Join Prism Book Alliance® as CJane Elliott goes Outside the Margins today.
I have a lot to be happy about this September, even in the middle of the most WTF presidential election season ever. I’m with her, by the way.
My husband and I had our 27th wedding anniversary! Amazing. We just got home from a lovely family vacation to Hood River and Cannon Beach, Oregon, during which we celebrated our son’s 21st birthday. It was fun taking him out for his first “official” drink(s) (a mojito, followed by a glass of rose, followed by a few sips of Grand Marnier. Yeah, the kid lived it up.).
Here’s one of my favorite pictures from the trip. That’s me and my son on a sunset walk in Hood River. I wish I could say my legs were really that long and skinny!
As a writer, I’m also happy, after many hard months. I had a big set back in my writing mojo earlier this year and lost my motivation. Worse than that, I lost the joy I’d had in writing. It got so bad I cancelled several writing projects and considered stopping writing completely.
As it turns out, it was a temporary hiatus, but one I needed to put things into perspective. I was drained by all the expectations I’d put on myself for how many titles to put out a year and how many sales I should be having and how much recognition I should be getting and how much support I should be receiving from my publisher and fellow writers. And of course, those expectations were unrealistic and were making me miserable.
My first epiphany was when I realized that I didn’t need to do this. Any of it. No one was making me be a writer. It’s not how I earn my living (thank God for not having that pressure). Nobody but me particularly cared how many titles I put out a year. Nobody but me was pointing a finger at my sales or reviews or Facebook/Twitter following.
I thought about what nurtured me and the bottom line is connection – with other writers, with readers, and with community. I decided I wanted to get more involved with writers and readers in my own town of Eugene and in the Pacific Northwest in general. Soon after, I was invited to participate with the Gay Romance Northwest Writers at this year’s Portland Pride in June. I and several others put together a panel on bisexuality for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet in Seattle which is happening this weekend. I connected with wonderful local writer Ben Brock who is organizing a reading for LGBT writers this October at the Barnes & Noble in Eugene.
And while all this connection was happening, I regained my writing mojo. I absolutely love my new novella, All the Way to Shore. It’s close to being published although I don’t know the release date yet and still don’t have a final cover to show. But I just finished going through the galley proofs and reading it again made me smile.
Even better, I’m about 5K into the sequel, which features a memorable character from ATWTS named Anthony, the cousin of MC Jonathan. This one is set in Key West. I’ve decided that every book of this series will be set on or near an ocean, because I love the ocean. They snorkel in the first book and in Anthony’s story they scuba dive.
I’ll close with an excerpt from All the Way to Shore. Most of the action takes place during a Caribbean cruise in which Jonathan is going by a false name, Jonah. In this scene, he and Marco are snorkeling in the waters off Grand Cayman.
After a few trials with the snorkel, Jonathan was pleased to discover he could breathe through it fine. They swam the few yards near to the other snorkelers, then adjusted their masks. Jonathan felt his heart beating faster and told himself to chill out. The water was still fairly shallow, there were no waves to speak of, and he had a life vest on. He and Marco gave each other a thumbs-up. Then Jonathan launched himself onto his stomach, floating on the surface with his face angled downward and snorkel in the air.
He gasped. There, right below them, a magical world teemed with life—a rainbow parade of fish weaving through the coral reef. Marco hadn’t been kidding about the colors: bright reds, oranges, yellows, purples, and blues adorned every shape and size of these aquatic creatures as they swam in and out of the coral formations. Even better were the schools—dozens of silvery fish that darted this way and that, turning together, their movements synchronized as if a conductor were waving a baton.
Enthralled, Jonathan skimmed along on the surface, mesmerized by the graceful show. Marco took his hand and they swam together as partners, their flippers gently propelling them, moving in sync as naturally as the fish below them.
Partners. Following the enchanting procession with Marco by his side, Jonathan grew giddy with life’s promise.
Marco moved along the surface hand in hand with Jonah, somehow not surprised at how easily they fell into a rhythm—one leading and one following, switching back and forth in a dance as effortless as that of the fish below them.
I bet this is what sex with him will be like.
Popping a boner made it harder to swim, so Marco didn’t pursue that train of thought. Instead he concentrated on the feeling of Jonah’s hand, the brush of his shoulder, and the colorful pageant of marine life unfolding before their eyes. He let himself be present, for this was paradise, and he didn’t want to miss it.
Next month I’ll be posting from the GayRomLit Retreat in Kansas City. I hope to see many of you there. Talk to you all then!
About CJane Elliott
After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.
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