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07.10.2016

One Hundred Happy Days

Posted in Uncategorized

Hello, everyone! I’m trying to pick up this blogging thing once again, mostly because there will be future releases coming soon and well, promotion and all that. It needs to be done, whether we authors like it or not. So hi you, reading this! I’m happy I reached you!

The title of this post is One Hundred Happy Days, because today, on July 10th of 2016, I started a new #100happydays challenge. What is this, you ask? Well, I’m trying to put it as simply as I can, bear with me:

For 100 days, you take a photo each day of something that brought you happiness that day. It can be literally anything, it’s up to you, because you’re doing this for yourself, not for anyone else. When you have your photo, you post it online somewhere, like Facebook or Instagram, maybe Twitter. Whatever you might like best, more or less. I, myself, crosspost to Instagram and Facebook.

You need to tag your photo each day with #100happydays and the number of the day, i.e. #day1. This is just so anyone following (and you!) can see them easier. In case you want to do it all in private, go ahead, skip the tagging, don’t even post your photos online, just take one and do whatever works for you, like put them in a folder in your phone or your computer to track your project.

I did this two years ago and I found that it brought me a better understanding of what kind of happiness there was in my life. I don’t consider myself a happy person, with constant depression it’s tricky to anyway, but even a pretty flower spotted somewhere, a pet acting goofy, seeing a movie or something other everyday thing would make it to my list and I’d feel better. Finding happiness in the ordinary is amazing. Being consciously looking for it, or realizing when it’s right in front of you makes a difference. Trust me on this.

The picture on this post is my #day1. It’s a random photo I took today from my parents’ yard that is oh so green this time of year. Happiness in small things, for sure.

That said, I have a new novel coming out within a month! There’s a cover reveal and a giveaway going on at Love Bytes, so please do check that out and maybe win a book! 

05.11.2016

#TBT - Positive - Sale!

Posted in Uncategorized

 

I love all my own books. They’re my babies.

But when one of your babies gets bullied on the playground, what do you do?

That’s what I feel happened with Positive. It’s a book that hasn’t sold many copies, and I know why it is, but it still hurts like hell. Why? Because I love that book, I do.

Readers tend to misunderstand the book and the motives of the main characters, but the main thing is this: people don’t want their M/M romance with HIV mixed in. There’s prejudice there, and every author who has written a book where one of the main characters is HIV positive knows this.

It’s kind of sad, really. It shows more about this world we live in, how people still think HIV is the plague in some ways. I don’t write books without the Happily Ever Afters romance readers prefer. If someone thinks HIV makes the book not-HEA or “just” Happy For Now, then that’s their problem, I guess. For me, it’s part of the journey for these characters.

It still makes me sad to see people not picking this book up. It’s an interesting story, I think. I still love it and the main characters. It’s an established relationship book, and yes, there are people that have liked it, such as these reviewers:

The Novel Approach gave Positive 4/5 stars, saying “Tia Fielding put together a wonderful story full of mystery, romance and some downright smexy moments!”

Jay at World of Diversity Fiction Reviews gave it 4/5 stars, with the comment “Tia Fielding has written an engaging story about Love, the choices we make along with the ramifications, and the feeling of being wronged in some way… I would recommend this book. It is not your typical love story, but the elements are there and these guys are an adorable couple who deal with the challenges of their lives quite well.”

So in case you missed this story, there’s a chance to get it with the 35% discount that’s still going on at Dreamspinner Press’s birthday bash. Give it a chance and make my month?

Even if you don’t like it in the end (and trust me, I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea!), I’ll still be appreciative as heck to see my baby getting some interest. Also, reviews are love, even the less good ones! ;)

Year4-5_FBpost

 

 

05.08.2016

Dreamspinner Press Birthd…

Posted in Uncategorized

So my lovely publisher, Dreamspinner Press, is celebrating nine years this year. This means, that because I’m a year five author, all my titles are 35% off during the week of May 8-14.

Here’s the link to my page at their author arcade, or you can just go to their site and search for my name for the simple listing of my titles in alphabetical order!

DreamspinnerPress_ProudToBePartoftheFamily_1_Large

 

03.28.2016

It's Alive!

Posted in Uncategorized

Hello people!

So yes, I’m alive and kicking, still! Surprise, right? At least if you don’t follow me in social media, that is. If you just read this blog it would totally seem like I’ve quit on everything two years ago.

That might actually be sort of the truth, if I really think about it.

It wasn’t really that I quit writing on purpose. It’s just that my depression swept over me like the effing tsunami it can be, and I gradually realized I wasn’t writing anymore.

There have been several tries to write blog posts that had never got uploaded or even finished, thoughts on hosting a giveaway here and there (I think I did one some time ago, but that was on my Facebook.)

I’ve failed the whole “marketing myself” bit, and right now if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you mostly see puppy pictures, because I’m getting a new puppy in two weeks, yay! (FAIL. Promo wise. I know. Otherwise, quite cute.)

So what have I been up to lately? Or like, in the last two years when I’ve not posted here… Oops.

Well, there’s this short story I wrote last summer for Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose. It’s called Up to Boil, and it’s a May/December blue collar kind of thing. That’s literally the only thing I’ve had out there since Solitude. It did felt good to have something released out in the wild (from the constraints of my head, haha), though. So yay for that!

Right now I’m in the middle of trying to make a deadline for their States of Love submission call. The deadline is in a few days and I’m pretty sure I’ll make it. My state is Colorado, by the way, and it’s a story with a weird kind of structure, but more about that when it actually has a release date.

The really good news, though? I’ve signed a contract for a novel that’ll be out sometime in August/September. It’s a story about a “horse whisperer” who takes one last job to heal a horse, and ends up healing the rider, too. And maybe, possibly, they heal him a bit right back…? The theme of this story is largely about family, as my stories tend to, but another theme is depression. I hope I’m doing it justice, because it would suck to not be able to with the extensive “research” on the matter I’ve done most of my adult life. *insert wry laughter here*

So that’s about it, folks. Oh, and if you want a free copy of Up to Boil, message me on Facebook and I’ll see what I can do (for the first three people, at least. ;) )

10.01.2014

Anna Takes Over - Ponderi…

Posted in Uncategorized

I love how everything to do with Solitude sounds very dramatic. Even the title of this post.

It’s been a few weeks now since Solitude was released and I’ve had chance to sit back, look at what people have been saying about it, and generally just reflect on what is a very non-standard romance novel.

I think when we were writing it, Tia and I knew that we’d possibly ruffle some feathers with this book. Liam and Gael are potentially controversial characters with unusual jobs and fairly progressive attitudes. We didn’t hold back with the plot and threw everything at those boys.

The main problems people seem to have are around the HIV storyline and Liam’s hooking, which is pretty much exactly what I expected! I wanted to address these points, if I may.

I don’t think either of the boys’ attitude towards HIV infection is blasé. Liam is very aware of the implications of a positive test result – it would impact his life, his career, his main source of income. It was this fear, for his livelihood, that provoked Liam into running away from LA and his life there. So he knows the risks.

There’s a scene in the book where the boys engage in ‘docking’ – a sexual practice where an uncircumcised man slides his foreskin over the head of a circumcised man’s cock. There’s a brief discussion around this as to whether Gael is at any risk of HIV infection from this activity, since Liam’s status is technically unknown at this time, and they decide to do it anyway.

I did a lot of research into HIV for this novel, including whether there was any chance Gael could contract the disease from this. (This article has more, if you’re interested http://www.thebody.com/h/docking-risk-of-getting-HIV.html) The views of the professionals are, the risks are negligible. Even if Liam were positive (and he isn’t) there’s absolutely no recorded evidence of someone contracting HIV this way. Now, I know for some readers, the fact that there’s any risk at all means they shouldn’t do it.

But I can’t help but think that the boys put themselves at far greater risk by their day jobs than by this one act.

Which leads me neatly on to Liam hooking.

One of the main things that changes for Liam over the course of the novel is he realizes that sex and making love are two different things. Though he has had a lot of sex in his life – a LOT – he’s never been with a partner and made love. Gael changes that for him.

By the end of the novel Liam knows he can fuck and be fucked by other guys, and still go home to his partner and make love. The physical act might be the same, but the intention behind it is completely different. Sex isn’t just sex any more.

I’m proud that I can say I was part of a novel that opens up these kinds of discussions. HIV isn’t a death sentence for people in the western world today, and we need to start breaking down some of the stigma around people who are positive, who can and do live full and happy lives regardless of their status. Of course porn studios and prostitutes need to ensure sex workers are protected against the risk of infection – it’s still a serious disease – but the only way we can start to address the issue of HIV is to talk about it.

If I could go back and change anything about the novel, would I? No. Not at all. I know there are things people don’t like about it and I’m okay with that. But Solitude has a message, and watering it down for the sake of popularity just isn’t the Anna Martin way. ;)

09.27.2014

Thoughts on Gender Identi…

Posted in Uncategorized

As a kid, I was tomboyish. My best friends were my girl cousin who I saw mostly on holidays and some school friends, most of who were boys. It was roaming in the forests and riding bikes with the boys I enjoyed the most in addition of playing with my cousin (My Little Ponies, Barbies, all sort of toy horses we could get our hands on….)

I had crushes on boys and my first real teenage crushes were all male, up until I was sixteen. That’s when I realized I was into women as well. From then on, I started to understand I’d had crushes on females all along, and by the time I was eighteen, I met my first partner and then proudly proclaimed myself a lesbian for nearly a decade.

Now, if I still identified as a lesbian, I could say I’m a Gold Star. I’ve never even kissed a male, and when it comes to the average heterosexual male, I’m not sure if I want to. For several reasons. I do, however, get turned on by the idea of men, and I’ve realized I basically just look at people as… people.

I’m very much in the never say never boat these days, and I try not to limit myself in any way, and I don’t care about labels. If prompted, I’d say that right now I identify as genderqueer and pansexual. Why? Because I don’t feel like I’m a woman, but I don’t want to be a man either. Biologically I’m a female, and I don’t have any sort of dysphoria, but I don’t feel like a woman. That’s not who I am.

It goes beyond being a tomboyish adult woman. I don’t pay attention to things that I do and how manly/feminine they might seem. I can bake and change the car tires when they need changing. I hate clothes shopping, own many cats, love computer games and watch gay porn. Those things make me… me. They have nothing to do with what’s in my underwear or—when it comes to gender—my head.

Lately there have been several M/M authors who have come out as transgender. An old roleplaying friend also subtly came out with not fitting into the gender stereotype. The first person I was ever in love with is transgender. The second person I was ever in love with is married to a transgender person. Non-binary people are everywhere and I LOVE that the world is changing to include “my people” a little bit more.

Because I think a lot, there are thoughts in my head about gender issues as well, go figure. Like I think part—however large or small it may be—of young girls leaning towards masculinity and coming out as female to male transgender has to do with the expectations modern society sets on the fragile shoulders of young people, especially those born into a female body. Whether it’s the case of more knowledge and awareness or something else, I don’t know, but suddenly there are options to reinvent yourself in a new way, and I believe some people make those decisions a little bit too hastily. That’s why I’m glad the medical experts on this field are getting more and more knowledgeable, after all they’re there for a reason.

I’m not in any way saying being trans is fake or that anyone I know or might read this is going through a phase. I’m merely pointing out the society we live in putting pressure on traditional gender roles and the unfair expectations that come with the words “It’s a girl!/It’s a boy!” might be affecting the way we think of ourselves when it comes to our gender, too.

Another thing I’ve noticed lately as well is the way some women treat GLBTQ people/couples as their favorite pets online. The kind of “lookit how cute they are!” posts I’ve seen on Facebook and other websites recently make me a bit nauseous. We queers are not there to be your GBFs or your fun curiosities that you use to show others how open minded you are. It’s just the same as if you called a straight couple cute because one or both of them are of different race than you are. The line between admiration and being plain creepy is slimmer than you think.

I think I’ve ranted enough, now. So this is me signing my queer arse out for now. Rant to you later!

08.09.2014

Unknown Waters

Posted in Releases

If you’ve followed my writing for a while, you know I write pretty much “everything”. I think all my stories can be described as contemporary, but the sub-genres and themes wary a lot. There’s BDSM, there’s vampires, cowboys, mystery/thriller, HIV, alcoholism, porn stars, shifters, and now, with the release of my little short story in the Bedtime Stories anthology on the way, a ghost story as well.

Lately, after getting back to writing, I’ve tried a few new things. I’ve written a little bit of a futuristic kind of story, some YA futuristic semi-dystopian, and finally, some M/M fantasy. These are all new genres to me. I’ve always been super intimidated by creating worlds. Mainly because I used to read a lot of fantasy growing up and those were always so… epic.

So I guess my thought process was “I can’t do that” and maybe I still can’t, who knows. But I’m trying. Right now the story I’m mainly trying to work on is a fantasy about a healer who has chosen a solitary life and uses both natural remedies and some magic in his trade. He literally gets hit by someone, a small someone. Who might be cursed as punishment for something he did while bored, young, and foolish….

It’s a fun story so far and I enjoy writing it, even if I’m breaking all the rules with it. I mean I haven’t written a cohesive world building thing for it, and I’m adding things as I go. I don’t stop to think if my world SHOULD have this thing or that, I’m just adding it and going “it’s my world, dammit!” I think that’s what makes it so much fun. With fantasy you don’t have to think of the realities too much, even though as a mainly contemporary writer I tend to still try to hold onto a certain amount of realism….

I don’t know if and when any of the stories I’ve mentioned here might be finished, let alone published. But I do know that Bedtime Stories is out soon and you might want to check it out as a whole. It really has “something for everyone” and the stories are all lovely. You might just find new authors to add to your TBR pile, who knows!

My story, Flickers, is about Ben who realizes he’s haunted by a gay ghost (well it keeps staring at his butt when he sleeps in the nude, duh!) and has to figure out how to communicate with it to get rid of it or at least to make it happy. That leads him to a gay artist and possibly, love.

 

08.02.2014

What's Up?

Posted in Releases

That’s the question. Well, first of all, as many of you who might read this know, I suffer from depression that is always there. Depending on a number of things, sometimes extremely random ones, I can do pretty well for a time, then pretty damn unwell the next instant.

None of this is new to me. I’ve suffered from anything from “mild” to “not-quite-suicidal” depression for most of my adult life. That’s more than a decade now. There was a time, around 2006-2010 when I felt much better and at times considered myself depression free. I’m not sure if I was, if I’m completely honest, but I was better. That’s the keyword here. With how my mental health is, “better” is a thing to aspire to be. “Healed” or “depression free”… No, I don’t much believe in those.

All that said, the last year has been pretty rough on me. The last six months even more so. There have been times when I’ve been seriously scared of my condition and how it has ups and downs and random spin-arounds. But hey, I’m still here!

For me personally—and I assume this might go for lot of writers/creative people with depression—my mental health is very connected to my creative outlet. Writing, for me, is always the thing that makes me feel better. Worthy. Even good. But when I’m depressed, the joy of writing is sucked out and my creativity dwindles, and I feel more depressed because I’m not writing, and then I can’t write because I feel like crap…. Endless cycle. Endless.

This summer I had my medication adjusted. New things and old things are being tried out, to see if something would help. To add to my condition, I have (somewhat mild) ADHD. And issues with falling asleep. Both of those mean additional medication. For me, no depression medication has ever really helped long term. None. And I have tried probably over a dozen different ones over the years. This time we went back to basics and back to serotonin which is pretty much as basic as you can get. It’s never worked before.

This time, it seems to be working. A little. How do I know this? I have ideas. I’m writing a little bit. I feel creative bursts that were missing for months and months. I have stories fading in and out of my mind like I had last year when things were better.

So I’m writing. It might take time, but dear deity I’m writing. When my favorite season, autumn, arrives soon, I expect to feel much better anyway. I’m one of those weird people who get worse in springtime and better in the fall, instead the more usual other way around. Light, for me, is worse than darkness.

All that said, the Fifty Questions with Tia thing is on hold until I find a personal assistant who works for free books and virtual hugs and cookies OR when I feel “better enough” to do it more regularly again. It seems silly to post those sporadically when it’s a series.

For a lot of this year I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have anything but Mirage out. All year. But then I wrote Solitude with Anna Martin, and I wrote a little short story for an anthology over at Wilde City, and so there are two things that are out soon. There’s also the little freebie I wrote for the M/M Romance group’s event on Goodreads. There are stories out, just not so many. I’m trying to tell myself I haven’t failed and that I won’t. That I might just be getting better again. But we’ll see. Time will tell.

You can find Solitude here and the Bedtime Stories anthology here. I hope you enjoy them both.

06.15.2014

50 Questions with Tia - A…

Posted in Fifty Questions

The latest victim of my 50 Questions is Anne Barwell. Her latest Dreamspinner release is Shades of Sepia, which is why I’m putting the cover here, in case you were wondering, people. ;)

 ***

8. Do you have a writer’s cat or a dog or some other animal (spouses count if you want them to)?

I have two cats. Kaylee is a small persian tortie (I think they’re called calico in the US), and is 9 years old. Frappy (short for Frappichino) is a short haired ginger tabby and is 7 years old. They’re both females and still trying to work out the top cat spot since my grey tabby died a couple of years ago.  They’re also both possessive of my lap and my attention and there is literally fur flying over it at times.  They have very different personalities. Frappy is quiet but pushy and tends to camp in front of the fridge and pantry. Kaylee comes across as timid in company, but is a very loud cat, and I’ve had stories from the neighbours of her exploits terrorizing their dogs. I often find large dog bones on my back door step.  Frappy has a weakness for baking, especially muffins and has been known to steal the empty paper cases to lick the crumbs off them.

They enjoy company and often I have at least one cat asleep on the chair next to me as I write, or in a cardboard box under the table.  If I’m not paying enough her enough attention Frappy will push her way onto my lap and crawl up me, making it difficult to type until she’d got the attention she wants!

I’ve always had cats as my dad was a big cat lover too, and I blame them for the number of cats in my Hidden Places series, and the mention of them in my other books too.

31. Do you still write letters by hand, or send post cards outside vacations/birthdays/etc? 

I must admit I’ve got a lot slacker with Christmas and birthday cards of late – some of which is down to time, the other to the price of postage.  These days I tend to send a text or an email.  Although the odd time I go away I send postcards back to family and friends.  I do still write letters by hand. I have a friend in Canada whom I swap letters with. We met in fandom and started writing letters then, with a bit of slackness over the past couple of years, but this year we’ve got back into it again. I really enjoy it, but it’s much harder now to find nice stationery that isn’t over priced.  I also love getting her letters in my letter box.

36. Writing summaries and blurbs, love it or hate it?

I don’t mind the summaries so much but I hate writing blurbs.  I did hit on an idea a couple of books ago which works really well though. As part of my writing process when I start writing a new story I also write the blurb and put it up on my web site. It’s one less thing to worry about at submission time, and also when people ask what I’m working on I can share the blurb.  I outline extensively before I write so I know what’s going to happen (apart from the stuff the characters spring on me as I write) so writing it first works really well for me.

42. Do you have a personal theme song? If not, when what’s the song that makes you dance in your seat every time you hear it randomly (on the radio, on TV etc.)? 

I don’t have a personal theme song, but my books/characters do. I’m one of those writers who tends to have soundtracks for my stories and different pieces of music remind me of different stories/characters/couples.  As for the song that makes me pay attention each time it’s on – that tends to change and isn’t the same as it would have been even a month ago. At present it’s Ed Sheeran’s ‘I See Fire’ which is the theme song for the 2nd Hobbit movie.

48. If you could wake up tomorrow with any real-life skill that would normally take years to master (for example; astrophysics, ballet, fine art, professional football player, chef) what would you pick and why? 

I’d love to be able to draw. My grandfather was an artist and I’m in awe of people who can transfer what they see in front of them, or in their mind’s eye, to paper.  Often I see scenes/characters in my head that I’m writing and I’d love to be able to draw them and share them with others that way too.

Anne’s Bonus Question: Interestingly I had a few ‘interview’ questions posed to me by one of my betas about the time I got your questions so using one of those for this one. Thanks, Reesha!  Her question was ‘what’s your obsession with research?’

To put it in context, I had just finished working on a novel set in WW2 and am now working on a novella partially set in WW1, so I’m on more of a research bent than usual.  Why do I research? Because I want what I’m writing to be an accurate as I can get it. I’ve found as a reader I’ll get thrown out of a story if something isn’t right. While it’s not always possible to find out all the details—phone jacks in Germany in 1943 drove me nuts—I want to at least know I’ve researched to the best of my ability.

 ***

 Anne on the internet:

http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_426

 

06.10.2014

50 Questions with Tia - J…

Posted in Fifty Questions

It’s time for another 50 Questions post. This time we have Jay Northcote answering my silly questions. She has a story out in Dreamspinner’s Not Quite Shakespeare anthology, so go check that one out! :)

***

11. Do you watch TV? If yes, what’s your favorite show? If not, why?

I don’t watch a lot of TV these days, mainly because it’s such a time suck and I prefer to spend my spare time doing other things (like reading and writing). I do watch Teenwolf though, because I’m in the fandom and I’m hooked on it. Another bonus is that my hubs and kids like it too, so it’s fun to sit down together and snuggle under the sofa blankets. I also love The Big Bang Theory because it makes me laugh, and laughing is always good J

20. Are you a caffeine addict?

I’d say yes, even though by most people’s standards I don’t think I drink that much of it—maybe three mugs of tea a day (I rarely drink coffee at all). But I definitely get withdrawal symptoms if I have a day without it. When I go on holiday and am out of my normal routine I get terrible headaches if I miss my midday/early afternoon fix. I have actually had to resort to keeping caffeine tablets on me, just in case, otherwise I feel really grim by mid afternoon.

22. What’s a scent you like? How about something smelly you hate?

I’m a very scent oriented person, in that I notice smells and find them very evocative. I love natural scents—flowers, plants, herbs etc. Rosemary and lavender are particular favourites of mine. This might sound weird, but I also love the smell of people, the ones in my ‘pack’ anyway. I always joke that it was love at first smell with my husband because he smells amazing to me. Same with my kids—not so much now they’re bigger maybe, but when they were babies I used to sniff their warm little heads like a drug.

Conversely I loathe artificial scents. If I wear perfume I find it overpowering and it can sometimes make me feel quite sick. I also hate things like air fresheners and really strong deodorant smells.

35. Have you been good at some sports at some point in your life?

I’ve never been much good at team sports. At school I found them frustrating and hated the aspect of competing against other people. But I am an active person most of the time and enjoy sports/activities that can be done solo. I’m pretty good at swimming and running and I used to do quite a bit of rock climbing too.

43. Who is your celebrity crush? Would it change if you knew you could get that person?

God, I have loads of celebrity crushes. It’s very hard to pick just one. But given that I’ve already mentioned Teenwolf I’ll pick Tyler Hoechlin today because damn, he is an extraordinarily beautiful specimen of manhood and he seems like a nice guy too, from what I’ve seen.

I’m not sure it would make a difference if I knew I could get him. The idea of actually getting a celebrity crush is kind of weird really. The whole point of celebrity crushes is that it’s all about letting your imagination go a little wild. I’m not sure I’d ever want to hook up with any of my crushes in real life. Even if I wasn’t married—and way too old for most of them (sob)—I think it would be awkward and probably a disappointment in reality, because they’d never live up to the fantasy.

 

Jay’s Bonus Question: When you were a kid what did you want to do/be when you grew up?

I don’t remember ever having any sensible/conventional career goals as a kid. I dreamed of crazy, impractical things like being an acrobat or a bareback rider in a circus. In my teens I had a secret desire to be an actress—not in the movies, I wanted to be in the Royal Shakespeare Company and play all Shakespeare’s heroines. But when I mentioned it to my parents they weren’t very supportive. My dad told me that 99% of actors were out of work and had to work as waitresses instead, and that I should probably come up with a better plan if I wanted to be able to support myself. What a buzz kill. He’d probably have said the same if I’d wanted to be an author ;)

 ***

Author Bio
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her amazing, occasionally ridiculous husband, two noisy-but-awesome children, and two cats.

She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

Links

Website: www.jaynorthcote.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jay_northcote

Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/dellamere

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotefiction

Jay’s books: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_953

 

 

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