Coffee-to-Go Update

I am proud to report that I have completed the first draft of my debut novel, Coffee-to-Go. So what’s next? Right now the manuscript is in the hands of my alpha readers. They will give me their first impressions for the story before I begin to edit. I plan to edit the novel extensively before I even considering to publish, so it may still be some weeks (maybe months) before it’s available.

On that note, I don’t want to keep people waiting forever, so I present to you the opening scene of the novel. In the coming weeks and months I will continue to release short excerpts until the novel has been published. Enjoy!


Leo was wiping down the counter after the morning rush when the door chime made him look up. Striding towards the counter was Coffee-to-Go, running late as always.  His long, dishwater blond hair was pulled back in his normal, messy fashion while he still had those puffy dark circles under his eyes. As he reached the counter, he plunked down the $2.53 and made his usual order. “One large coffee-to-go, please!” 

Pouring the coffee into a large paper cup, Leo felt the warmth as it radiated into his hand. He grabbed and pressed a lid on before turning back to the tall, lanky man. The first time he’d come in several months earlier and made the order, Leo could hardly refrain from rolling his eyes. Who orders just coffee anymore? 

“Here you go,” Leo said as he handed over the cup. Coffee-to-Go’s fingers briefly brushed his, lingering almost a second too long, as he took the cup from him. The hint of a blush bloomed on the man’s cheeks as he pulled away. 

“Thanks!” Coffee-to-Go said with an appreciative smile before he rushed off. 

Leo sighed and rang in the order as he put the money into the register. Looking around the shop, he made sure all his patrons seemed content before he went back to wiping down the counter. Now was the time to get as much as he could clean before the inevitable mid-morning rush. He didn’t know what it was about Coffee-to-Go, but the man always looked harried and sleep deprived. Leo was surprised to realize that it made him worry about the man. 

What did Coffee-to-Go do for a living? It was difficult to tell as he was always dressed in a pair of jeans and some nondescript hoodie, with a backpack slung over his back. The man looked too old to be a student. Besides, his coffee shop rarely had students during the week because it was too far away from campus to be convenient. Nearby were several other shops, office buildings, and the hospital. Coffee-to-Go could work at any one of them. 

The first group of his mid-morning rush customers entered as Leo finished washing and rinsing all his brew pitchers. Further thoughts of Coffee-to-Go would have to be filed away until later. 

Why Write Gay Romance?

Romance is arguably one of the most popular genres in literature. So, why would an author limit themselves to only writing gay romance? The obvious answer is the fact that I happen to be a genderqueer author. However, the reason why I write gay romance goes deeper than that.

Representation

First of all, I feel that there needs to be more representation of LGBTQ+ characters across all genres of literature. True representation, not just the fantasies of straight, cisgendered female authors. I have nothing against straight, cisgender women writing gay romances, as long as they do their research, and don’t just write what titillates them. I also will not accuse anyone of fetishizing. There is a fine line between an appreciation and a fetish. Only the person writing truly knows their motivation behind what they write.

I’ve read of estimates of up to 70% of gay romance stories are written by women, many who are straight and cisgender. As a genderqueer person, one who strongly leans towards male identification and is only attracted to men, I hope I can bring a different perspective to the stories I write.

That being said, I have no current plans to include transgender characters. Yet. I am still on my own personal journey in that regard and I need to see it to completion before I will feel comfortable representing that community.

Writing Fan Fiction

When I first began to write fiction, I started with fan fiction. The video game series Dragon Age inspired me to write stories more than any other fandom had before. To date, I have written fifty-six fan fiction works, ranging in size from 100 words to 87,000 words, for a cumulative of over 700,000 words.

What is Fan Fiction?

Fan fiction stems from the desire of various fans of a particular movie, television series, book, or video game to see certain storylines play out. If you have ever been a fan of something and asked yourself “what if that didn’t happen that way?” then you have the potential idea of a fan fiction story. Most fan fiction stories are borne out of what-if scenarios fans would love to see, but know will never happen. So, some of us write about it instead.

Many fan fiction stories involve pairing up characters romantically that aren’t paired in the original canon. Fans often have other ideas of who should be paired with whom. Other stories involve putting the characters into an alternate universe (AU), where many, or perhaps all things are different.

For example, I have taken characters from the Dragon Age game series and put them into a “modern AU” just to see how the characters would be the same and different based on the new surroundings.

Benefits of Writing Fan Fiction

Writing fan fiction has really helped me improve my writing skills. By writing fan fiction stories and posting them online for others to enjoy, I’ve received a lot of excellent feedback. I know it’s helped me improve some of my flaws as a writer. I’ve improved my overall pacing in my stories, learned how to show, instead of telling my readers what’s going on, and even improved my ability to write action sequences. So when it came time for me to sit down and write my novels, I had a better skill set as a writer that I would have had otherwise.

Another benefit I’ve found in writing fan fiction is having the immediate response from my readers after I post a new chapter of a story. When I’m working on a story, I post each chapter after I’ve completed it, rather than writing it from beginning to end and then posting it. The immediate feedback in terms of hits, likes, and comments on each chapter is very motivating. This has also built up my confidence as a writer, so when it came time to write my novel, I didn’t have nearly as many doubts about my ability to write it as I previously had.

Bottom line, I feel that writing fan fiction can be a great exercise for anyone who wants to become a writer. It’s a great creative outlet, as well as a way to practice your writing skills and play around with different styles without focusing too much on world-building or character-building. The world and characters already exist, you just have to come up with interesting scenarios to put them in.

Have you ever read or written any fan fiction, or have you wanted to? How do you view fan fiction writers?

Writing Erotic Scenes

I’ve seen this question arise frequently in the writers’ groups that I’m in: how do I write an erotic sex scene? The answer may seem obvious to some, but I thought I’d share my approach.

Read

I’d recommend reading erotic stories to see how other people write sex scenes. Some will be well written, some will be poorly written, but it will give you a sense of how such scenes are played out.

I would further recommend focussing your reading on the type of sex scene you want to write. Will your characters be both male? both female? transgender? Do you plan to have more than two people in the scene? Make sure you read scenes that are reflective of the type of scene you want to write.

Imagine

Before you begin writing, try to imagine the entire scene in your head. Who will instigate the action? Will one partner be more dominant than the other? Imagine the feel of their skin touching, how they smell, taste, sound. Don’t just write about the act of sex. Describe them getting undressed, the foreplay, and what happens after (do they cuddle? does one get up to take a shower right away? do they fall asleep in each other’s arms?).

There is so much more to sex than people playing with each other’s genitals, so keep that in mind as you imagine the scene.

Write

Once you have a good grasp on how erotic scenes are written and have imagined the scene you want to write, then the next logical step is to start writing the scene.

When I write a scene I just let the scene I imagined replay in my mind as I write. I try to describe everything as best as I can. When I’m writing, my personal preference is third-person limited, so I will describe the scene from only one character’s point-of-view. I will describe how the other character is reacting to what’s going on (sounds, movements, dialogue), but I try not to hop between the characters’ heads during a scene.

After I’ve written the scene, I go back and re-read it. I check to make sure everything makes sense and that I can still visualize the scene that I wrote the same way I had originally imagined it. During editing, I often will add additional details I may have left out, along with cleaning up all the grammar, spelling and other errors.

That’s my process for writing an erotic sex scene. I hope you found this useful. Please feel free to leave me questions in the comments below if you want more clarification on any particular point.

LGBTQ Love and Inclusion

As a genderqueer individual, I strongly believe that we need more LGBTQ representation in literature. I’ve spent the last three years writing a lot of gay fan fiction stories in a variety of fandoms–from the video game Dragon Age to the TV series Supernatural, Teen Wolf and Merlin.

I had many reasons to write fan fiction. It was a great way for me to improve my writing, while also writing gay storylines that weren’t being included in the fandoms I enjoyed. Many of these fandoms like to tease the possibilities, but then never follow through on it (known as queerbaiting). That’s where fan fiction comes in and helps to imagine those storylines in different ways, and to bring together characters in loving (and yes, sometimes abusive) relationships.

Now that I have gained confidence in my writing, I am branching out and starting to write my own original stories. I am working on my first original gay erotic romance that I’ve titled Coffee-to-Go. I’m hoping to write a sweet love story that begins with a near tragedy. I hope I bring something to my story that appeals to everyone who reads it and I do hope that it may appeal to readers outside of the LGBTQ community. I just want everyone to see how beautiful and natural love between two men can be.