Michigan Seasons, Update

By the skin of my teeth and by the grace of a few people with skill and dedication I couldn’t do without, More Than Christmas, the first in the Michigan Seasons Series, is live!

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Initially, I had intended to write a seasonal standalone set in the Metro Detroit area of Michigan, told from an outsider’s point of view. But once I got Nick and Dale together a couple of things happened to derail my plans. Firstly, I found that I liked them too much to rush their Happy Ever After. (They will get one, that much I promise, only it’s going to take a few more installments.) And secondly, Dale really wanted to have his say. I would have preferred it if I hadn’t already written half of the second book from Nick’s point of view before I realised this, but there you have it.

The second book, After The Snow, will follow closely on from the first and takes Nick and Dale from January to March. It’s written from Dale’s point of view and will feature more of his backstory. Additionally, Dale will find himself in a situation that will challenge both his relationship with Nick, and his life in Ferndale.

After The Snow will be released in March 2017, but there will be updates and snippets before then.

Peace and Love, Lane Swift

Cover reveal, upcoming release

Arriving in time for Christmas (and boy was it a close-run thing), More Than Christmas, the first in my upcoming series, Michigan Seasons.

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Blurb:

 

Keeping life simple can be a complicated business.

On a two-year assignment to America, young British auto executive Nick Harris is interested in only one thing—boosting his career—until he meets his hunk of a next-door neighbour, and landlord, Dale Hepburn.

The problem is that Dale’s interest in Nick seems to be more changeable than the Michigan weather. One day they’re training in Dale’s garage gym and he’s giving Nick smouldering looks from under the barbell. The next, Nick’s attempts to turn up the heat on their friendship get the cold shoulder.

Dale finally claims he’s holding out for love that will last, and Nick’s stay in America is only temporary. But a neighbour’s accidental remark suggests otherwise. Humiliated and hurt, Nick confronts Dale—with disastrous consequences. Now, with painful truths revealed, and hearts bruised, Nick must find a way to convince Dale they can be more than Christmas.

Follow a Brit’s romantic journey, through his first Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in Michigan, including a costume party, a blizzard, and a family crisis, to a heart-warming HFN.

~ 39000 words

 

Bargains And Giveaways

Tomorrow (8th April) my novella, The Playmaker is released with Less Than Three Press. Order directly from the publisher here. Otherwise, it’s available at all the usual e-book retailers (Amazon, Smashwords, All Romance, Kobo).

Or you can take your chances on a giveaway. Less Than Three Press have one running until 20th April on Goodreads. Comment to be entered in the draw.

Plus, I have some swag of my own to give away. Comment to enter the draw. Winners will be picked by random.org.

Wednesday, I’ll be giving away a signed (by me) copy of the Dreamspinner Press Random Acts of Kindness Anthology (UK participants only, I’m afraid). Draw takes place on 15th April at 9pm BST (UTC+1).

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Thursday, I’ll be giving away a copy of The Playmaker. Draw takes place on 16th April at 9pm BST (UTC+1).

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Friday, I’ll be giving away a $10 e-voucher to spend on the Less Than Three Press website. Draw takes place on 17th April at 9pm BST (UTC+1).

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Let me know what you want to be entered for in your comment e.g, Wed, Thur, Fri. or RANDOM, PLAY, GIFT, or All! I want it all! Or anything that floats your boat. 😉 Entering one draw does not exclude you from being entered for the others.

If you’re picked, I’ll need a postal address for Wednesday, and email addresses for Thursday and Friday, which you can send to me at mrslaneswift@gmail.com. (Obviously, I will never share your details with anyone.)

Upcoming release: The Playmaker

It seems appropriate, as the Six Nations tournament ended this weekend, to announce the upcoming release of my novella, The Playmaker. Out on 8th April and available direct from Less Than Three Press or all major ebook sellers (see below for links).

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Ask Meg, and she’ll say she’s content. A promising career, a steady boyfriend—her future is secure. Just like her position on Brentley Women’s Rugby Team.

Her fascination with Jacqueline, the team’s wild and beautiful flanker—that’s nothing more than infatuation. When Jacqueline unexpectedly corners her and kisses her breathless, Meg is blindsided.

Forced to admit her secure future isn’t nearly as appealing as it had seemed, Meg realises she has two options: keep playing it safe or change the game.

Less Than Three Press / All Romance Ebooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Kobo

Not so much a review of 2014 as a bit of navel-gazing…

This time last year, I started writing a short story… that turned into a novella. It’s about a woman in an established relationship with a man, who falls in love with another woman. Nothing original in that, but something I thought a lot of people could relate to. It was something I could relate to; a story I knew I could tell.

My lofty goal was to finish the story, and to write a syopsis and a blurb. I had no idea what to do with it after that.

I’ve been reading gay romance for some time (much published by presses who only publish m/m romance). But there’s so little novella-length lesbian romance around, I wasn’t sure it had a market anywhere. Then a friend told me about Less Than Three Press. They publish every permutation of LGBTQ romance, with a 10k minimum word count. In April of this year, I submitted. In May I had a contract!

But before I talk about my year after April, I want to rewind a few months. I started 2014 with aspirations of novel writing, of putting myself out there and doing all the things authors have to do these days that aren’t writing. Scary things like networking, having a public interface, blogging etc.

I think it’s safe to say I didn’t do very well on that score, and in truth I shouldn’t have and it doesn’t matter. Not yet. Because I did a lot of other stuff that was much more valuable and pertinent for me, and where I am right now.

For a start, I did a lot of reading: good books, mediocre ones and some that were plain dreadful. Sometimes I read like a reader, and just enjoyed the experience. Other times, I read like a writer, picking out sentences I liked, making note of what made characters interesting (or not), analysing story structure and plots (or lack thereof). I read books on writing, magazines on writing, blog posts and online articles. I went to conferences, workshops and a writers’ group. I beta read for other writers. I used all that to look at my own writing with a critical eye.

In short, I did a lot of work and learned a lot. I think I learned more in 2014 than I have in any year since I left full-time education (barring perhaps the first year of motherhood).

Foolishly, I thought once I’d written a novella, a novel would only be a little bit harder. (Laugh all you like. I deserve it.) I started in May on the high of my new novella contract. I stalled in July (school hols, general burn out and lack of confidence) but got back in the saddle in September, and finally finished in December. By which time I realised this 70k novel, which had taken seven months to write, wouldn’t be complete without a sequel. That is currently at 20k (though roughly written to completion) and is stuck there until January when the holiday chaos ends.

So, the blog pages, Facebook posts and Tweets might look sparse; like there was nothing much going on in this neck of the woods. But I worked out that if I added together all the hours I’ve spent doing writerly things, I’ve been working full-time plus overtime on being a writer almost every week of 2014. Plus being a parent and ‘homemaker’.

Of course, I want to have my work published. But one of the things I learned in 2014 is that I underestimated how long it would take me to write something ‘tight’. Time and again this year, I read stories that were meandering, or bogged down with exposition, or full of unrealistic or superfluous dialogue. Many were badly edited or just plain boring. I don’t want to write stories like that.

I’m sure my own writing has improved, and a couple of publishing contracts are great acknowledgement that it has, but the questions still hang over me: Has my writing improved enough? Is is good enough to ask people to part with cash to read it?

In 2015, I’ll still be working my socks off but I’ll definitely be more patient than I was in 2014. Except when it comes to the dawdlers at traffic lights. They can still expect the full blast of my horn. 🙂