue what the story is about, but it reminds me of either a house that is waiting for a tornado to come or a fire to consume it; the calm before the storm so to speak. I love the juxtaposition of the gold/red sky with the blue/green grass. Is some tragedy coming to claim this house? Are the men waiting on the porch because whatever is coming is going to consume them, so why run? Or is it the cold, empty world around them that is coming to overtake their warm hearth? Not…a…clue.

But I want to find out. If it’s a fire, I really want to run over there with my hands waving and warn those guys, “Get off the damn porch, you’re gonna be barbeque.” Then again, on closer inspection, the house has an empty feel to it, so perhaps I’m seeing a vision of the past. A secret love affair, perhaps, that has long since died but has never been forgotten?

All I know for sure is that based on this cover, this does not look like a story that will let me avoid the Kleenex box. Just sayin’. Dramatic, possibly romantic, yes, but there’s some pain in there. I can just feel it emanating off the cover as I write.

I would hazard a guess that the men were put onto the house and the house put onto the background. I can’t be sure, but if that’s the case, it’s well done. The shading/highlights look great, the colors all complement one another, and the gradients on both the ground and the background are compelling and shocking in the stark contrast.

I love that the house seems small in a vast space, without it being small on the cover at all. This is one of the things that vexes me sometimes when I do cover. (Yes, I said vex, and no I am not your grandmother writing this article. I promise!) I have the toughest time with placement: how big is too big, and how small is too small. That sounds like a joke I once heard, but um…we’ll keep it PC, shall we? But really, it’s tough sometimes to judge. That, and just figuring out the very placement of the pictures can be equally as hard. It’s just like drawing a picture: you get an idea into your head, you get all excited go to execute, and bam… a big ol’ overlapping mess. You try to make it smaller and you lose the guys on the porch. You try to make it bigger and you lose the leaf bare trees and part of the sky. But this cover manages all that and more. I’m really quite taken.

Anyhow, guys and gals, I’m lacking in the chatter this week for some reason, so instead of bending your ears and eyeballs, I’ll just leave you with a sampling of the beautiful covers by Amber Shah from her website Book Beautiful . I can only aspire to make book covers as stunning as these someday.

The last one is actually a pre-made but still…pretty. *sighs wistfully*

That’s me, signing off.

Have a great day and may all the good books be with you!

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.

Check me out on Facebook @ : https://www.facebook.com/ajcorza

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Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press, Guest Contributor

Confusing Pairs (And Triples) of Words – by Brita Addams


Brita Logo


As word crafters, authors are often faced with word choices that are confusing in their similarity either in spelling or meaning. Below is a list of words that are often used interchangeably. By no means is this a comprehensive list, but you’ll recognize them.

How do you stand on the correct use of these words?

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A lot – to a considerable degree or extent
a place or position on a team
Allot – to apportion something
Alot – Not a word

A while – for a while; for a short time
Awhile – an adverb, meaning “for a time,” or literally, “for a while”

Accepter – to give an affirmative reply to
Acceptor – One who signs a time draft or bill of exchange.

Adverse – 1: acting against or in a contrary direction; hostile 2. opposed to one’s interests
Averse – having an active feeling of repugnance or distaste —usually used with to

Affect – to influence or change, as in, “The arrows affected Aardvark,” or “The rain affected Amy’s hairdo.” Affect can also mean, roughly, “to act in a way that you don’t feel,” as in, “She affected an air of superiority.”
Effect – 1. something that is produced by a cause or agent; result: 2. power or ability to influence or produce a result; efficacy: with no effect

All ready – completely prepared
Already – prior to a specified or implied past, present, or future time

All right – fairly good; acceptable or agreeable; suitable or appropriate
Alright – Not a word. It is a misspelling of “all right” (two words), which means “adequate,” “permissible,” or “satisfactory.”

All together – means “collectively”; everyone is doing something all at once or all in one place (1), as in “We sang the national anthem all together.” If you like, you can break up this two-word saying (2), as in “We all sang the national anthem together.”
Altogether – completely and fully; with everything added together; when everything is added up; in a general way; when everything is considered; collectively

Altar – a usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship
Alter – to make different without changing into something else

Ascent – the act of ascending; climb or upward movement
Assent – an act of agreeing to something especially after thoughtful consideration
Ban – to prohibit, forbid, or bar
Bann – An announcement, especially in a church, of an intended marriage

Baron – a title of honor, often hereditary. One of the lowest titles in various nobiliary systems of Europe.
Barren – incapable of producing offspring, seed, or fruit; sterile

Berth – a place to sleep on a ship, train, etc.; a place in the water near the shore where a ship stops and stays;
Birth – the time when a baby comes out from the body of its mother; the beginning or origin of something
Bodies – the entire physical structure of an animal or human being
Body’s – of one’s body – the body’s physical condition

Born – brought forth by or as if by birth
Borne – transported or transmitted by
Bourn or Bourne – A small stream; a brook. [Middle English, from Old English

Bread – Some you make a sandwich with
Bred – To produce offspring

Breath – 1. the intake and expulsion of air during respiration
Breathe – 1. to take in oxygen from (the surrounding medium, esp air) and give out carbon dioxide; respire

Bus – a road vehicle designed to carry passengers
Buss – an archaic or dialect word for kiss

Can’t – cannot
Cant – to talk or beg in a whining or singsong manner; Angular deviation from a vertical or horizontal plane or surface; an inclination or slope

Capital – the uppermost member of a column or pilaster crowning the shaft and taking the weight of the entablature
Capitol – a building in which a state legislative body meets; a group of buildings in which the functions of state government are carried out

Cession – The act of relinquishing one’s right. A surrender, relinquishment, or assignment of territory by one state or government to another
Session – the meeting of a court, legislature, judicial body, etc, for the execution of its function or the transaction of business

Cite – to write or say the words of (a book, author, etc.); to mention (something) especially as an example or to support an idea or opinion
Site – the place where something (such as a building) is, was, or will be located; a place where something important has happened; a place that is used for a particular activity
Sight – the sense through which a person or animal becomes aware of light, color, etc., by using the eyes : the ability to see; the act of seeing someone or something; a position in which someone or something can be seen

Council, counsel, and consul are not interchangeable.

Consul – an official appointed by a sovereign state to protect its commercial interests and aid its citizens in a foreign city
Council – an assembly or meeting for consultation, advice, or discussion
Counsel – advice given especially as a result of consultation; a policy or plan of action or behavior

Consulter – To seek advice or information of: consult an attorney
Consultor – one who gives counsel, i.e. a counselor

Curser – someone who swears
Cursor – a mark on a computer screen that shows the place where information is being entered or read

Discreet – having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech : prudent; especially: capable of preserving
Discrete – constituting a separate entity : individually distinct

Dual – relating to or denoting two
Duel – A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules

Elicit – to draw or bring out or forth; educe; evoke: to elicit the truth; to elicit a response with a question.
Illicit – not permitted : unlawful

Emerge – to become manifest : become known
Immerge – to plunge, as into a fluid

Enter – 1. to go or come in; 2. to come or gain admission into a group: join —often used with into; 3. to make a beginning
Inter – to deposit a dead body in the earth or in a tomb

Epic – a long narrative poem recounting in elevated style the deeds of a legendary hero, especially one originating in oral folk tradition
Epoch – a point in time beginning a new or distinctive period

Faint – to pass out
Feint – something feigned; specifically: a mock blow or attack on or toward one part in order to distract attention

Fiancé – a man engaged to be married
Fiancée – a woman engaged to be married

Filet – a cut or slice of boneless meat or fish
Fillet – A narrow strip of ribbon or similar material, often worn as a headband. Also a strip or compact piece of boneless meat or fish

Flack – one who provides publicity; especially : press agent
Flak – complaints; criticism; negative feedback

Forbear – 1. to refrain or abstain from; desist from. 2. to keep back; withhold.
Forebear – A person from whom one is descended; an ancestor

Forego – to go before in place, time, or degree; precede. To precede, as in time or place
Forgo – to give up the enjoyment or advantage of : do without

Foreward – short introductory note in a published work
Forward – to or toward what is ahead or in front

Gamble – to play a game for money or property; to bet on an uncertain outcome
Gambol – a skipping or leaping about in play

Gel – a thick substance that is like jelly that is used in various products
Jell – to come to the consistency of jelly: congeal, set

Gest or Geste – a notable deed or exploit; A verse romance or tale. A prose romance
Jest – something done or said for amusement; joke

Gild – 1. to overlay with or as if with a thin covering of gold; 2. to give money to; to give an attractive but often deceptive appearance to
Guild – an organization, club, or fellowship

Gilt – having a golden color
Guilt – the fact or state of having done wrong or committed an offense

Hear – to receive a sound
Here – this place

Heard – having heard
Herd – a group, like cows

Jam – to cram or wedge into or against something: to jam paper into an incinerator; a food made by boiling fruit and sugar to a thick consistency
Jamb – either of the vertical sides of a doorway, arch, window, or other opening

Lessen – to shrink in size, number, or degree
Lesson – Something to be learned

Lightening – 1. to make lighter in weight: to lighten the load on a truck. 2. to lessen the load of or upon: to lighten a cargo ship.
Lightning – a brilliant electric spark discharge in the atmosphere, occurring within a thundercloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground

Loath – unwilling to do something contrary to one’s ways of thinking : reluctant
Loathe – to dislike greatly and often with disgust or intolerance : detest

Mantel – a beam, stone, or arch serving as a lintel to support the masonry above a fireplace
Mantle – archaic a loose wrap or cloak

Meat – animal flesh used as food
Meet – to come into the presence of

Need – a requirement, necessary duty, or obligation
Knead – to work and press into a mass with or as if with the hands
Kneed – to hit or touch with the knee

Offence – Chiefly British. Variant of offense
Offense – a violation or breach of a law, custom, rule, etc

Presence – the state or fact of being present
Presents – Gifts

Rain – water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then precipitated —that is, become heavy enough to fall under gravity.
Reign – 1. the period during which a monarch is the official ruler of a country 2. a period during which a person or thing is dominant, influential
Rein – 1. to control or direct with or as if with reins. 2. to check or stop by or as if by a pull at the reins <reined in her horse

Sac – a soft-walled anatomical cavity usually having a narrow opening or none at all and often containing a special fluid – this is the correct word when referring to a man’s ball sac.
Sack – a large bag made of coarse cloth, thick paper, etc, used as a container

Shone – 1. to give forth or glow with light; shed or cast light. 2. to be bright with reflected light; glisten; sparkle
Shown – 1. to cause or allow to be seen; exhibit; display. 2. to present or perform as a public entertainment

Sloe – the small dark globose astringent fruit of the blackthorn; Sloe Gin Fizz
Slow – lacking readiness

Tack – a short sharp-pointed nail, usually with a flat and comparatively large head: 2. (Brit) a long loose temporary stitch used in dressmaking, etc; stable gear; especially: articles of harness (as saddle and bridle) for use on a saddle horse; to modify one’s policy or attitude abruptly (to take a different tack.)
Tact – sensitive mental or aesthetic perception

Tail – section at the rear end of an animal’s body; in general, the term refers to a distinct, flexible appendage to the torso
Tale – 1. a report, narrative, or story: 2. one of a group of short stories connected by an overall narrative framework

Tenant – a person who holds, occupies, or possesses land or property by any kind of right or title, especially from a landlord under a lease
Tenet – any opinion, principle, doctrine, dogma, etc., especially one held as true by members of a profession, group, or movement

Timber – Lumber
Timbre – the quality given to a sound by its overtones; the resonance by which the ear recognizes and identifies a voiced speech sound

Until – up to the time that : up to such time as
Till – 1. up to the time of; until: to fight till death. 2. before (used in negative constructions): He did not come till today. 3. near or at a specified time; 4. Plow the soil
‘Til – truncation of until

Vice – bad or immoral behavior or habits; a moral flaw or weakness; a minor bad habit
Vise – a tool that is usually attached to a table and that has two flat parts that can be opened and closed by a screw or lever in order to hold something (such as a piece of wood) very firmly

While – at the same time that: please light the fire while I’m cooking
Wile – 1. trickery, cunning, or craftiness: 2. (usually plural) an artful or seductive trick or ploy 3. to lure, beguile, or entice

Who’s – contraction of who is
Whose – 1. what person or persons?: Who did it? 2. of a person of what character, origin, position, importance, etc.

Whit – The least bit; an iota: doesn’t give a whit what was said; not a whit afraid.
Wit – a form of intelligent humor, the ability to say or write things that are clever and usually funny. A wit is a person skilled at making clever and funny remarks.

Wont – accustomed, used
Want – to desire

Wrack – 1: ruin, destruction. (Wrack and ruin) 2: a remnant of something destroyed
Rack – 1. a framework of bars, wires, or pegs on which articles are arranged or deposited: a clothes rack; a luggage rack; 2. a torture device consisting of a rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one or both ends. 3. a cause of anguish or pain; acute suffering; the action of straining or wrenching (To rack your brain.)

Wreak – 1. to inflict vengeance or to cause chaos; to wreak havoc on the enemy (Not wreck havoc) 2. to express, or gratify anger, hatred, etc.
Reek – 1. to emit smoke or vapor. 2. to give off or become permeated with a strong or offensive odor (a room reeking of incense)

Next month, I’ll have a list of phrases we use incorrectly.

Brita’s newest releases

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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads Basketball Jones – Chapter 7



In chapter seven of Basketball Jones, oh my god! Jade! Oh my god! Jade… she isn’t what she seems…. And this leaves me to question what sort of complications she will cause AJ and Dray in the near future. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Continue reading

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Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett reads Basketball Jones chapter 5



In chapter five of Basketball Jones everything gets heated as the plot blazes into a startling and suspenseful kick off. You are so not prepared for what’s going to go down. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Right, I am jumping right into this chapter because this is the chapter that things blast off from, and this is the start of what I’m sure will be a psychological roller coaster that will have me gripping the edges of my earphones and yanking on the pads.

There’s also huge development in this chapter as well, dealing with Drey and AJ, but I will get to that sweet spot in a bit.
Continue reading

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Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press, Guest Contributor

Words Don’t Always Mean What You Think They Do – A Guest Article By Brita Addams


As bloggers, reviewers, authors, or email writers, we are crafters of words. English is a wonderful language, with words for every occasion. We do, however, use many incorrectly.

I don’t know if my aversion to improperly used words and phrases is because I went to school eons ago or if we have become slack in our speech, but I cringe when I hear or see words that someone is trying to make mean something they simply don’t.

Below is a partial list of words that are used erroneously, some to the point that because of corrupted usage, they have actually come to take on the improper meaning. I start with my all-time favorite. We hear it all the time, which I reiterate, does not make it mean something it doesn’t.

Decimate

Means: to select by lot and kill every tenth man or to exact a tax of 10 percent
Does not mean: To completely wipe out or annihilate

Explanation:
The traditional definition of decimate is to “kill one in every ten.” In fact, “Decimation” was originally practiced by the Roman Army as a form of punishment. The more commonly accepted, modern definition of decimate involves extensive destruction. It’s important to recognize that neither meaning of decimate allows for the idea of absolute, total destruction.

Myriad

Means: a very large number of things.
To say “She has myriad ideas” is sufficient, whereas “She has a myriad of ideas” is incorrect.

However

If you use however at the beginning of a sentence and don’t insert a comma, however means “in whatever manner,” “to whatever extent,” or “no matter how.” For instance, Winston Churchill said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” When you put a comma after however at the beginning of a sentence, everyone knows it means “nevertheless.” You shouldn’t start a sentence with however when you mean “nevertheless” or “but.”

Hello Giggles helped me out with some, from Ironic to Terrific

Ironic

What you may think it means: a funny coincidence
What it actually means: contrary to what you might expect

Peruse

What you may think it means: to skim or glance over something
What it actually means: to review something carefully/in-depth

Conversate

What you may think it means: to hold a conversation
What it actually means: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
We converse or have a conversation.

Redundant

What you may think it means: repetitive
What it actually means: superfluous, able to be cut out (The British use this word in downsizing situations)

Terrific

What you may think it means: awesome, fantastic
What it actually means: causing terror

Consent

Does not mean: To give one’s enthusiastic permission or agreement
Does mean: To passively agree, even if you have a negative opinion of what you’re agreeing to

Compelled

Does not mean: To voluntarily do something, usually out of a moral or internal impulse
Does mean: To be forced, obligated or pressured into doing something

Disinterested

Does not mean: Uninterested, as in “bored” by the outcome of something
Does mean: Impartial, not influenced by the outcome of something

Instant

Does not mean: Very quickly, with lightning speed
Does mean: A specific point in time.

Irregardless

Does not mean: Regardless
Does mean: Nothing, because it’s not a real word. (My mother, God rest her soul, used to say this all the time.)

Enormity

Does not mean: Enormousness
Does mean: A profoundly evil or immoral act

Chronic

Does not mean: Severe or intense
Does mean: A condition or state that lasts for a protracted period

I.E.

Does not mean: For example
Does mean: In other words

Ultimate

Does not mean: The pinnacle or the best
Does mean: The final entry in a list of items

Fortuitous

Does not mean: As if by luck
Does mean: As if by chance

Literally

Should not be used: To indicate strong emphasis (like the German “doch”) or as a way to comment on something that did not happen in reality but occurred figuratively
Should be used: To indicate that something actually happened

22 Everyday Words You Might Not Realize You’ve Been Using Incorrectly

Comprise

Incorrect Usage: My daughter’s play was comprised of three acts.
Correct Usage: My daughter’s play comprised three acts.

Explanation:
The meaning of comprise is, “to consist of.” In this way, it’s unnecessary to employ “of” in its use.

Bombastic

Incorrect usage: Gerald’s angry tendencies often turned into bombastic fits of rage.
Correct usage: Jane and I both agreed that the senator’s bombastic speech wasn’t going to prove conducive to any actual change.

Explanation:
There’s a tendency to assume the “bomb” in bombastic is similar to hot-tempered, ticking time “bomb”-like people. Bombastic, as an adjective that does nothing to describe a person’s temperament. Rather, bombastic is used to describe individuals who use complicated, fancy language with the sole intent of impressing others.

Noisome

Incorrect usage: The house party next door grew to be quite noisome as the night progressed.
Correct usage: The motorists were unaware that their vehicle had begun to spew noisome black smoke from its tailpipe.

Explanation:
Noisome has nothing to do with decibels, bass, or noise of any kind. Rather, noisome describes an unthinkably horrible smell. You can also use noisome in a scandalous sense, in instances where a person’s behavior is crass, unrefined, or lacking in moral judgment.

https://www.kibin.com/blog/incorrect-word-usage-choice/

Pristine

People think it means: “Spotless” or “as good as new.”
Actually means: “Ancient, primeval; in a state virtually unchanged from the original.”

Nonplussed

People think it means: Unperturbed, not worried.
Actually means: Utterly perplexed or confused. It comes from the Latin non plus (a state in which nothing more can be done).

Bemused

People think it means: Mildly amused.
Actually means: Bewildered or confused.

Plethora

People think it means: A lot of something.
Actually means: Too much of something, an overabundance.

Next month I tackle confusing pairs of words.

Until then, big hugs,

Brita

Brita LogoBorn in a small town in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals, as well as few contemporaries, have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her Tarnished series for Dreamspinner, received honorable mention, and is a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, historical romance category.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places:
Website
Blog
Twitter: @britaaddams
Facebook
Fan page
Goodreads
Pinterest
Booklikes
Monthly column at The Novel Approach

Newest Releases
Including 2013 Rainbow Award Winner Tarnished Gold – Historical Category

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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads Basketball Jones Chapter Four


In chapter four of Basketball Jones, I am introduced to another character that definitely puts a new spin on the term “foreshadowing”, and I have a million predictions that make me want to investigate a few things. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

There are a lot of stories that contain what’s known as “foreshadowing.” To English teachers it’s cleverly placed hints as to what will happen later on in the story but are really hard to spot. To the casual reader they are just hints sprinkled into a narrative. Some catch them, some don’t.

Foreshadowing doesn’t have to be a vat of mystery, though, even though meeting Jade in this chapter’s enough mystery for a lifetime. Foreshadowing can also be a uniquely designed subplot, and I believe that’s what the author did in this chapter: design a subplot.
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Guest Contributor, John Goode

John Goode Gets To The Heart Of The Matter In This Final Installment Of His Writing Series


Ok, so here on our last installment I want to go over the part that is the most important part of any story to me personally: the theme. What, at the end of the day, is your message, and how well did your story get that message across? I know you’re thinking, message? What message do I need? I am telling a story, isn’t that message enough?

No.

You see, an amusing or interesting story has as much value as the message it is trying to convey to the reader. The better the message, the longer the impact; the weaker the message, the faster it is forgotten for the next set of words placed in front of that person. As storytellers, we want our stories to keep talking to the reader well after they put the book down and to do that, you need a message, a theme that encompasses everything you just wrote.

To further this point, you need to look at your message and ask yourself, does this scene or character do anything to further that message along, or is it there just to fill up space and to be amusing? There are a lot of things that can happen in a book that make no sense to the overall message and when all is said and done, those moments are the ones the readers are going to look at and go, “Hmmm, what was the point of that?”

In my book Taking Chances, the theme is accepting yourself for who you really are. Not trying to be the person you think you want to be, be the person you need to be. In that measure, Tyler thinks he has to be this uber-straight acting jock type guy who can never let people in on his sexuality or emotions because that doesn’t fit his mindset. Matt thinks he needs to be this stereotypical homosexual, as if there is such a thing, and when he finds he’d rather stay home and watch Disney movies than go to a club, he thinks he is failing himself. Those two characters are pretty straight forward in the message, but there was one person that needed to be in the book to me.

Patrica, the transsexual hairdresser.

She gives what I think is the most important line in the whole book, which is, “And it’s okay. Most people assume I’m dressed as a woman, you know, like I’m in drag. I am not a female impersonator and this is not drag. This is who I am. There is a difference. We are all somebody inside, and most of the time we are too chickenshit to stare that person in the face. I stared into the abyss and when it stared back, it was wearing Revlon photo-ready concealer and cherry blossom lipstick.”

She is not there to give comedy relief, and she was not there to just throw in a gender confused character, which she isn’t. Patrica, not Pat, tells Tyler the moral of the story which is really for the reader, but if you don’t tell them, I won’t. We all have someone inside of us dying to get out, but we don’t let them because of society’s expectations, manners, embarrassment; whatever the reason, we lock them inside and long for the time we can be alone and ourselves.

It’s why we don’t burst out into song in the middle of a work day when you hear a song you like, you don’t tell the woman who you work with that she in an intrusive bitch and should back off, and it is the reason you put up with so much shit from your friends— because it is just impolite to speak the blunt truth most of the time. The book is about people trapped inside themselves and are making themselves miserable. There is no prejudice that does this, no oppressive society making them, it is their own hang-ups, and it is a huge problem at times in the gay community. Because of this, many gay men who read the book loved the message because they had gone through it, while some straight readers found the book tedious because it was stupid people doing stupid things, and they couldn’t figure out why they kept doing them.

Which brings us to the second part of your theme: Who are you talking to?

You cannot please all of the people all of the time. We all know the saying, and it resonates because it is true. And you cannot write a book for every single person in the world because it would just be a jumble of random things that ended up pleasing no one. You have to know who you are trying to talk to and hope the message is so strong that it captures other people as well. When I wrote Foster High, I wrote it for gay teens going through the hell that is high school right now. I didn’t write it for the parents or for straight kids; in my mind, I was trying to talk to sixteen-year-old me and saying everything I needed to hear back then.

It turns out, though, what sixteen-year-old me needed to hear was what a lot of other people still need to hear today. It struck a chord with straight kids, their parents, a lot of people I could never imagine reading a story about two gay teens in North Texas. I like to think it is because high school sucked, sucks, and is still sucking for a lot of people. The picking that happens on gay kids happens to a lot of people for whom the message of the book—which is, do not allow someone else make you miserable—hits home with a lot more than just sixteen year old me.

But I didn’t write it that way.

You can’t allow your desire to get as many readers as possible dilute what you think is your pure message. As a writer, I can only give you one piece of advice that I think is foolproof and can only help your career.

Write unpopular truths.

Do not think just because a subject has always been handled a certain way before that means it is the only way it can be handled. Speak your truth fearlessly, and I assure you people will respond. Your voice, your message, it needs to be as loud and as strong as humanly possible to make a difference. If you think something might offend or upset someone but you know it needs to be said, say it. Say it loud and say it often. There is only one you in the world, and you have to believe first that what you are trying to say will make a difference before anyone else will.

So there it is, my final writing tip to you. Find the message of your book and make sure that each scene, each character is part of a larger machine that exists to move it forward. Don’t be afraid to upset people and never, ever let someone else make you feel that you are anything less than what you are. Do not give them that ability, not a reader, a reviewer, and never yourself.

Remember, the only way your story will have any value to anyone else is if it has value to you first. That is the god’s honest truth, and it can never steer you wrong.

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Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” – Chapter One



In chapter one of Basketball Jones, exposition is definitely the forefront of the chapter, but there’s also a lot of demonstration of the relationship that I don’t know how to wrap my head around. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Even though I haven’t been on this earth very long I have developed my own thoughts about subjects that I think very heavily about. One of these is jealousy. While I could dictate a novel about my opinions and point of view on jealousy, I want to discuss something that’s very interesting in this chapter apart from the jealousy. It relates to the writing style.
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Guest Contributor, John Goode, Uncategorized

This Post Has Been Made Before (And Was Probably Better The First Time Around) by John Goode


I have come bearing bad news if you are a writer or want to be one. I know this will come as a shock to most people, but I am afraid there is just no getting around it. So, here I go.

There are no more… new? Untold? stories in the world.

There! I said it. We can all start praying to Neil Gaiman and offering tributes up to The Bard but I am afraid all the stories in the world have been told, and we are just fresh out of new ones. The cupboard is bare, the balance is zero. And both cupboard and balance are most definitively ex-stories
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Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads Basketball Jones: Introduction



If the 4 SD cards that I carry in a small container securely in my backpack with 67 audio books each doesn’t tell you that I am a veracious reader, I don’t know what will.

My name is Robert Kingett, and my literature dives have been into stories ranging from fictional family stories to dastardly, revealing memoirs. I’ve read tales of dragons and time travel short stories. I’ve even read a few westerns from time to time, vowing to stay away from that genre, not even letting a ten foot pole touch those kinds of books.

 There’s been one type of book that I’ve never read simply because I didn’t know that there was a market for them: gay books. I’ve never read a book that was targeted to LGBT people such as I.

Everyone who’s read a book that they have really liked can testify to the torrents of emotions and feelings for the characters and story, as well as other elements within the book. Because I’ve been reading books since before I could crawl, I’d figure that I’d share a literary journey with you: a different kind of book review that deals with the book chapter by chapter. This book review series will be called Kingett Reads.

Kingett Reads will be a book review series unlike anything anyone has ever seen. Readers will ride on a literary journey with me as I read gay books and gay literature for the first time, chronicling my thoughts and feelings as I go.

The first book in the Kingett Reads series is a book about sports. Basketball Jones by E. Lynn Harris.

Obviously this is going to be a sports fictional story, given the title. The name Jones, though, is really intriguing. I wonder if it’s the name of the main character of the book. Usually if an author has a name in the title it deals with the main character of the story. Looking at the synopsis, this becomes even more evident. I love how the synopsis just lays out all the cards onto the table right from the beginning, because it sucks me in like a wordy vacuum and it makes me want to read more.

AJ Richardson is living the good life. He has a gorgeous townhouse in always-flavorful New Orleans, plenty of frequent-flier miles from jet-setting around the country on a whim, and an MBA…but he’s never had to work a regular job. He owes it all to his longtime lover, Dray Jones. Dray Jones, the rich and famous NBA star.

This is beyond intriguing. The first thing that this bit does is make me want to read the book just so I can live in AJ’S world, even for a little bit. But I’m just wondering why AJ is just basking in all this, and not working. I mean, I’d definitely live life like this if I had the opportunity. I’d be free from the world and all of its problems. I’m wondering, though, if AJ knew what he was getting into when he first met Drey. I’m not judging AJ by any means, I just want to know if he knew that this kind of life would fall upon him if he agreed to Drey. Then again Dray could have asked him, and this is even more epic that Drey would ask him to be boyfriends because AJ must be a really epic guy to make a star notice him. If this happened, then I pine for Drey already, and I just want to hold him because there’s the part of him that wants to be a normal guy, and not held up to any sort of standard or expect to be very respected. Like it or not, that kind of fame and money has to have some responsibilities attached to it, though.

I’m very eager to see what the rest of the synopsis says.

They fell in love in college when AJ was hired to tutor Dray, a freshman on the basketball team. But Dray knew if he wanted to make it to the big time, he must juggle his public image and his private desires. Built on a deep, abiding love, their hidden relationship sustains them both, but when Dray’s teammates begin to ask insinuating questions about AJ, Dray puts their doubts to rest by marrying Judi, a beautiful and ambitious woman. Judi knows nothing about Dray’s other life. Or does she?

Wait, I don’t know much about athletes and things, but if they are public figures, then they can definitely have influence along with whatever responsibilities that they have. While it’s awesome that Dray persued his dream to the fullest, he could have influenced others to accept gay people. Then again, I can definitely understand the discrimination. Even today, straight people will look at us as a kind of disability that needs to be cured, and they believe that the kind of love we have for one another is like a tumor, instead of the opposite, and this stops people from hiring us or even taking us seriously when we’re trying to do something worthwhile like, say, rent an apartment.

There’s something that I want to know, though, and I want to know if Dray made the decision to stay in the closet on his own or did AJ tell him that? Based on either, I definitely have thoughts and opinions, but I will save those for when I find out what exactly happened throughout those tutoring sessions.

My heart has broken already, and I haven’t even opened the book yet. Oh my god, Dray marries a woman? Why? Just so that he can keep his secret? I don’t understand why this is so important to him, and now I want to read. I have so many questions and I want to find the answers to them.

Did Dray choose to be a secret in the first place?

What is it about AJ that Dray likes so much, and why did AJ like Dray? I hope it’s not because AJ knew that Dray was going to be a famous basketball star someday.

What has Dray seen to make him want to hide who he loves, even to the public? I’m guessing he seen something when he was younger that changed his life forever.

I want to know how AJ will solve this dilemma. I’m definitely ready to start reading and start finding out answers.

Who will, in fact, solve this. AJ, Drey, a friend? Who? I have to know!

I don’t know anything about AJ. I want to know what made him a good student in school and not Dray. There’s so many fabrics of these characters that I want to know about. I want to see how their love began and how it grew. I want to know more about each of them and I want to know why they think the way they do. I want to know these people.

That’s definitely a good blurb! I have many questions, and I have many wishes as well. Hopefully all of them will be answered as I read and learn what the game is with their feelings and how they came to be. I’m guessing that they both needed someone back in the day, and they were there for one another. Since the blurb didn’t tell me how long AJ and Dray were boyfriends I’m guessing quite some time, and there’s definitely a connection there somewhere that’s holding them together otherwise they wouldn’t be together. I don’t think anyone can handle long periods where your lover is gone on tour, unless you’ve fallen for him harder than an arthritic dog and something had to have happened to develop that kind of connection early on.

The blurb got me excited, pondering, wishing, eager to investigate and dive in. There’s a prologue to the book, so I’ll focus on that one next time. I’ll be Blogging about my literary journey throughout this tale of love and passion. I hope that the author doesn’t make this book out to be something different than what the blurb says. I hope that the author rings true when telling the story, and I just hope that Basketball Jones is the book that I’ll never forget as my introduction to gay literature. Stick with me as I find out, one chapter at a time.

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Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

The Internet: Or How I Met Our New Guest Contributor Robert Kingett


The internet can be a strange place. It’s a place some self-appointed experts have claimed is a danger to our ability to connect and communicate in real-life scenarios, but it’s also a place, as I’m sure many of you have discovered, where we have the opportunity to meet people we might never had connected with otherwise.

A little more than a week ago, I received an email from a young man applying—yes, applying, complete with a professional, and rather impressive, resume—for a reviewer position here at The Novel Approach. Having a full complement of staff, I’d emailed him back to let him know I wasn’t in need of another reviewer at the moment but would keep his name and address on file for future consideration. I also, in my own less than subtle way, wanted to be sure he knew that what we do here is entirely voluntary and that TNA generates exactly zero dollars in income. But like so many of us who read and share our thoughts and opinions of the books we devour, I discovered Robert Kingett only wanted nothing more than to join us for the single reason we all do what we do here—for the love of the books.

As Robert and I continued our email chats, I discovered that what he was proposing was something very different than what the rest of us do at The Novel Approach. Robert is an internet journalist who’d been writing a weekly column for a now defunct E-magazine, and he was looking for a home to continue Kingett Reads, a literary journey, if you will, that he takes with each book, exploring it chapter by chapter rather than in a single comprehensive review, exploring his thoughts and feelings about the books and their characters as the action unfolds. I was entirely intrigued by the idea, and after a couple of fits and starts, we shook virtual hands and the rest, as they say, is history.

Robert will be joining us each week to discuss the books he receives not through me and the publishers we typically feature in the M/M Romance genre but via a program that provides books for the blind. If you’d like to learn a little bit more about Robert’s life and his own personal journey, please visit his WEBSITE and you’ll understand why I’m so impressed by him, and fully embrace his enthusiasm for reading.

Kingett Reads will be debuting in just a little while, so be sure to stay tuned.

Welcome, Robert!

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Guest Contributor, John Goode

Hello? Whose Line Is It Anyways? – John Goode Knows


Okay. So write me a novel.

No, don’t look at me like that. Go think of completely new characters, complete with back stories, an entire setting, and a fully developed plotline. Stat. I still don’t know what Stat is, but I like saying it. Write me a novel! Stat!

No?

Not sure where to start? Yeah, welcome to the club. So if we can’t just jump into a full-blown novel, let’s look at some baby steps that might head us in the right direction. Baby steps, yup, that’s it!
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Guest Contributor, John Goode

Let’s Have A Little Talk With John Goode


You said what now?

So an acquaintance of mine said on Twitter that he was working on a screenplay and posted a picture of his laptop with it open. Being the nosy inquisitive person I am, I enlarged the picture to read what he had written. Now, I know nothing about the story or the scene in particular, but it was set in an art gallery and the janitor sees a man looking at a painting and asks him if he was liking it.
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