Three weeks in a row! That makes it a trend.

1. Reading! I read a couple of novellas this week and I will eventually finish Game of Thrones. I am so looking forward to my upcoming vacation; I want to just lay around and read for a week.

2. Doing! Last weekend, I went to a local Romance Writers of America meeting. I’ve been a member of the NYC chapter for, like, a year and a half, but always have schedule conflicts, so I never go. Last Saturday, I had no other plans, so I went to the meeting. I’m super glad I did for a couple of reasons, but most relevant to your interests is that Tere Michaels was the guest speaker, and you guys, she is fabulous. She did a workshop on writing strong secondary characters that I greatly enjoyed.

The other significant thing is that I made a more firm decision to go to the RT Booklovers Convention next year, and somehow Damon Suede telling me over dinner that I should do a panel has led to my writing TWO workshop proposals. So we’ll see how that works out. Either way, everyone I’ve talked to has enthused about how great this convention is, so I really want to go.

3. Thinking! A few people have theorized that J.R. Ward’s upcoming m/m book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is going to make m/m as a genre really explode. I wonder about that. I think there’s still enough homophobia in the world that m/m won’t, at least not in the near future, take off the way erotic romance has in the wake of 50 Shades. But one thing I’ve talked to other authors about is availability. How many people who might otherwise be interested in the genre don’t know about it? Will more exposure translate into a lot of new sales? Which authors will be successful? Will there be a glut of J.R. Ward knock-offs? Will the cream rise to the top? It’s both exciting and terrifying!

I, by the way, purchased the first book in that J.R. Ward series and I plan to read it while I’m on vacation. A friend and I have been talking about it for a while, wanting to see what all the buzz is about. I don’t read a lot of paranormals, but the last time I went on vacation, I read, like, six Sookie Stackhouse books, so Vampire Vacation 2 it is!

4. Writing! I had an idea for a story yesterday. I promise I’m not a crazy person, but I’ve had this character kicking around in my head for a couple of weeks and couldn’t figure out what to do with him, and then suddenly BAM! Yesterday I got it. The last few books I’ve finished have been out of my usual scope—the ghosts in Across the East River Bridge, the setting research I had to do for Out in the Field, the fantasy thing I’m working on now, even my newest Four Corners is set in Chicago instead of New York—and part of me wants to do a straight-up (but not straight, har har) contemporary set in Brooklyn, and I finally figured out how to plop this character into it. So, on the first page, he loses his job and his apartment through circumstances of his own making, and he has to figure out how to change and grow and make a new life for himself. Possibly there’s a hot blond guy with his own issues to help lead the way.

I’m hesitant to talk too much about the fantasy thing I’m working on because I haven’t sold it yet, but I’m revising it right now based on some editorial feedback, and that’s probably what I’ll be working on most of the weekend. Calling it “fantasy” is probably a misnomer; when I workshopped it with my writers group, which is about 60% fantasy writers, they were like, “Oh, honey, this is not fantasy, this is romance.” I was like, “I know, but weird shit happens, so it has fantasy elements.” They seemed unconvinced, but the book has Celtic gods and reincarnation and magical objects, and those are not things you usually find in a standard contemporary romance.

5. Other! Not a lot of news to report this week. I sent first edits of Four Corners back to the publisher on Sunday. I think we’ll have cover art soon—I saw a mock-up and I love it, it’s very much to my design tastes.

Next, it’s Swag Design Time. I’m doing some local events in August and September and then GayRomLit, so I need bookmarks and postcards and things. Pens, probably. Stickers, people like stickers. Also, and this is so obvious I’m embarrassed it took me a long time to come up with it, baseball cards for Matt and Iggy, because duh. (I’ve got a template designed, I just have to find photos and then get them printed—if anyone knows a company that will print trading cards PLEASE TELL ME. Neither of the printers I use regularly do anything in the right size.)