The Makeover Challenge cover reveal!

It’s cover reveal daaaay! 

I’m super happy to share with you the cover of THE MAKEOVER CHALLENGE, my upcoming novel. I’m deep in edits right now and I’m so pleased with how this story is turning out. And I think the cover really matches the fun, sexy tone 

I’ll be posting teaser images (created by my wife!) over the next several days, so keep an eye out for those!

The Makeover Challenge cover

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Writing and Acting

As a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about how people feel and express emotion. When I’m writing a novel, it’s my goal to describe emotion from the inside and outside: the way a character’s mind and physical body reacts to their feelings and the way they look outwardly so that others can perceive those feelings.

I was an actor for the briefest of moments: six years in middle school and high school. I have a tiny bit of experience when it comes to what it feels like to act out emotions, but I have a lot more experience writing them. I’ve (somewhat obsessively) studied how emotions are felt and how they’re portrayed. My favorite TV shows and movies are ones where I can get some new insight into how an actor conveys how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking.

Okay, so here’s the thing: sometimes I have these ephiphanies that are blindingly obvious to everyone else. And I think this is one of them XD

Being a writer, I carefully consider how to describe a character to convey what they’re feeling. If a character I’m writing is angry, how does she feel from the inside? Does tension rise up the back of her neck? Is there a blocked, hot feeling in her chest? A sense of helplessness? And how does she look from the outside? Are her fists clenched, or her jaw? Is she trembling? Are her eyes wide or narrowed?

I always assumed actors did the same thing. I imagined an actor thinking out how best to convey the feeling of her character, including body language and voice and expression down to the smallest twitch of a muscle. That’s what I would do. (That might mean I’d make a lousy actor XD)

So I just finished watching the third season of TURN: Washington’s Spies. If you like American history (and seriously, even if you don’t!) give this series a try–it’s freaking incredible. I love every damn minute of it. Jamie Bell plays the main character, and his spellbinding acting is what brought on this epiphany.

I’m trying to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but there’s a part in the first season when his character is in a very traumatic situation, the kind that forever changes how he sees himself. As I’m watching, I’m captivated and stunned: it looks like Jamie Bell is literally hyperventilating.

And then I realized that he probably is. And maybe that’s how some actors do it. Instead of saying to themselves “How should I look in order to portray how I’m feeling?” they just feel it, and the portrayal is perfect. This blew my mind.

I mean, it’s not like I’ve never heard of method acting. It’s not like I haven’t listened to hours of actor commentaries on my favorite movies. I know that some actors feel their characters’ emotions acutely. But somehow it never hit me that I was making that assumption about how they approached acting, and that my assumption was linked to being a writer.

In other words, I learn something new that helps my writing every day… And go watch TURN XD

Finding ourselves in the past

I love history. I love it so damn much. I minored in it when I got my BA in English. And I always, always find myself searching for any hint of women who loved women in times before the modern age. And men who loved men, in fact. And people whose gender presentation differed from the socially accepted “norm.” (Hint: There were and are far more of us than anyone ever told you in school.)

I could go on forever about the various people I’ve learned about, but there’s something particularly cool that’s going on in lesbian fiction right now. As I read more and more contemporary lesbian romance, I see that I’m definitely not alone in wanting to see myself in the people of the past. Whenever I pick up a contemporary lesbian romance novel that involves the characters delving into the past, chances are good that a historical lesbian couple will appear. I’m starting to hope for it every time I pick up a book where the description mentions some discovery out of the past  ❤

My first novel, Heart of Glass, which reached best-seller status on Amazon, had this as a central theme. I knew that I wasn’t the first to weave historical lesbians into a story, but I didn’t realize until recently how many other novels share this element. Here are some of my favorites:

Cross My Heart, by Natalie Vivien, has two of my very favorite things: lesbian romance and ghosts  ❤  This is a compelling, atmospheric story (and sexy AS HELL) that follows the romance between a commitment-phobic archaeologist and a librarian ghost-hunter as they unravel the mystery of a haunted Victorian mansion. The historical lesbians are woven intricately and eerily into the modern story.

Miserere, by Caren J. Werlinger, is (I think) properly classified as a historical fiction in its own right, since it takes place in the late 1960s. It also blends ghost story with romance and history, following a young girl who must solve a mystery from her family’s Irish past. This novel bridges the gap of time to bring the lesbian romance, which existed in the past, right to the forefront in compelling ways.

Rare and Beautiful Things, by Giselle Fox, is the latest in my collection of books with this theme. I haven’t finished it yet, but reading it inspired me to write this. So far, this novel is stuffed full of adventure and compelling characters, and I can’t wait to watch the historical aspect unfold.

Do you know of any contemporary lesbian romance stories that involve historical lesbians? I’d love to hear about them if you do!  🙂

I truly wish that I could function and keep up with Facebook and Twitter and the news, but it’s the reality that right now, I can’t. I’m lucky to have a wife who keeps me up to date on the (generally horrific, sometimes hopeful) things that are going on in my country. But I still want to add my voice in other ways than the activism I’m doing offline, and so right now, I’m going to make this place my avenue to do that. And, naturally, I’ll still talk about lesbian romance a lot ❤

Here are some links that are giving me a bit of comfort and hope.

Author Bridget Essex has launched a t-shirt campaign to benefit Planned Parenthood. To get a “Nasty Warrior Woman” t-shirt, all of the profits of which will go to Planned Parenthood, we need to order enough t-shirts for the order to be funded. Please go check it out ❤

Are you addicted to dopamine? Yes. Yes, I am. This post explains the seek/reward cycle that triggers a dopamine loop–that desire to find out what’s going on, to learn something new, to download any available tidbit of information into your brain, and the satisfaction you feel when you do. This is why we keep scrolling on Twitter. Why we feel the compulsion to check Facebook in case something else has happened. Why, when we hear about some event, we think “I’ll just look up one more news article.” And yet, one more news article or five more minutes on Twitter only makes us feel worse. Just recognizing that this is a chemical process has helped me.

5 Ways to Celebrate Imbolc Without Spending a Dime. February 2nd is Imbolc, the pagan holiday celebrated halfway between Yule, the winter solstice, and Ostara, the spring equinox. It’s all about kindling a light in the darkness, about renewal and resetting, about gathering hope. I know I need that desperately right now. This blog post by Penniless Pagan has several fun ways to celebrate without spending.

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US is #5!

I am ELATED to tell you that my most recent novel, THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US, is #5 on Amazon’s Lesbian Romance Best Seller list!

tmbu-5

It’s getting great reviews as well! If you’d like to give it a read, it’s available on Amazon (link below) in both Kindle and paperback versions, and you can read it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

I’d love to hear what you think about it 🙂

The Mountain Between Us by Marian Snowe

Cover reveal! ~ HEREAFTER ~

My wonderful publishers have created a gorgeous cover for my upcoming novel, HEREAFTER. I’m so excited to share with you that HEREAFTER’s release date is July 26th – less than a week away!

HEREAFTER is the story of Detective Samantha Easton. Sam’s always prided herself on being adaptable, but after she’s shot and nearly killed on the job, something happens that turns her rational, logic-based worldview upside-down: she starts seeing the spirits of dead people.

As if ghosts wandering the streets of Boston and her dead great-grandmother prying into her love life isn’t enough, Sam is being haunted by a mystery woman. Mae, a beautiful ghost, has no memories and is unable to cross over to whatever waits beyond this mortal coil. She asks Sam to solve the mystery of her death in the hopes that it will bring to light why her spirit is still here. Sam’s happy to take on this challenge – detective work is at least more familiar than interacting with ghosts – but she didn’t plan on falling in love with Mae.

As the two women investigate Mae’s death and work to unearth her secrets, they fall deeper in love with each other. But how can a romance between a living person and a ghost ever turn out happily?

I’m so proud of this novel and I just can’t wait to share it with you! ❤