December 6, 2013

Contemporary Holiday: Christmas Goes Analog @Kate_Lowell #RLFblog #LGBT

Christmas Goes Analog 
Kate Lowell, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Christmas Goes Analog.
Genre: Contemporary Holiday
Publisher: Loose Id
Cover artist: Valerie Tibbs
Length: 30,000 words
Heat rating: Explicit
Tagline: When plans to celebrate a traditional Christmas together with Rob's family fall apart, Shawn decides to create their own Christmas tradition.
When Rob's dad was injured by an uninsured driver, it spelled the end of Rob's carefree childhood and, more important to Rob, the idyllic Christmases they used to have. Hard work and sacrifice nets him a degree in computer programming and then a contract at a rapidly-growing video game company. Things are looking up, especially when he meets his new System Administrator. But the closer it gets to Christmas, the more bugs there are in the system.
Shawn's found him. The Guy. But Rob's had it rough and it's been years since he's been anything but responsible. It all comes boiling to the surface when a family financial crisis is followed by a work emergency that ruins Rob's plans to bring Shawn home to meet the family over Christmas holidays.
With Rob's mood growing darker the closer it gets to Christmas, Shawn needs to find some way to give Rob the Christmas he's so desperate for. And he just might have the plan...
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Robert Forbes, 24, works as a video game programmer
Shawn Thomson, 26, works as a system administrator/hardware guy at the same video game company as Rob.


How did you get your start in the industry?
I was laid off one summer, from a job I hated, and decided that I would give the writing a serious go, as a way to take back the parts of me that the hostile work environment had crushed. I started several different projects, in differing genres, and kept noodling away at them until I had one finished. At some point, I stumbled across my online critique group, which has been the best thing that ever happened to me, because it was their support and approval that convinced me to submit something. I was lucky enough to catch the eye of Raven McKnight at Loose Id and it's been a fantastic experience. It's nice to work with someone who gets your goofy jokes and actively encourages your weirdness and 'not in the box'-ness.
What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
I give it time and treat it seriously. I think I'm more forward about promotion, because a professional treats promotion like a part of the job. And I'm more likely to give myself the 'down' time between drafts, because I understand how I write much better now. I tend to write a clean first draft, but--like many pantsers--it's more of a detailed outline, not a full first draft. Rewrites
Underground Erotica
are necessary to add in the layers of information and make sure plot elements are properly supported. So I keep a number of different projects going at once (I have about a dozen right now, at various stages, from single scenes to more than half finished.)
What websites do you visit daily?
Daily? My email. Twitter. Absolute Write. My critique group. News sites and any interesting links that show up in my Twitter feed or elsewhere. I try to stay off the internet, if I can, since it can be a huge time waster and I'd rather make words.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
Lol. I'd write the prequel first. The biggest complaint about the first book was that people wanted to know the story of how Levi and Glynn got together. Bite Me Tender took place about four years into their relationship. But I love those two so much, they'll definitely be coming back.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I like that I'm independent, that it's a structured activity that taps my creativity in a way that everyday life doesn't even come close to. If you want to get all psychological about it, I'm an INTJ, which makes me analytical, creative and someone who can't help fusing things that, on the surface, don't belong together. Writing feeds a part of me that the day job can't even touch.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Write anyway. Find some time. Find some people to help you learn to do it better. Don't be ashamed of your ideas, don't let anyone tell you that girls can't write scifi or fantasy. Own your weirdness and seek out people who are also weird. Experiment. Don't think of a failed project as a waste--it's practice.
And don't let anyone tell you that you're too aggressive and it's not appropriate. Screw that. Push.
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
When not tied down by other responsibilities, I like to hit a minimum of 1500 words a day, though not necessarily all on the same project. It's nice if I get it all on one, but it rarely works that way. A lot of days I'll go beyond that, but not always. I keep a number of projects going at the same time, because some days my subconscious isn't ready with the next step of a story, so I move to something else. As long as words are coming out, I'm happy, but there have to be words each day.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
Work avoidance, until I can't take it anymore. :P Then I very deliberately open up a file that doesn't have a due date and put about 250 words on it. After that, things tend to flow smoothly. But I do have a tendency, once I get a book open, to obsess over it and work on it all the time, which is part of my stress-coping mechanism.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Can I plead the Fifth, even if I'm Canadian?
I'll confess, names of people around me often end up in books. Very rarely do personalities get transplanted, though, since characters tend to arrive in my head with very definite ideas of who they are and what they want. Random stories often appear, with names changed to protect the guilty. You're all fodder to the word machine!
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I read MM and other LGBT fiction, plus a variety of fantasy and science fiction. I'm a spec fic writer by nature, but I love the challenges of writing in the MM genre and the freedom it gives me to write about themes and ideas that are skated over or often downright ignored in mainstream publishing. So I go back and forth between my two loves. Last MM book read was the Power Play duology by Rachel Haimowitz and Cat Grant. Last sff book (series, really) read was John Scalzi's Old Man's War, which was an interesting setting, though I found I was getting a little tired of the 'Oh, what a cool universe I've created' by the fourth book, and began hoping for a bit more story.
Bite Me Tender 
What good book have you read recently?
I listen to a lot of audiobooks, because I do a lot of driving. So, I'm 'reading' Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself trilogy, which is a pretty interesting take on the fantasy genre. It looks on the surface like a fairly generic epic fantasy, but he takes a number of classic fantasy archetypes and--shifts them, ever so slightly. Odd little combinations. His characters are likeable, the story keeps me coming back, though it's so subtle I really can't explain the draw. Next book slated for listening is a non-fiction about sociopaths.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
Lol, I do research. Or household repairs. There's always a list for both. Right now, I'm researching San Francisco history, reading up on police procedures and making lists of angelic hierarchies. I'm also fixing two broken chairs, building support frames for the firewood in the basement and contemplating building a swinging gate in the pony barn.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Red. Definitely red. Or midnight blue.

Please complete the sentences

I love pizza with ham and pineapple.
I'm always ready for a nice bottle of red wine. Australian, preferably.
When I'm alone, I giggle and immediately throw my to-do list out the window, in favour of reading about boys in love and drinking wine.
You'd never be able to tell from looking at my house, but at work I'm really incredibly organized. Anally so, so to speak.
If I had a halo it would be dented and crooked, or lost under a pile of papers somewhere.
If I could change one thing about myself, I'd like to be able to sing, instead of just scaring small children.
I can never watch horror movies because then I'm trapped in my house with the axe in my hand, until the authorities take me away.

Previous Books

Bite Me Tender
Blurb: Levi is a werewolf. His boyfriend, and the love of his life, is a witch. After living together for three years, they decided to commit to each other and change Glyn into a werewolf. Levi hoped the pack would accept Glyn more readily as a wolf. Glyn hoped it would eliminate his erratic magic and erase the OCD it caused. One year later, they're still trying...
Levi can't understand why his bite won't change Glyn and he's running out of time to figure it out. His pack is being threatened by a larger one, he's facing dissension in the ranks of his own ruling council and Glyn's grandmother is poking her witchy nose into their relationship.
Under threat of a violent takeover, the council pushes another potential wolf at Levi, infuriating Glyn and adding weight to Levi's own doubts. Council machinations divide the two lovers, leaving both men questioning their lives, their love, and what they're willing to endure for each other.
Full moon is a time of power and change. It could be a disaster, or it could be the key to happily ever after. If they're strong enough to wrestle their happiness from its bloody claws.
Nuts About You (in the Forgotten Menagerie anthology)
Blurb: Nathan's been crushing on one of his regular Bulk Mart customers for a while now. In squirrel form, he sits on Vince's bird feeders, munching on seeds and enjoying the eye candy. Until the day Vince notices him raiding the feeder...
Love Underground
Contemporary Romantic Comedy, found in the Underground Erotica anthology. It was produced by a group of erotica writers at Absolute Write as a fundraiser to help support the massive forums there. My story is about the lengths we go to, in order to make our loved ones proud of us. Even if it means trying to ignore your claustrophobia to go spelunking with your outdoorsy boyfriend.

Find Me Here

Website: The Blunt Instrument

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