Category Archives: Author Posts

Guest post by A.L. Lester

Taking Stock is a 35,415 word gay romance set mostly in rural England. It’s set on Webber’s Farm, which I first wrote about in Inheritance of Shadows. Inheritance is set in 1919 and is part of my spooky paranormal universe. I based the farm on somewhere I used to know as a child on the Quantock Hills in Somerset and didn’t want to leave after Inheritance. Taking Stock is the result. Although it’s set in the same universe as my other books and some of the same background characters are there, there’s nothing paranormal or suspenseful.

Instead it’s a gentle story about two people who are hurt and angry and tired, who find their way toward each other and help each other heal.

Initially Laurie was going to have a similar chronic condition to me … I have fibromyalgia and seizures … but then just before I actually sat down to get the words out of my head and on to the page, my mama had a very severe stroke. She is in her eighties and has been more or less working her seven acre smallholding singlehandedly for years. Her frustration and anger at her situation translated directly into Laurie as I was writing. So he’s a combination of both my own feelings about my lack of agency through my disability, and hers.

It was a very emotive story for me to write and I hope you enjoy it. Here’s a little deleted scene for you!

“What do you mean, I can’t go home?” Laurie was almost crying with frustration. “I can go home if I like!”

Sally glared at him. “And how are you going to get up and down the stairs? Or even down the hall to the bathroom?” she said. “And wash when you get there? And turn over properly in bed? And what happens if you actually fall out of bed in the night and can’t get up? And come to that, who’s going to take you home, you idiot? You can’t drive!”

He glared back. “I thought that you might!”

“No! Not me!” her glaring was so much better than his.

He pushed against the pillows, but because he was unable to brace properly with his weak leg, he couldn’t make himself sit up any further. She stood up and hauled him forward with competent strength, shoving more pillows behind him to support his bad arm and shoulder. Damn her.

When she sat back down, he lowered his gaze to his lap. His hand lay across his legs, curled and useless. He imagined moving his fingers and he felt it happening in his head. But in his lap, they lay dead and still, obvious betrayers of his helplessness.

“Laurie …” Her voice was kind. “You need to stay in here for a bit and let them help you. They say at least some of the use of your arm and your leg should come back quite quickly, specially if you work at it. And then we can get you back home.”


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Guest post by Ofelia Gränd

Why Quincy Dean is buying Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

I thought I’d drop by today and tell you a little about Quinny, Focus!, my latest story, but mostly about candy.

I’m Swedish, and you might not know this, but Swedes are said to have the highest candy consumption per capita in the world. I admit that I do my share to keep us at the top. My favourite candy is Djungelvrål, and I know you’ve probably never heard of it, but you can find it on Amazon, and if you want to, you can search on YouTube and see people’s reactions to eating it. I’ve done that, checking YouTube that is, so I knew that when Will in Quinny, Focus! was yearning for some sweets, Djungelvrål wasn’t what he was after.

As a writer, you Google a lot of things, and when I say a lot, I mean a lot. So naturally, I Googled, and the most popular candy in the US according to USA Today, is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. And luckily we had some at home! So, everyone in the household got one, and I told them that the characters in my story were having Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and that it’s the most popular candy in the USA — I teach my kids important stuff LOL

When I’d written the story and sent it to my beta readers, one of them got back to me and said Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was her favourite candy, and she’s German. I guess Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have conquered the world. But I dare you all, if you get the chance, try some Djungelvrål.

Continue reading Guest post by Ofelia Gränd

Guest post by Terry O’Reilly

I never intended to be a writer. It never occurred to me, not once, as I was growing up that someday I’d be writing stories that would be published. Yet, here I am today at 78 years old, a published author of several dozen books and short stories. How does something like this happen? It’s a tale that some may find interesting.

Several years ago I discovered a free online site on which amateur writers could post their work. I began reading some of the stories and discovered several by a man named Drew Hunt. I found them to be intriguing, and after reading several of them, I decided to write to him and let him know how much I appreciated his writing. We began a regular correspondence, and we became friends.

He mentioned several times he thought I had a knack for writing, and I should try my hand at it. I was amused by this, for as I said, I never imagined myself as an author. He persisted, however, and so, one Christmas I decided to write a story for him as his Christmas gift. It was about a homeless man taken in by a widower during a snowstorm in the week prior to Christmas. I called it One Night In December. It was more a lark than anything, but I worked hard on it and sent it to him.

Drew liked it and began a campaign to get me to post it on the same site on which he posted his works. It took him a while, but his British bulldog tenacity paid off, and I gave in. The story was about 4,000 words in length and covered four days in the lives of the two main characters. To my surprise, within days of the postings I began to receive emails from readers who not only liked the story, but demanded I tell them more about the lives of the homeless man and his rescuer.

I discussed this turn of events with Drew, and with his help I embarked on my journey to becoming an author. Over the next year or so I expanded my original story to include seven Christmases and the intervening years in the story of David and Andrew.

At first, I stumbled and struggled to find things that I thought might be interesting enough to add to the story. Drew encouraged me to write what I knew, and the story became roughly an autobiography as I included many experiences from my own life with dogs, horses, sports, and coming out to my family. Once again, with each new installment, emails arrived expressing appreciation and curiosity as to what would happen next.

By the time ONID (the acronym for One Night in December Drew and I used when discussing the story) was completed, Drew was encouraging me to try publishing it with a professional company. Was he kidding? It turned out he wasn’t. So, knowing it was useless to argue with him, I embarked on finding a place to submit my story.

Again to my surprise, it was accepted by the first publisher I contacted. They assigned me an editor. Since the story was so long, she suggested it be divided into two books. So it became One Night in December and With These Rings. Eventually a third book was added, The Next Generation. The books sold well, and I went on to write several more over the next couples of years on topics other than the lives of David and Andrew.

Drew then approached me, saying a good friend of his was starting her own publishing company and was interested in having me publish with her. This, of course, was JMS. I was excited to be invited. And so began a very happy and satisfying relationship. I have been writing with JMS for ten years.

Surprise, surprise, I am an author.

P.S. Drew and I are still good friends, and BTW, he’s my editor now as well.

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Guest post by Katharine O’Neill

When did you start writing?
I started writing in school. When I was meant to be studying for my GCSE exams, I was writing a novel. Ended up being about 250,000 words, which I wrote in 7 months. I was pretty proud of it at the time, but looking at it later on I cringed. I had been doing a few segments now and then after watching a TV show or listening to Terry Pratchett, inserting myself into that particular world. Then I studied creative writing in a joint honours degree at university, but I didn’t completely focus on my writing until 5 years after graduation. I had been unemployed for about a year, had a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old, and my partner was going into his first year at university to study mental health nursing. I didn’t want to live off an allowance from his bursary and I decided to do something about it. So I put myself on freelance website Upwork and started looking for work. That was 5 years ago and I’ve ghostwritten at least 500 stories. It gave me the confidence to push forward my own work to be published, which finally happened with JMS Books in 2018.

How do you come up with titles and ideas?
Titles I struggle with. Sometimes it comes to me, but other times I have no idea until the story’s written. Those are not easy to come up with. Ideas are a different matter. With my first book A Day to Remember, I used a segment of a consumer show we have over here in the UK as the body of the story, and it worked. I’ve had people asking if I’m going to make it into a series – that I haven’t got sorted yet. Maybe once I’m completely self-publishing and not needing to be reliant on ghostwriting for my income. Now I mix and match tropes or ideas from shows, put them into a little box and then draw each one out as a lucky dip. That works when I’ve got a lot on and I’ve been given free rein of the plot.

Describe a typical writing day.
I get up about 7:30 and get the kids ready for school. We only live a 5-minute walk, so it doesn’t take long to sort them out. I drop them off and come back, which is when I set up in the living room. I try to work between 9 am and 3 pm, but that can often be 9 am to 12 pm depending on mood/motivation/distraction. Then I pick the kids up from school, get them dinner and make sure they know what I look like before I put them to bed. After that, I’m writing from when they go to bed until about midnight. Because of the amount of work I put on myself, it means working practically every day, although I’ve made sure now that Sunday is my day off. Until the kids go to bed. With the pandemic, it’s bits and pieces while I attempt to keep to the same routine.

What is the most difficult part of writing?
Keeping yourself motivated. You get to a point in the story that you don’t want to do but it has to be there. Something else gets very interesting. I also have some undiagnosed issues that have me wanting things in a very set way and if I get distracted in the slightest from what I’m doing, I can’t get back into it and that’s the rest of the day off-balance. I like to think I’m good with change, but I don’t think I am really.

You write both straight and LGBT romances. What’s your preference?
I’m not fussed with either. I do like to write LGBT because it’s something different. I like my women to be confident and my men to be manly in straight romances, and I bring that to my LGBT romances.

Quickfire Questions
Hobbies: Watching horror video games played by Youtuber CJUGames. He’s freaking awesome! The game Outlast was an inspiration to one of my stories with another publisher.

Favourite food: Depends on my mood. Although KFC will always be among the favourites.

Which 3 people would you have for dinner: Thomas Cromwell (he’s actually distantly related to me by marriage, plus my favourite person in history), Sir Tony Robinson (love his documentaries and his passion for history) and comedian Steve Hofstetter (his quick wit is something to behold).

Best part of the day: Having cuddles with my two little monkeys.

Sports: I play field hockey for Derby Hockey Club, and I also swim for Etwall Masters. I’m aiming to compete at national level and/or international level in a few years as a veteran.

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Guest post by Davina Lee

Hook ‘em! And reel ‘em in.

Hello gentle reader. Davina Lee here, taking over the JMS blog. Today, I want to use my five-hundred words to discuss “the hook.”

What is this hook?

The hook is what catches your reader’s attention and makes them want more. It’s that invaluable first impression. Done well, it keeps the pages turning. Done poorly, and the book is set aside to collect dust.

Here’s a few examples of hooks I’ve used:

“Oh Mistress, I love your fingers in my pussy!” — From Girl Friday (on Literotica under my WaxPhilosophic pen name).

“I was raised by my maternal grandparents, after my mother proved she wasn’t up to the task by bleeding out all over their guestroom bed.” — From The Future in Our Stars (a JMS Books Publishing Partner release).

“In the beginning there was the Great Tree, the tree that existed long before the hands of time were set in motion, and longer still than even the most distant relations of humankind had crawled forth from the primordial ooze to stand upright and walk upon the land.” — From Dance Until the World Ends (Coming in September from JMS Books).

These are the first lines from three very different types of stories. My hope is that each one of these lines reached out, grabbed you by the collar and screamed, “This is what kind of story I am. Read me, dammit!”

The first: Dominance and submission hinted at by the word Mistress. A female/female relationship. Lots of hot action by the way she’s carrying on about being stimulated.

The second: You may have to guess the genre from the title, but the first line should have you sitting up in your seat, saying, “Oh, my!” and wondering just what happened.

The third: With all the mystic stuff about The Great Tree, you might guess some sort of fantasy. You would be correct. Just a bit later, the first line of chapter one reads, “A bomb blast rumbled in some distant tunnel — the third one this week.” With these two sentences, you’d better be thinking Dystopian Fantasy, or I haven’t done my job.

Do your hooks have to be this intense and right up front? No. But, don’t spend too much time wandering around the garden before you find the corpse in the flowerbed (if murder mysteries are your thing.)

Your readers’ time is precious. Don’t make them wade through one-hundred pages to decide that the book is interesting.

“But what about [insert your favorite classic novel here]?” you ask. It meanders all over the place.

The key word here is classic. You’re reading it based on its proven popularity. Until you get to that point in your writing career, you’re just another genre fiction writer, cranking out pulp novels.

And that’s fine. Embrace it. Genre fiction pulls in a lot of money. So suck those readers in with your finely crafted hook. Plant a seed in their head that they can’t shake loose until the final chapter. Keep those pages turning.

Hook ‘em! And reel ‘em in.

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