Category Archives: Author Posts

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.

Save 40% off all my ebooks today only!

We’re giving away a free ebook every day this month! Starting tomorrow, one winner will be drawn daily. So enter to win today!

Guest post by Sharon Maria Bidwell

We’re celebrating a decade in publishing from JMS. Looking back led me to one of my past creations so I hope you enjoy this character interview written not just for amusement. Character interviews can be research and development devices for writers. Here’s a chat I had with Jay Reid from my Snow Angel trilogy, which took place between book 2 and 3.

* * * *

In the realm of the imagination, anything is possible. Jay won’t know I’m here until I let him. Readers want this interview, but he’s preoccupied, delving into a box, pulling out an old textbook. Dean used to help him with his homework. What would he think, to see Jay flipping to the back page where, amongst the scribbling most students do, three letters stand out, darker than the other doodles: J4D?

Determined to pin him down, I take the book and trace the letters with a fingertip. “Weren’t you worried about April discovering this? Dean? Another classmate?”

“All the above.” Jay’s coy smile doesn’t hide his amusement.

“When did you know you loved him?”

“How old must one be?”

A good question. “You couldn’t have foreseen a time you’d get together.”

“No.” The paltry word says much, his tone melancholy, disbelieving. “I often feel I’m dreaming. I keep thinking I can’t possibly be this lucky.”

“Lucky? Some would say Dean is the type of luck they can do without.”

“And I’m tired of hearing crap from people who don’t know him.”

I blink. This is hardly the quiet Jay we know and love, although his manner reminds me he can also be vocal.

“No one gets it,” he mutters.

“So explain.”

“Why should we?” He looks up, everything about his posture screaming defiance. “I know what people think of Dean but they just don’t get him. Yes, half the time he’s oblivious. He doesn’t realise anything he says might hurt another person’s feelings.”

“You call this defending him?” I fail to tone down the sarcasm.

Jay laughs. “He’s oblivious because he can’t imagine anything he says being that important. He knows he’s good-looking. Deep down he sees that as superficial.”

“Many would call Dean a superficial person.”

“He’s not. Yes, he lives for fun because it’s easier and why shouldn’t he? Dean didn’t need anything else … until now. He didn’t have a reason to be serious.”

“And now he does?”

“You can’t get much more serious than this for Dean. This isn’t easy for him. I understand why he’s confused. I couldn’t believe it myself at first, but Dean loves me, wouldn’t want to change a thing about me.” He sounds pleased with that last statement. “April once accused him of being happy to screw any orifice and if marooned on a desert island with nothing but men, I couldn’t see him going without for too long. He’d screw a passing –”

I hold up a hand, not wanting to go with the image of what might be passing; Jay’s quietly laughing.

“Sex is just sex in Dean’s eyes. Love … love is something else. He loves me because I’m the one person who sees him for what he is, and I love what I see and accept him without question. If I can do that for him, he wants to do the same for me.”

“And who is he?”

“You already know, more than anyone. He’s insecure, vulnerable, has a temper. He can sulk, be sullen, likes to tease to the point of being spiteful. Crosses the line.”

I give him an expressive look. “And these are his good points?”

“Sure, he goes too far, says things he doesn’t mean, then regrets the hurt the moment he’s caused it. It’s a protective mechanism, self-preservation. He’s got a soft heart, an aggressive sense of justice. Decides something is right or wrong and sticks to it. He’s loyal. Will defend someone he cares about to the end. He’s passionate about life, sex, people he loves, can be amazingly affectionate. Dean looks at me as though he can’t believe he’s this lucky, when all the time I’m thinking the same about him. What amazes me is so many others can’t see these things. So, it’s down to me and I end up defending him.” Jay pauses. “It will be a long haul for us.”

I hate to ask, because I can’t imagine these two not being together now, and because some readers would love me to revisit them indefinitely, but I don’t see a reason, for that requires more conflict and surely they’ve been through enough. “Do you think you two will make it?”

It’s Jay’s turn to be surprised. “Dean hasn’t gone through all this to give up now and neither have I.”

“Still, you’ve grown up with prejudice. Dean is new to it and has more stacked against him. There are those who can’t believe he’s in a relationship with another man, those who don’t believe he’s serious, and those who don’t want you with him.”

Jay’s reply sounds like the most natural and obvious thing in the world. “I’ve got the one person I always wanted. My feelings have never diminished. I don’t doubt Dean for a minute.” Certainty makes his eyes shine. “We’re stronger together, but Dean is as strong as I make him. I won’t let anyone come between us, and neither will he.”

Oddly, I share his confidence. Some relationships may seem out of the ordinary, but they defy explanation, the odds, and what everyone else wants to make of them.

* * * *

Save 40% off all my ebooks today only!

We’re giving away a free ebook every day this month! Starting tomorrow, one winner will be drawn daily. So enter to win today!

Guest post by Tom Munroe

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

They come from a variety of sources. My first book, Not On My Bucket List, was based on an online conversation with someone in another country that got me thinking, “What if?” My third book, I Love You Ten Million Times Over, actually came to me in a dream.

And the exotic locations for your stories? Have you visited them?

Yes. I want my readers to be taken on a certain amount of fantasy, setting my books in locales, sometimes exotic, that they may not have visited. I also hope that in this way they will learn about people in other countries, how they live, how they think.

And you also seem to set your books against current events.

Definitely. They may be fiction, but I want them to have a relevance to today, to events we may still be dealing with.

Immigrants and immigrant’s rights seems to be a recurring theme with you.

Absolutely. I am never shy about reminding people that we are a nation of immigrants.

What do you want readers to take away from your books, remember about them?

That love can be found anywhere. It crosses international borders, different cultures. And that there is an absolute worth to every individual.

Here is an excerpt from the book I am currently working on, High Water Mark, set amid the historic floods in Venice in 2019.

Continue reading Guest post by Tom Munroe

Guest post by Thomas Grant Bruso

The Meditation of Writing

My first venture into book publishing happened on October 5, 2014. My romance short story, A Light in the Dark, was accepted by LGBT publisher JMS Books. Unbeknownst to me, over the next three years, that single story would find a new life with readers and be shaped into a trilogy series.

Skip to three years later, and I am still writing and publishing for JMS Books. I’ve watched my growth as a writer develop gradually, interestingly over the years, trying to top myself, and work harder on the next story, or to experiment with syntax, narrative, and structure — all the important elements for a writer.

Words on a page have always fascinated me. Reading and writing are a lot like breathing and eating and sleeping. Writing is a survival mechanism for the mind and body. Writing is my therapy, even among the most difficult days when I’m sitting in front of a blank screen, uncertain how the day’s work will turn out or if I’ll be able to write anything at all. Writing challenges me, brings me joy, angers me. But I need it.

In 2018, I wrote a novella called Jay Bird about two young men, Jay and Rocco, and followed them through their high school adolescence, the ups and downs of their tough teenage years, and watched as they struggled with every aspect of their lives from friendship, sexuality, and self-acceptance. Now, in 2020, I continue their story with a sequel called The Unbroken Circle, which will be published August 2020 by JMS Books.

Since childhood, I’ve turned to books for support, courage, faith, entertainment, self-help. All those words: they enlighten, educate, engage. Words and books are a powerful booster for self-expression. Entitlement. A writer’s healthy morale.

At the end of the day, I know I am lucky to be able to do what I do. I do not take any of it for granted, the writing, or when a story is accepted for publication. It is all fleeting: here today, forgotten tomorrow.

Enjoy the journey, somebody once told me. Don’t take it seriously. Accept rejections as a stepping stone to the next best thing. Work hard. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. If you want to be a writer, then do it. Write. Don’t wait for the literally muse to tap you on the shoulder.

Keep at it. Do not give up.

We’re giving away a free ebook every day this month! Starting tomorrow, one winner will be drawn daily. So enter to win today!

Guest post by Kris T. Bethke

Happy Anniversary to JMS Books! Ten years is quite an accomplishment, and I feel honored to be one of the many authors whose works are published here. I’m in very good company if I do say so myself. With JMS Books, you know you’re always going to get great queer stories.

I got my start writing way back in fifth grade, but it wasn’t until I found M/M romance (back in 2009) that I finally found my niche. I’ve been published now for almost seven years, and a good chunk of those years have been here at JMS. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to try my work, I offer you this exclusive flash fic so you can try my style on for size. My entire backlist is published here, so you can jump in and pick up any of my titles right through the site, on sale today!. (And hey, if I’m not to your liking, there are plenty of other authors to choose from!)


Continue reading Guest post by Kris T. Bethke