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Hat-Tips, Links, and Shout-Outs

Honoring Great Dads

It occurred to me recently that there are a lot of terrible fathers in my books.

Chance Whitaker and Shain Ahren from the Matchmakers series are both ultimately disowned by their father (though the man does redeem himself later, but barely).

Remy Dawes from the same series is molested by his stepfather.

Adrian Frost from Ice on Fire is also disowned by his father when he’s caught with Zac.

Asher Arden from Heavens Aground is pushed off a boat in the middle of the ocean because his father didn’t want a gay son.

Then there are Hunter’s and Austin’s fathers, from the Transitivity series, which is a whole kind of twisted of its own.

And in an upcoming series, The House of Denmer…Well, I won’t give away the truly evil plot twist, but suffice it to say the father is a nasty piece of work.

There are the good ones, too (Zac’s father is really caring, and Kacey’s stepdad, Austin, is very loving and supportive), but it seems like the ratio weighs more heavily in favor of the bad guys.

Which is totally weird, considering my own father is just about the best dad a guy could ask for.

My dad is my rock. He’s been my biggest supporter all my life, encouraging me to go after the things I wanted, to pursue my passions, to find my happiness. He’s the one person who, when all else fails, I can always count on, whether it’s for help buying a car, the joys of packing and moving, a shoulder to cry on, or even just a fun movie date (superhero action films FTW!). He’s the person I can go to for advice or encouragement or to help me untangle a problem.

Two years ago today, he even went with me to the courthouse so I could have my name legally changed from Gabriela to Gabriel, because I was too nervous to go on my own.

I truly don’t know what I would do without the man who has always encouraged me to follow my dreams.

To all the great dads out there who love their kids and show it, I salute you all. You guys are rock stars.

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Hat-Tips, Links, and Shout-Outs, Inspiration, Publishing

Writing Frenzy

It used to be that I considered myself lucky if I could finish a novel within a month. A couple of them have taken me over a year. With a backlog of some 20+ story ideas, it felt like I was never going to have the slightest chance of getting caught up. Even with story structure and outlines, I still couldn’t seem to improve my writing pace, and felt as though I was continually falling farther and farther behind.

Then I came across The Story Equation by Susan May Warren. What a total game-changer! It highlighted aspects of story structure and outlining that I hadn’t really been clear on before, and presented the buildup of tension in a story in a completely new way.

In two days, I outlined 5 novels.

It was right around that time that a friend and fellow author, Gianni Holmes, threw down the challenge to write a novel (approximately 50k words) in ten days. It began as a purely personal goal on her part, since that was the amount of time she was looking forward to having away from her day job. (Keep in mind, this amazing lady has managed to self-publish something like a dozen books in the space of a year, all while working full time!) I saw the challenge, and as we were already part of a Facebook group who were pushing to try writing 12 Books in 12 Months, I figured, what the hell. I’d give it a shot just to see how close I could get. I honestly wasn’t sure I could finish within ten days, especially when it came to starting a new book in a whole new series, but it was definitely worth a try.

I finished in nine. Book 1 in a new, upcoming series, The House of Denmer, reached just shy of 50k words, all within nine days.

Then we started a Facebook group so we could repeat the challenge, and I turned right back around and did it again with another new project (Simon: A Transitivity Novella) and finished that one in six days.

With that done, I started on Book 2 of The House of Denmer … and ran into a snag. At the start of Day 3, I got the Blue Screen of Death, and had to go without my laptop for a few days. But once I got it back? Three more solid days of work, and that book was done, too. 50k in five days.

And then again, with Second Act: A Matchmakers Novella (coming soon!). 45k in nine days.

Tomorrow, I’m going to attempt the next round of the #10DayNovelChallenge, getting a start on Book 3 in The House of Denmer, which will ultimately be a five-book series. Following that will be a seven-book YA fantasy series, and if I can keep up this pace, every one of them might actually be written by the end of the year.

Susan May Warren, I could kiss you!

Hat-Tips, Links, and Shout-Outs, Inspiration, Transitivity

Autism Blog Hop: Childhood Toys

Autism fact: Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job.


Do you still have any of your childhood toys?

I certainly remember a lot of my toys. Numbered blocks from when I was two, which spurred my life-long affinity for math and order. Barbies, of course. American Girl dolls. Legos. Oh my gods, the Legos! That’s the one I really miss the most. The colors and shapes. The steps and instructions, having to put things together in the right order so you could create something fun or beautiful. And then the endless options for when you wanted to chuck the instructions out the window (which, admittedly, I rarely did, but the choice was always there). Those toys are long-gone, now. Faded away into the land of Goodwill and AmVets.

But I didn’t part with everything.

To this day, I still have all of my stuffed animals. They fill a bookcase in my room. All my old Friends, watching over me as I sleep. Out of everything from my childhood, these have proven impossible to part with. Almost all of them were given to me by my father for one reason or another. A birthday, perhaps. Or a random holiday (there’s a Ty bear covered in shamrocks that he got me on St. Patrick’s Day one year). The best ones were those he brought home when I was sick, curled up in bed with the flu. Dad would come home from work and tuck a new teddy bear under my arm, helping me feel better. I particularly remember him doing that with the brown bear toward the right of the middle shelf in this picture (click to expand):

I even still have a tiny rubber bear designed for teething babies, so it’s almost as old as I am (and I’ll be 36 this year).

There they sit, still on display. Year after year, I keep them. I’ve hauled them through six moves, hating to stick them in a box and loving when I get to pull them out again. On the rare occasion my anxiety spikes severely enough to need it, I can still grab one of them to hold on to while I lie in bed, hiding out in the safety of the dark. A pillow would serve the same purpose, but it’s never quite as effective. There’s just something about that teddy bear shape that feels good.

This even comes up in my latest series, Transitivity. The series is very dark and taboo, so I won’t get into it much here, other than to say that a bit of real life found its way into the story with Kacey receiving a stuffed bear from his stepdad when he has a hospital visit, as well as having kept all his own Friends from throughout his life, even when he moves out on his own.


For a child with autism, toys can serve an essential need, giving the child a source of tactile contentment, as well as helping them feel more grounded.

Which toys were you fond of as a kid? Do you still have any of them? Post your answer in a comment, and be entered to win a random drawing for the e-book of your choice from my backlist (except the Matchmakers combined edition), sent direct to your Kindle email address. Winner will be chosen at the end of the blog tour, and will need to add grlyons@grlyonsauthor.com to their list of approved senders.

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog hop here: rjscott.co.uk/autism19

Please consider supporting Lindengate, a charity that works with autistic children: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/lindengate

And sign up for my newsletter here. πŸ™‚

News, Publishing, Shifting Isles, Treble and the Lost Boys

My Growing World

It’s release day! Illumined Shadows (Treble and the Lost Boys, Book 3) went live today, completing the Treble trilogy. I’m so glad Vic finally gets his HEA. After having this story close to my heart for almost two years, I’m definitely celebrating having it finally out there in the real world.

Illumined Shadows also makes the fifteenth novel set in my Shifting Isles fictional world (and, as things currently stand, I have at least fifteen more in the works, in addition to short stories). One of the things that I’ve discovered I love about having so many stories that connect in various ways within the fictional world, is just how often beloved characters either make cameo appearances or pop up in random references. For instance, Vic, the MC of Illumined Shadows, began as a minor character in both Blindsighted (Shifting Isles, Book 8) and Libertas (Shifting Isles, Book 9), and now has his own story. Elliden Crawford, the MC of Second Drafts, seems to be showing up all over the place (because I just adore him and can’t help myself).

Then, of course, there’s Vorena, from The Prisoner. I never could quite let her go. πŸ˜‰

But then I had to go and write this bit in Illumined Shadows:

β€œWho are we talking about here?” Athan asked, his marble features pulled into a hint of a frown. β€œWho’s Deyn?”

Summer brightened. β€œOh! My great-great-great-grandmother’s ex-husband’s daughter’s daughter-in-law.” She paused for half a beat, then added, β€œOr your stepmother’s foster father’s best friend’s mother-in-law.”

Summer’s answer references seven named characters (in order: Ashyn Gael, Benash Rothbur, Saira Rothbur-Crawford, Zhadeyn Crawford, Seryn Vas-kelen, Samril Shyford, Daivid Thaton, and Zhadeyn again) from seven different books (The Prisoner, S.P.I.R.I.T. Division, Return to Tanas, Broken, Betrayal, Addiction, and Blindsighted, all from the Shifting Isles series). It is INSANE how many times I had to go over that little speech to make sure I’d gotten all the relationships right.

Thank gods for character family trees (which I’m STILL struggling with turning into some sort of imagery so I can include them both here on my website and in the books themselves). I’m also still working on getting profiles for all of these characters up here on the website (I think I only have two completed so far…yikes!), but eventually they’ll all be here, with all the applicable links and connections.

I could very well be insane…

BUT that’s a problem for another day. In the meantime, I’ve got my entire backlist enrolled in KU for those of you who use that service, and now that my poor Vic finally has his HEA, I’ve gotta have him go help out another character in my current WIP.

See? They just keep popping up everywhere!

Publishing, Treble and the Lost Boys

Here Comes Trouble!

Introducing: Ryley Skye! Forensics expert. Violinist. Cheater. Exhibitionist.

Mage?

Ryley can’t take anything seriously. Not the murder scenes he investigates, nor the fact that he’s cheating on his boyfriend. Not the bloody nightmares he gets every other night, and especially not Vic’s ridiculous theory that Ryley might be a mage.

Magic? Him? There’s just no way.

When Vic decides he’s had enough of Ryley’s cheating and breaks things off, it couldn’t come at a worse time. They’ve just been handed a case that will require them to work closely together, whether they like it or not. But Ryley plays along. He has to. He can’t afford any kind of confrontation. Things happen when he gets angry or aroused. Weird things. Bad things. He has to stay bottled up and in control at all times.

Then he meets Asher Arden, and indulges in what he thinks is a little rebound fling. But when Ryley loses control and puts Asher’s life at risk, he realizes two things: He loves Asher more than anything else in the world…

And Vic just might have been right all along.

The book is now available in both paperback and Kindle formats! Be sure to add it to your Goodreads TBR, and check out the Pinterest board for some neat visuals! There’s also a blog review tour and giveaway, courtesy of Signal Boost Promotions!

And huge thanks, once again, to Dana Leah at Designs by Dana, for the lovely cover.

News, Publishing, Shifting Isles, Treble and the Lost Boys

It’s About Time

I learned very quickly, when diving in to create a fictional world, that the process was a lot more work than I’d anticipated. Though free of the restrictions of continuing to write within the confines of the real world (like I did with the Lethean Trilogy), I had far more work cut out for me than simple matters of research. Making up everything from the gods to the creation of the world to the development of various races and countries–which meant determining how different people looked, spoke, behaved, dressed; what they ate, what they valued; what technology or customs they had; etc–was both thrilling and exhausting. For the most part, I managed to keep it all in my head, but as my world grew, and more stories began to take shape, I wound up with notes scattered across dozens of files, which I was constantly having to seek out and reference to make sure I was getting the details right.

What I should have been doing all along, right from the start, was building a Series Bible, keeping everything in one spot, nice and neat and organized. Of course, I didn’t run into an obvious need to do so until I began editing the next Treble and the Lost Boys book and realized I’d run into a pretty glaring timeline issue.

Between Blindsighted (Shifting Isles, Book 8), Libertas (Shifting Isles, Book 9), and the three Treble books, I had five books on my hands with tightly overlapping events, and discovered that some of those events were turning out to be a whole year off.

So I stopped writing entirely, went back to The Prisoner, the first book in the Shifting Isles world, and starting reading. I took meticulous notes of every single day that was mentioned, how much time was indicated to have passed between different events, who was where, any mentions of what time of year it happened to be, any references to past events and how long ago they were said to be, any mentions of how old a particular character was, etc. At the same time, I started building one big Series Bible file, multiple spreadsheets to consolidate information about the gods, companies, addresses, magic spells, phrases, and–of course–characters.

Almost four months later, and after having gone through the 13 Shifting Isles world novels currently in print (as well as a handful of short stories), I discovered several more timeline issues.

Some were relatively minor: events being described as happening on the same day when they were really supposed to stretch out over two. Some were more interesting, like one week in Blindsighted that somehow contained 9 days instead of 6. The worst timeline discrepancy came with the Matchmakers Trilogy. Randomly throwing out that some particular thing or another happened such-and-such years ago is all well and good until you actually start pinning down dates for things and find out that the thing happening such-and-such years ago is a temporal impossibility when compared to other historical occurrences that were mentioned.

So I corrected, adjusted, edited. Hells, I wanted to do a series relaunch / second-edition-with-bonus-content launch anyway, so now, when that does happen, not only will I be able to put out the stories with corrected timeline flow, I’ll also be able to better develop extra bonus content, as well as appendices for the novels.

Like timeline notes, for instance, showcasing major events and their dates.

Or family trees for my characters (I had a good laugh when I started fleshing out a tree for Officer Benash, and realized the man ultimately had six wives/partners as well as ten children before he died (to say nothing of all the grandchildren and so on), when all the while, in my head, I just saw him as the man who loved Vorena and fathered Saira).

Or finally make some progress (and corrections) on the Wiki I started building a few months back and had to set aside in favor of other, more pressing matters. With a dozen spreadsheets and notes on something like 260 characters, that’s going to be an ambitious project in and of itself.

Or…maps. But that’s a fun topic for another time… πŸ˜‰

Uncategorized

Ice on Fire — Release Blitz, Review Tour, Blog Tour & Giveaway

It’s release day! Ice on Fire, the first in a new m/m romance trilogy, Treble and the Lost Boys, is out today!

Blurb: Zac Cinder is on the verge of making his dream come true. His punk rock band, Inferno, might have a shot at an audition for a record deal. Fame and fortune would mean he could finally help his parents. They’d raised eight kids in a loving household while barely scraping by, so Zac is determined to give back in any way he can.

Keeping Inferno together, though, means keeping his biggest secret. His bigoted bandmates would drop him in an instant if they found out Zac was gay.

Then he meets Adrian Frost, and Zac can’t resist the shy man. Adrian gives up everything to be with Zac, but Zac can’t bring himself to do the same. He doesn’t want to lose Adrian, but he can’t give up Inferno, either. Not when he’s so close to realizing his dream.

When one cruel decision rips Adrian from his life, Zac will have to decide if ambition is worth the price of the greatest happiness he’s ever known.

(Note: This story takes place in a fictional world, the same as in the Shifting Isles Series. There are multiple gods, different names for the days of the week, etc. A glossary is included.)

WARNING: Contains scenes of self-harm that may be disturbing for some readers.

Add to your Goodreads TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39346978-ice-on-fire

Universal buy link: http://books2read.com/IceOnFireGRL

And check out the blog tour and giveaway HERE, courtesy of Signal Boost Promotions.