Today I am so pleased to welcome Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay to Joyfully Jay. Angel and Freddy have come to talk to us about their latest release, Fireworks and Stolen Kisses: Lijun 1. They have also brought along a paperback copy to give away. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!
So You Think You Can Write?
Most people have caught at least the gist of what the show So You Think You Can Dance? is all about. People audition from all over the country for a spot on the show where they can show off their talents as a dancer. Quality of auditions vary wildly since hopefuls are self-taught dancers, dancers with formal training, and people who for some reason think anyone can dance.
I’ve always found it an interesting parallel to writing. Writers, both self-taught and those with formal writing education, all have a need, a hunger, an imperative to write. But every time I answer the what do you do for a living question for someone new, the answer is nearly universal, something along the lines of, oh, I’ve thought about writing something. (Often followed by the inevitable have you written anything I’d know and so are they just on, like, Amazon or something questions—but I digress.)
There should be a parallel television show as well—So You Think You Can Write? Contestants would bring a writing sample as their audition. We could be terribly mean and say they had to give a reading of it. All writers. Any writers. Fiction. Poetry. Non-fiction. Journalism. All of it. Anyone can try. Once chosen, contestants would run the gauntlet just as the dancers do, with a different genre/type of writing assigned each week, pressured deadlines, coaches looming over them.
It would be fun. Trust me. Really.
But the interesting part for me, as it is with the dancers, is that the world might finally see that no, not everyone can write and no, not everyone has a story in them just waiting to burst out and become a best seller. Most writers have huge swaths of time when they don’t believe they can be writers. Forty-two published stories and a writing career that’s in its second decade and I haven’t believed it most days. (But we are writers and therefore we write or risk vanishing in a puff of existential smoke. Or something.)
Not everyone can dance professionally. Not everyone can sing professionally. Not everyone can write professionally. Fireworks and Stolen Kisses is my forty-second published story, and it took every one of those to convince myself, finally, that this is true and that the first publishing contract was not a fluke. (Will I ever think my writing is perfect? No. That’s a different thing entirely.)
It you write and people pay you for it, you are amazing. Go show them all those writing moves and stop belittling the gift you’ve been given. So you think you can write? Go do it. Do it some more. Keep doing it until the doubt demons stop telling you stupid stuff like that the schmuck you met last week at the company party who said he could write a novel too if he felt like it is just as talented as you are. Yeah. Ask him what he has ready to read for the judges.
No. Eating. Pixies.
At the annual Global Lijun Alliance conference in Tokyo, Tally Bastille makes the first impulsive decision of his life. Others perceive his uktena—the enormous legendary serpent that’s his dual-spirit—as a threat, which makes him all too aware that he frightens fellow lijun. But an encounter with a passionate, obviously not-straight otter lijun one evening convinces Tally that he’s found his Em’halafi, his destined match. Tally is determined to barrel through all obstacles to make the match happen, including the otter’s conservative, traditional family.
Trained as a Satislit—a bride-son—Haru Tanaka chafes at the strict boundaries set around their life. They rebel against their clan’s constant attempts to force an arranged match and wish desperately for someone who will love them. At the conference, Haru is horrified to learn their family has accepted an offer for them, one too lucrative for the clan to refuse. Not only has the Urusar sold Haru to a stranger, but the lijun is also a giant snake and one who believes in the tired old superstitions regarding Em’halafi. Threatened with banishment if they refuse, Haru has no choice but to marry the wealthy American serpent.
Back in Tally’s home in Wisconsin, Haru and Tally must navigate both the widening gulf between them as they realize how much they’ve misunderstood about each other, and the tricky politics of the lijun clan Tally leads. Murder, intrigue and increasing hostility threaten to tear apart the little town of Wadiswan and the arranged marriage they’ve barely managed to begin.
The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.
Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough. She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.
Freddy is a bisexual, biromantic, genderfluid nerd and geek who grew up in the Midwest playing soccer, diving, swimming and doing gymnastics, along with running around outside as much as possible—preferably spending that time in swamps and hiking through forests. The haphazard escapades have not changed, except some of them have been replaced with a healthy geocaching addiction and a love for Science Fiction and Fantasy. This love of SFF developed into a writing passion and has led to several awards in the gay science fiction and fantasy categories. Freddy likes worms, dancing and being outside… and toll passes, but you’ll have to ask on that one. (They/Them/Their pronouns.)
Angel has brought a paperback copy of Fireworks & Stolen Kisses to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, July 19th at 11:59 pm ET.
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