Monday, May 2, 2016

Writing Outside of My Spectrum

I’ve wanted to write this blog for a while, and I finally decided why not? You see, other than my Facebook personality, along with the muses, I’m really a shy person. I hide behind the computer screen and most of the time my social media profiles don’t feature a personal picture. It’s not because I don’t think I’m beautiful. *smiles and twists black locks of hair around my fingers* it’s because my writing shows so many different sides of myself. I mean, why would I want to write about a woman in her forties with an evil day job? Ugh. Sometimes those would make for great stories, but in my mind they’re kinda BORING. No, I don’t want to go so far as saying I’m boring. Once I get to talking and, maybe with some help from the liquor variety, I’ll tell you my life story. Or maybe not. *laughs* But really, I’d rather tell you about my writing and the personas I take on when I sit down at the computer. Yep, besides the 3 muses, (No I haven’t started writing under Veronica yet so there are 3 main names) I have a variety of people I decided to be for every book.

For Michael Mandrake, and many of my characters, I take on the persona of a gay man. I learn things from reading other books, articles, and things on the internet. Yes, porn. SURPRISE I’m sad to say, I have no close gay male friends, but when it comes to sex, I rely on what I read as my guide. While I did the edits for Mocha Kisses, I was fortunate enough to have what I assume was a gay male editor. One thing I’ve hardly been questioned on is my sex scenes, but this time, he asked me about some of the things I wrote. I’m glad he did, because there were things I assumed to be true because of what I read or seen in porn. It’s good to have those things when you’re a cis-gendered, mostly het female and don’t have the resources readily available, but having someone to advise you during the editing process is very helpful.

As I’m rambling, I should get back to my post. I, as a cis het, female, want to write outside of what I know. I know customer service, worked in it fifteen years plus. I was a banker, I’m a mother of two kids, I’m married to a wonderful man, and I’m a black female who loves rock music. Even with all the things I claim to know, I will not go so far as to say I’m an expert. I still ask others for opinions or thoughts on things I include in my stories because I want to make an accurate portrayal. Despite all of this, I still might screw up on something because people will say, oh that’s not real or that doesn’t really happen, but that’s a topic for another day. Bottom line, I love writing outside of what I know to challenge myself and learn new things. I like to explore different worlds, cultures, etc, and I get hyped about putting that new knowledge into a book.

This kind of ties in with the two latest kerfuffles in the gay romance genre about writing GLBTQIA  and/or people of color. You can ask questions, do research, just like you could about a doctor, police officer, EMT, etc. There is a lot of important information about these professions and people of different races, religions, gender identities, sexualities, and ages are no different. However, I do add this. Write them as individuals first because no matter the differences they are still people.

To get back to my writing outside spectrum post, I’m saying don’t let any of this stop you from writing the story you want to write. In all seriousness, Michael Mandrake scares the shit out of me with his complicated plots. Serial killers, CSI’s, homicide detectives, double agents, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. I’m intimidated at the lengths in which I have to research these things, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In my opinion, writing people shouldn’t be that much different. Do your due diligence and become that person you’re writing about. Do it with empathy and passion, and not because you feel you have to in order to sell books. Do it because you have a genuine interest in the person you’re including in your story because while you’re writing, you should put yourself in that character’s shoes and become that individual.

So why do I write outside again? To gain knowledge and become a different person. Besides, how many exciting stories are there about women in their forties unless they’re falling in love with a hot musician? 

*looks at the idea on my long list of WIPs* 

* * * *

The list is always getting longer, but for now, let me promo my next book, The Odd Couple!

Unlike the popular bank, Chase Whittaker has no money. However, living on the northwest side of Chicago in a rundown building with no car, and no savings hasn’t made him totally undesirable. His good looks and charm make up for everything he seems to lack. Still, it’s not enough to stop his landlord from threatening to sell the building where he owns the store his grandfather opened.
Micah Strickland is the child of famous football player Thomas Strickland and a ghostwriter. Though he’s never hurting for money, He can’t seem to find a man who wants the same things he does. Insecurities about being accepted as a gay and black man also prohibit him from being happy. He does everything to prove he fits in and even after all that, Micah hasn’t found anyone who’s interested in a committed relationship.
When Micah visits Chase’s shop, the sparks fly almost immediately. Chase makes Micah feel special and seems to understand Micah’s battle with wanting to be accepted. But the possible relocation of the bookstore is a dark cloud over their budding romance.
As one issue lends itself to another, Micah finds himself battling what he’s feeling for Chase and loyalties to his father. The question now becomes, will he be able to honor his father without losing the man he’s come to love?
Exclusive Excerpt

Later on that evening, Micah went to Chase’s apartment with groceries and his favorite beer in hand. He intended to fix a romantic dinner, then enjoy some loving time as they both wanted.
Micah had thought about telling Chase about his purchase afterwards, but he figured to wait until the ink had dried on the contract before he shared the good news.
“All right.” Micah finished chopping vegetables for their salad and placed saran wrap over the bowl. “Chase, can you check the chicken to see if it’s done?”
“It smells delicious so I’d say it’s finished.” Chase opened the oven and peeked in. “Geez, you’re a really good cook. If you’d asked me to fix this, everything would’ve been burned or half done.”
“Oh, you’re not that bad, are you?” Micah walked over with mitts in his hand. “I need to teach you some pointers about cooking basics or—”
“I don’t think you could trust me to boil water,” he laughed and stepped to the side.
“Really, Chase?”
“Yeah, really. Cooking just isn’t my thing.”
“Well, it’s mine so I suppose since one of us can cook, we won’t eat takeout or restaurant food every night,” he joked.
“Right, so when we start living together, we can eat in instead of wasting money on expensive meals.”
Hearing that, Micah was glad he’d already put the oven-fried chicken down. “True, and when will that be?”
Chase pulled Micah in and suffocated his lips with a kiss. “Whenever you’re ready, lover. Not that I’m trying to rush you, but, we’ve been seeing each other for a while now, and I’m more than ready to move forward.”
“Oh, I am too.” Micah wrapped his arms around Chase’s waist. “I suppose I was waiting for you to say the word, and… sort of move things along.”
“Well, I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea, either.”
“Why would you think that?”
“Because, you’re loaded and I live in a dump. I didn’t want you to think I was using you as a way to get out of this building.”
“Oh Chase, come on. Give me more credit than that. I want to share whatever I have with you. Money, my house, my car, all of it. Mi casa es su casa.”
“I know, but, well, shit. I come from nothing and you …”
Aggravated, Micah backed away from his lover and pushed his chest, making space between them. “Just because you don’t have a lot of money, doesn’t mean anything to me, all right? If I wanted to date someone like that, I wouldn’t be here with you.”
“Yes, that’s true, and I’m really grateful you gave me a shot.”
“And I’m glad we’re together.” Micah nibbled on his own bottom lip, wondering if he should go on and break the news to him now since they were talking about finances and sharing, but he also was well aware of the chance of his man getting upset over what he’d done.
“I am too. Come here. Last thing I want to do is piss you off. Let me make you feel better before dinner,” Chase winked, taking him by the hand.
Micah accepted and hugged his lover tightly to his own body. He lightly kissed Chase’s cheek and laid his head on his chest. “I hope we won’t have to talk about this again. Like I said, it doesn’t matter what you don’t have monetarily. I have enough for both of us.”


Tina Donahue said...

Great post, hon. I'm also shy. My guess is most authors are by nature. I agree that you have to become the character you're writing about or the words won't ring true.

Fiona McGier said...

I certainly agree with writing your characters as people first. Like you, I think my own life is kind of dull...downright boring. But I work way too many hours for way too little pay, and the bills keep on rolling in. Who wants to read about that? Not even me!

But when I'm writing, I can be a younger, cuter white woman, or a Hispanic woman, a Chinese female vampire, or a Black woman. I can be all of those things and more, because in my imagination, I create the parameters. And no man can resist me! Bwah-ha-ha!!

So keep on stretching yourself, and enjoy the ride.

S.Lira said...


Thanks so much. Yes I'm very shy. I agree with you. I think we all are introverted or shy to some degree. It's hard to come out of a shell when you've been inside it you're whole life.

S.Lira said...


EXACTLY! I love writing people who are not me. *laughs*

You keep writing too!