Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Spotlight and Giveaway~ CJane Elliott's Wild and Precious

Remember to enter the giveaway at the end of the post to be in the running for an e-copy of CJane's books. Tour is hosted by Pride Promotions.

Check out what I asked CJane Elliott....

Can you tell us a little about yourself?  I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and son. I grew up in the Washington, DC, area. I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and have had a private psychotherapy practice in the past. Currently I work for a Home Health/Hospice organization as a Medical Social Worker. I love dancing, music, films, and books. I used to lead courses on personal effectiveness all over the U.S. and Canada., but I’m happy now to be staying in one place, writing, working, dancing, and hanging out with my family and friends.

What started your interest in writing? I made up stories all the time as a child and started writing them down as a preteen. When I was 12 or 13, I wrote a racy tale about a girl who went to a boy-girl party and “all the other girls’ blouses were off.” My girl got herself out of the situation. I even illustrated it! Unfortunately for my muse, my older brother found the story and read it out loud at the family dinner table, and I stopped writing fiction for years and years. I was busy doing other things. About five years ago, I stumbled across fanfiction after falling in love with a singer, and something got stirred up in my soul. It started me writing again and gave me the connection to a community of writers and readers. I have two novels, four novellas, and a short story published through Dreamspinner Press.

What is your book about?  Wild and Precious is a contemporary, new adult novella set in Washington, DC. The main theme is the importance of figuring out what one’s life is about. The quotation that the title is taken from is from a Mary Oliver poem, The Summer’s Day, the last line of which is: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? This is the question that the main character Brent confronts over and over in the story, as he finds the courage to explore his sexuality, come out to his family, and pursue his dream of going to graduate school in creative writing. Along the way, Brent gets involved with Cody, a bisexual musician who helps initiate him into the world of gay sex. But there’s also Brent’s gay boss, Graham, with whom Brent gets closer and closer. In the end, Brent has to discover where his heart lies.

What are you currently working on? I’m currently writing the third novel in The Serpentine Series, which are stories set at the University of Virginia. They are stand-alone stories with some recurring characters. In the first novel, Serpentine Walls, Pete Morgan, the main character, is dallying with a number of guys, having decided he’s not interested in love. Pete starts a “friends with benefits” thing with Jed, a sweet sophomore jock, which ultimately proves dissatisfying to both of them. My third novel features Jed as the main character and Charlie, the biracial “townie” (not a University student) that he falls in love with. It also features a transgender black woman who is Charlie’s cousin.

What genres do you write in? Contemporary is my genre, although I did make a foray into urban fantasy with my short story, Stepping Through. I love to read mysteries, but I’ve never tried to write one! So far in the contemporary genre, I’ve written mostly college-aged and twenty-somethings. I’d like to write some older characters and also some YA at some point.

Is there anything you will never write about? I probably will never write main character death or on-page abuse or violence. I won’t write a book where there’s no hope of redemption, because even though my characters can be clueless, lost, and sometimes unlikeable, I believe they can grow and gain self-awareness and that this is the key to their finding love.

Is there anything you would tell aspiring writers? Keep writing and don’t stop until you’ve got a first draft. As Anne Lamott says, it’s going to be a “shitty first draft” but that’s how it’s supposed to be. So even if the little voice in your head is saying “this is utter crap” with every word you write, keep writing. Once you have your first draft, you can make it better. The other advice I’d give is to find other writers/readers who will read your work and give feedback. Use them to get better. I’m the writer I am today because of the generous people around me who read and critique my writing. I love my Dreamspinner editors!  p.s. I just went on Twitter and saw this latest nuggest of wisdom from Anne Lamott: @ANNELAMOTT  
You don't have to write, no one cares if you do, & you won't be remembered. But if something inside won't let you off the hook, just do it.

If you write a series do you reread your previous books before you begin the new one?  For my Serpentine Series, I read and refer to the previous books often, especially when dealing with the same timeframe and events from a new main character’s point of view.

When writing, how do you keep track of timelines, ideas, inspiration and such? By notes on the computer, a notebook perhaps? I do a timeline/outline in a Word file and update it as the story changes and grows. I also have a journal and I write out ideas for what’s happening in the story. For the Serpentine Series I have a white board display of timelines for several of the main characters and secondary characters across all the novels, so I can keep track of their life events and see intersections of events between different characters.

I’m always looking for book recommendations. What books have you been reading? Would you recommend them? I just got a Kindle this year and so I’m catching up on loads of e-books. One writer in the m/m genre I absolutely love is Eli Easton – her Sex in Seattle series is great and so are her other novellas. I also just read all of Skyler Cates’ The Guy Series books and really enjoyed them. Something both these writers have in common is humor. I just love a writer who does humor well. Another book I’m sure everyone has already read that had me laughing so hard is TJ Klune’s Tell Me It’s Real. For well-written books that are more serious, I have loved all the K.Z. Snow books I’ve read. Other than m/m books, I’m currently reading Elizabeth George’s latest mystery novel from her Inspector Lynley series. Intelligently written, intricate, fascinating psychological studies, and characters whose story arcs she’s continuing throughout the series. If you haven’t read her, pick up the first book. You’ll be hooked.

Wild and Precious by CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Blurb(s): Aspiring writer Brent Granger has good friends and a great job at an arts magazine in DC, but he’s batting zero in the arena of love. Brent begins to get a clue why things aren’t working with women from his strong attraction to his gorgeous, gay, and already attached boss, Graham Stoneford.  When he sees a personal ad from a man that quotes his favorite poet, Brent decides to do something wild and answer.

Enter Cody Bellstrom, easygoing bisexual musician, who is happy to initiate Brent in the ways of gay sex. Brent now has a new problem: he realizes he’s gay and no one in his life knows it. Cody tires of hiding their relationship, but Brent finds it challenging to come out to family, friends, and especially to Graham. In the end, Brent must confront the truth of where – and with whom – his heart lies.

Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

Excerpt: As Brent sat cross-legged on a pillow, tearing pieces off the rubbery bread and dipping them into various dishes he couldn’t identify, he realized he was having more fun than he’d had in ages. Along with being thoughtful and smart, Graham was one of the most hilarious people he’d ever met, and Brent was in stitches for most of their lunch.
“If only my dates could be like this,” Brent said, after another bout of laughter between them, then widened his eyes. “Oh, wow, man, that sounded dumb.”
Graham didn’t seem fazed. “They’re not? But why? You’re so fun to talk to. Any woman would be nuts not to appreciate you.”
“Uh, well, tell them that. But I guess I don’t really appreciate them either. I don’t know, it’s like, awkward and boring most of the time. Whatever. Ari keeps trying to set me up, but…. Anyway, how did this get into talking about my love life, or lack thereof?”
Graham regarded him, warmth in his eyes, and said softly, “You’ll find it, Brent. Everyone deserves to have love in their life. You’re young. You’ll find it.”
Graham’s words touched Brent, but the intensity of the moment made him uncomfortable. Even worse, he noticed he was getting aroused.
He shifted on his pillow with a weak laugh. “Hey, no more of this ‘young’ crap, okay? You’re not that much older than I am.”

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About the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn't looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of gay equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

Where to find the author:  CJane at cjaneelliott@gmail.com. Her website is http://www.cjaneelliott.com. Twitter: https://twitter.com/CJaneElliott and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cjane.elliott

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SM Zeoanne said...

Thank you so much for the great interview, I truly enjoyed it especially your suggestions to aspiring writers. Much success with your newest release!
taina1959 @ yahoo.com

Gigi D said...

Hi! Sounds like a great story!

Ashley E said...

A new-to-me author, and this book sounds great! Wild and Precious is going to have to go on my TBR.