Eli Easton Author of m/m romance books and stories
Browsing all posts in: Talking About Writing

“My Fiction Nook” – guest post & giveaway!

June 11

Come visit “My Fiction Nook” today where I’m being featured as author of the month. Today’s post includes a look at a few of my books, a list of things you didn’t know about me and a giveaway of the “How to Howl at the Moon” audiobook!

http://www.myfictionnook.com/2015/06/author-of-month-eli-easton-week-two.html

Eli

M/M Romance Group 2014 Book Awards

January 11

The M/M Romance group on Goodreads is a fun and large group (the 3rd largest group on goodreads I think), and if you like m/m romance, you should definitely check it out.

They just had their annual awards to determine the group’s reader’s favorites for 2014.  Two of my books won in several categories.  Given all the books that I personally read and loved that were nominated this year, and all the very talented authors, I feel super honored.

YOU CAN SEE ALL THE WINNERS HERE.

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The Mating of Michael

Best Sex Industry — #1

Best Medical/Rescue Works Prof — #2  (#1 – The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes, #3 – Collide by Riley Hart)

Best Hurt/Comfort — #1 (#2 – Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane, #3 – While All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry)

 

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Blame it on the Mistletoe

Best Gay/Out for You — #3  (#1 – Try by Ella James, #2 – The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes)

Best Coming of Age — #3  (#1 – The Art of Breathing by TJ Klune, #2 – The Family We Make by Kaje Harper)

Best Friends to Lovers — #3   (#1 – All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes, #2 – Collide by Riley Hart)

Best Humorous — #2   (#1 – #3 – Loving Jay by Renae Kaye, #1 The Art of Breathing by TJ Klune)

 

Thank you so much to those who voted!

Eli

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Eli Easton 2014 to 2015

December 14

 

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I published my first Eli Easton m/m romance in April 2013, so 2014 was a “year two” for me. That’s the year when newbie enthusiasm faces the realities of the market and the daily work flow, and you either flunk out entirely, settle into a dabblers casual ‘tude, or decide you’re in it for the serious long haul.

As of Dec 2014 I can say that it’s option c—my butt is firmly planted on this piece o’ earth.

In 2014 I published 5 m/m romance books, making 13 total. I had less publications in 2014 than in 2013, but I released my first full-length novel (“The Mating of Michael”).

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Many readers of m/m romance also write it, so you will know what I’m talking about when I say there are things an author must consider when deciding whether or not to invest more time in a genre. First: Am I objectively any good at writing it?  Second: Do I really like the genre enough to dedicate a large chunk of my time to building a career in it? Third: Can I continue to come up with fresh ideas and fresh work in this area story after story?

The answer to those questions for me is ‘yes’. I still feel I have something to offer the genre, I still really enjoy writing it, and I’ve gotten some lovely encouragement which makes me feel like my efforts are not in vain.

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The m/m romance genre is an interesting beast. If being a ‘romance author’ is not taken very seriously by the general population and/or literary world, writing m/m romance is regarded with even more confusion/embarrassment/disdain. It seems to be the equivalent of saying ‘I write porn’. Now, I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing porn, but that’s not the way I consider my Eli Easton books.

Granted, I am probably in tune with point-oh-one percent of the population in this, but I really don’t see a lot of difference in regular (m/f) romance and gay (m/m) romance. At the heart, a romance is a romance.  Love is a mystery. Why do two people fit together? And how do they figure it out? To me, a romance is about two people discovering their perfect partner—from first meeting, to getting to know one another, to overcoming obstacles, to realizing they want to be together for life. It’s about the dynamics of their personalities and daily lives and how they fit together. It’s about realizing that love is more important than anything else. It’s family and psychology, personal flaws and strengths. It’s chemistry and heat.  In the end, very few things in life impact us the way our choice of life partner does. So what could be a more important subject to write about?

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How I landed in the m/m genre is a bit of luck and a bit of good casting. My first exposure to m/m was Anne Rice’s “Cry to Heaven”, which I read in high school and found compellingly unusual and sensual. Later on, there was fan fiction (johnlock and sterek mostly). As a writer, I’ve always been more comfortable with male characters. Never a girly girl, I am sometimes irritated by romance heroines. Bottom line: I find men more interesting creatures and far sexier. So being able to write two male leads works for me on many levels. I also find the social and personal dynamics of being gay interesting. Let’s face it, unless you want to write regency romance, there’s not a lot left in our modern society to keep men and women from doing whatever they damn well please. There are more hoops to jump through, and thus more opportunity for denial, obstacle, and conflict, in a gay relationship. I also like the idea of contributing, however obliquely, to normalizing gay relationships. I am absolutely in favor of gay rights.

As for stigma or literary snobbery, I am old enough to have given up on expecting to rule the world—or the NY Times bestseller list. The fact is, whatever people think of romance, more people read it, and buy it, than any other genre of book. People read it because they enjoy it—it’s an escape, a comfort, entertainment, and a solace. It’s fantasy and an outlet for the love and desire that is often lacking in our ‘real lives’. I am honored to provide that for readers.

On to the old and new!

2014: Looking Back

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Publications:

“Stitch” (gothika anthology, my story “Reparation”), Apr 2014
“The Mating of Michael” (Sex in Seattle #3), Jun 2014
“Heaven Can’t Wait” (in Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose), Jul 2014
“Bones” (gothika anthology, my story “The Bird”), Oct 2014
“Unwrapping Hank” (Christmas novella), Nov 2014

Cons Attended:

Dreamspinner’s author con

Milestones:

“Blame it on the Mistletoe” gets over 2000 rankings on Goodreads

“Unwrapping Hank” hits #1 on Amazon’s gay romance list (briefly, but it was there!)

“The Mating of Michael” wins #1 place in the William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance category, 2014 Rainbow Awards and #2 place in “Best Gay Book” overall.

3 audio books published in 2014: “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “A Prairie Dog’s Love Song”, and “Superhero”.

‘Came out’ as Eli Easton under my writing/game design nom de plume of Jane Jensen

 

2015: Looking Ahead

I plan to spend more time writing in 2015 since I’ve recently finished a huge work project.

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Publications Anticipated:

“The Lion and the Crow” (expanded edition), Dreamspinner, Jan 2015
“How to Howl at the Moon” (new paranormal dog shifter series), Love Lane Books, Feb 2015
“Claw” (gothika anthology, my story “The Black Dog”), Apr 2015
A novel for Dreamspinner (TBD– probably Sex in Seattle #4 or Prairie Dog #2), Aug 2015
“gothika #4” (anthology), Oct 2015
Christmas novella 2015 (Micah Springfield’s story), Nov 2015
“Kingdom Come” (murder mystery set in Amish country from Berkeley’s Prime Crime line),- sometime in 2015

Writing in 2015: Kingdom Come #2, Howl at the Moon #2

Cons Attending:

Dreamspinner’s author con
Rainbow Con
Romantic Times

Goals:

* continue to build name recognition and reader base

* do a better job updating my blog!

* would be lovely to have a #1 on amazon for longer than one day!

😉

 

That’s it for this year’s round-up. Please let me know your suggestions and if there’s anything you are dying for me to write in 2015!

 

Eli

Out

October 22

 

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Jane Jensen aka Eli Easton

 

Since I started publishing m/m romance in April 2013, my “Eli Easton” has been a name without a face and without a background.  At times I wanted to be able to talk about the other parts of my life on my blog or twitter or with my goodreads friends. But I kept Eli separate from my ‘real life’ identity, as many m/m romance authors do.

In my case, it wasn’t about my family, employer, or community disapproving. It was simply that I had another professional persona with its own audience and projects in the works. I didn’t want assumptions made about my other work, or for it to be colored by m/m romance glasses, or, indeed, for that brand to get garbled or dissed for reasons not associated with the work itself.

But recently I decided to just be open about it all so I could talk about anything anywhere.

Past

In real life, I have been a long-time computer game designer writing under the name of Jane Jensen.  I got my big break in game design in 1989 when I was hired by Sierra Online, a popular maker of adventure games like King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry.  With Sierra I got the chance to create my own game series, a paranormal mystery series called Gabriel Knight.  There were 3 GK games, 2 novelizations, and a host of other work done under Jane Jensen, including two original novels.

Millennium Rising aka Judgement Day came out in 1999 from Del Rey and Dante’s Equation from Del Rey in 2003.  My other games include Dying for Daylight (done with Charlaine Harris), three Agatha Christie hidden object games, three Women’s Murder Club games (with James Patterson), Gray Matter (my own original story) and, recently, Moebius: Empire Rising.

I’ve had many wonderful professional experiences working in games, including the joy of casting voice-over actors and listening to them read my dialogue, working on a live film production (for GK2), travelling to research story lines, meeting fans, and working with great artists, engineers, and producers. It was also the ideal place to hone my writing skills, particularly dialogue since there are acres of that in my games.

Present

Why do I write m/m romance?  Because I love reading it. I began reading the m/m genre during a particularly stressful period in 2012, and it was my magic bullet in terms of relaxation and escape.  I love writing books, but I’d given up on it after Dante’s Equation in 2003–a hugely ambitious book that took three years to write and was a disappointment to me critically and sales wise.

While I’ve enjoyed reading m/f romance since I was a teen, I never was very good at writing it.  I’m drawn to the idea of how two people meet and decide to spend their lives together–the give and take of personalities and relationship dynamics.  But I find it challenging to write a typical man/woman relationship. I think it’s because I’ve always rather sucked at writing very feminine characters. My own personality has many traits that would be considered masculine, and I’ve never been one for pink and lace.  I think we are all a balance of masculine and feminine in our deepest selves in ways that go beyond gender and sexual identity. It’s possible to be a woman with masculine personality traits who loves men (that is, not a lesbian), just as you can be a man with ‘feminine’ qualities who is nonetheless straight. We need a name for  those categories, please!

I dipped my toe back into the water in 2011 writing a few stories for submission to m/m anthologies.  By now, I’ve published 10+ stories in m/m including the novel The Mating of Michael, which was released in Jun 2014. I’ve gotten a lot of pleasure from writing in this genre, and encouragement from some very lovely people who enjoy reading it.

One thing is clear: being Eli Easton has given me back my pure fiction writing–my confidence in it and my productivity. And I’m grateful for that.

I also want to say that I have no embarrassment about what I write. I am a full supporter of gay rights, including the right to marry. So to me, romance is romance, no matter what the gender is of the protagonists. And as a life-long reader of romance, I know the pleasure it brings people. Unlike horror and mystery (both of which I’ve written), at the core romance is about passion and love, not fear. Plus, there’s always a happy ending. And sometimes, we just fucking need a happy ending.

Future

I plan to continue to write m/m romance as Eli Easton. I will also likely continue to write for games.  There are also some “Jane Jensen” books in the pipeline. I recently sold an Amish-themed murder mystery called “Kingdom Come” to Berkely and it will be released on the “Prime Crime” line under Jane Jensen.  Now that I’m ‘out’ I’ll be freer to talk about any and all projects as news pops up.

If you like games at all, you might want to check out one of my recent titles. Both of these have a free 1 chapter demo.

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary remake — an all new HD remake of my first big game. This is the first game in a paranormal mystery series with some similarities to Supernatural or X-Files.  Also on Steam and GOG.

Moebius: Empire Rising — A Dan Brown-ish conspiracy thriller involving a new theory of space and time. Includes a slashy bromance that will develop over the series.

 

That’s it for this confession. I will be at Romantic Times convention next year in Dallas in May and also the Rainbow Con in Tampa in July. Hope to meet some more of you there!

Eli

 

 

 

 

 

“The Mating of Michael” — interview & giveaway on Sinfully Sexy!

July 14

Check out a new feature about “The Mating of Michael” on Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews. It includes a review by Macky, an interview with me about the book, and a giveaway.  (And a cool new graphic, which I stole below)

http://sinfullysexybooks.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/the-mating-of-michael-sex-in-seattle-3.html#more

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Thank you for having me on the blog!

Eli

Interview with Eli about “The Mating of Michael” on Smoocher’s Voice

July 2

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Jodi at Smoocher’s Voice did a lovely interview with me about “The Mating of Michael”. Read it here!

Eli

Interview and Giveaway on Eclectic Passions

December 9

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For the Mistletoe/Prairie Dog blog tour, I did an interview with Eclectic Passions.  They’re also have a giveaway of “Blame It On The Mistletoe”.

Check it out here:

http://eclecticpassionsbc.blogspot.com/2013/12/giveaway-interview-with-blame-it-on.html

Eli

Eli’s Blog Tour for “Blame It On the Mistletoe” & “A Prairie Dog’s Love Song”

December 5

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I’m doing a week long blog tour for my two Christmas Stories “Blame It On The Mistletoe” and “A Prairie Dog’s Love Song”.

12/5 — First stop is a brief interview with Sarah Madison about holidays and cowboys. You can read it here.

12/7 — We Love King

12/7 — Eclectic Passions

12/8 — Dawn’s Reading Nook

12/10 — Iyana’s Rainbow

12/13 — Sinfully Sexy Books

12/13 – Foxlutely Book Reviews

 

My Favorite 5 scenes in “The Trouble with Tony”: on Kim Fielding’s blog

August 26

I’m guest blogging today on Kim Fielding’s blog. The topic is my favorite 5 scenes in “The Trouble with Tony”.  Read it here:

http://kfieldingwrites.blogspot.com/2013/08/please-welcome-eli-easton.html

Thanks for hosting me, Kim!

 

Desktop: “The Trouble With Tony”

August 21

It’s release day for “The Trouble With Tony!”

Whenever I write a story, I like to google images for inspiration.  Sometimes they’re for mood, sometimes they’re characters (major and minor), sometimes they’re locations, and sometimes they’re things like a building or a shop or a car that I just like to have a visual reference for.  I thought it would be fun to share these with readers.

** Note:  I own none of these images – they’re from google.  These images were not used in the book, but if you have a problem with my having an image on this website, please email me and I’ll remove it.  

So without further ado, here’s my “Trouble with Tony” desktop:

TONY DEMARCO

Tony is an Italian-American private detective from Brooklyn now living in Seattle (in part to elude his big, Italian-American family who don’t know he’s gay).  He was a cop for six years but decided to to go it alone as a P.I. after being shot in the leg.   He’s very funny.

I had several images on my desktop to inspire me to write Tony’s character.  Here’s my favorite:

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This pic was identified as Fabio Cannavaro by a commenter.  Thank you!

DR. JACK HALLORAN

Our other MC, Dr. Jack Halloran, was a combat surgeon in the US Army for 8 years until an I.E.D. damaged his left arm, making it impossible for him to do surgery.  His PTSD made even working in an ER impossible.  He’s now a sex therapist for Expanded Horizons.  He’s not a big guy, but he’s a serious bad ass.

I searched for a ‘blonde doctor’ image to inspire me and I like the attitude on his face.  This one made it onto the cover!

young doctor man with stethoscope and clipboard against different backgrounds Stock image

MICHAEL LAMONT

Oh, Michael!  I’m currently working on Sex in Seattle #3, which is Michael’s story, but he makes his first appearance in “The Trouble With Tony”.  I love this character!  Michael is a sex surrogate and also does in home nursing care part time.  He’s slightly built, very cute, and extremely compassionate/empathetic.  In my head, Michael is physically based on Isaiah Garnica.

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Isaiah Garnica (LA based model/actor)

SETTING: SEATTLE’S CAPITOL HILL

The story is set in Seattle, mostly in and around Capitol Hill, a gay district in Seattle that’s up on a hill (hence the oh-so-brilliant name).  My husband and I had a house on Capitol Hill for 15 years and I love the neighborhood!  I greatly miss it.  Here are a few scenes of this funky/cool area.

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EXPANDED HORIZONS

Expanded Horizons is the name of a (entirely fictional) sex clinic on Capitol Hill around which the series revolves.  I pictured it on Pike Street between Broadway and 15th, which is an area I walked often.  It’s not a very big building. The clinic has a waiting room with receptionist area, three therapists offices, a staff kitchen and meeting room and a, ahem, massage room.  This is about the style/size of the building.

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DISCOVERY PARK

I’m an avid hiker, so I worked a few of my favorite places to hike into the story.  Tony meets up with his police detective buddy, Mark, to discuss the case at Discovery Park, a Seattle park that I miss dearly now that I’m no longer in the area.  It has a beach, lighthouse, woods and trails on a bluff, and gorgeous views.

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The trail along the top of the bluff.

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 One of my own photos taken whilst hiking with a friend

MT RAINIER’S SKYLINE TRAIL

One of my favorite hiking trails of all time is the Skyline Trail at Mt. Rainier.  It’s quite high in elevation.  You can hike right up to the glacier and the views are spectacular.  Being above the treeline, the flowers and vegetation are really different from most NW forests.  Tony and Jack discuss the Skyline trail earlier in the book and then the epilogue takes place there.

Mount Rainier Skyline Trail

Image by Smigelski Photography :  http://www.smigelskiphotography.com/2011/10/mount-rainier/

That’s it for this desktop!  I hope the pictures add to your enjoyment of the story.

ABOUT THE SERIES:

Sex in Seattle #2, “The Enlightenment of Daniel,” has been written and contracted to Dreamspinner and is due out in the Dec/Jan timeframe.  This story is about a patient of Jack Halloran’s.  Daniel is a high-powered Type A business man who has a midlife crisis when he learns his father is dying of cancer.  Daniel comes to several life-altering realizations –first, that he’s gay and secondly, that he’s in love with his male business partner who is in a marriage-in-name-only relationship for the sake of his kids.

Sex in Seattle #3, “The Mating of Michael” (working title), is my next writing project.  Tentative pub date is April 2014.  This is, of course, the story of Michael Lamont, sex surrogate for Expanded Horizons.  I’m very excited to bite into this one!

Eli