Category Archives: Author Posts

Guest post by Dianne Hartsock

Happy 10 year anniversary to JMS Books! Thanks for stopping by today. Nicolas is my first story with JMS Books, and I’m really excited to be part of this amazing group of writers. Today, I’d like to tell you a little about my writing process.

Did you know that for my day job I work as a floral designer? I do! And I’ve recently realized that I approach a new design much the way I tackle a new story. I look over the selection of flowers I have available, deciding on colors and textures, which flower will be my focal point, which will be the accent flowers. In much the same way I choose my characters. Who is my main character? Who are the supporting characters? Best friend? Antagonist? Love interest?

Then I pick the vase and start my base of greens, usually Oregonia, myrtle, leather fern. This is my first chapter that I build the rest of my story on, a sound foundation of prominent characters and a hint at the storyline.

Next, I make my structure using curly willow or red huck and add laterals: gladiolas, liatris, bells of Ireland, any tall straight flowers that give the design height and depth. A lot like plotting a story! After I have my first chapter in, I take a little time to jot down a loose outline, where I want the story to go, a mid-point, the ending I’m aiming for, when I want certain characters to be introduced, what happens when, so to speak. But like my flower arrangement, I can pick up and move these flowers/characters/scenes, anywhere I want them.

Here is when I add the color, the heart of the design, the essence of the story. I set my focal flowers where they look best, adding another two or three colors/textures to bring the structure and flowers together into a beautiful, unique design for others to enjoy. Same with my stories. I start writing, building one scene onto another, adding my colorful LGBTQ+ characters like bright splashes of color, plot twists, heartache, happiness, as needed, until the story winds to its ending, leaving me something I can be proud of and share with my readers.

I used this technique while writing my story Nicolas, pulling in elements from all over, weaving them together. I’ve combined the legends of St. Nicolas and Krampus, having the Krampus chase Nico through the centuries, bent on revenge and punishment for a crime Nico committed against him ages ago. Nico travels the world spreading the word of tolerance and love and peace, with Krampus coming after him undoing all his good work. This is a story of how Nico stops running and confronts his nemesis. With the help of his lover, Jamie, he finds the courage to at last bring his conflict with the Krampus to an end. But first Nico must learn to forgive himself, the hardest task of all.

Thanks for stopping in! You’ll find an excerpt from Nicolas below, and also be sure to grab a copy of my FREE story, Off Sides. Happy Reading!

Continue reading Guest post by Dianne Hartsock

Guest post by S. Park

They say to write what you know. I never wanted to write about my life, though. My mother was always trying to get me to read her favorite true-life stories and “realistic” dramas, but why would I want to read about people who live through everyday things? Why would I want to write about the boring, mundane life I was already living? I read books as an escape, and I write for more of the same. If I want reality, it’s all around me, and it’s often not all that much fun.

So I wrote — and still write! — stories about werewolves, vampires, magical dragon queens, and other things far, far removed from the stress and the dullness of my everyday life.

Reality, though, kept creeping in. Characters were inspired by real people I knew. Real events informed the way werewolves or vampires interacted. The first time I wrote about heartbreak was after my own first breakup. It didn’t really matter that the fictional character feeling the pain was a lost dragon princess, the heartbreak was my own.

The best stories, it turns out, are ones with little bits of reality injected into them, and the best characters are fundamentally human, even when they have fur or fangs or scales.

Life sometimes imitates fiction, though, just as much as good fiction imitates life.

I’d been writing stories of happy gay men together for years and years before I realized they had anything to do with me. I was in a wonderful relationship with a man who is now my husband, but I myself was obviously a woman. My books were all published under “Stephanie Park,” after all, the name I’d gone by all my life. And yet somehow I could never get into the head of a female protagonist in quite the same way, no matter how I tried. All my favorite self-insert characters kept being men. How strange!

It took years, but eventually the truth dawned on me. It took years more to be comfortable with admitting to it in public, but eventually I channeled at least some of my new understanding into my stories, including into Three of Hearts, whose protagonist, Noah, is a trans man.

Cutting ties with “Stephanie” has been hard, especially given that all my publicity, and all my published books and stories so far were under that name! Though of course some of the more personal parts of this journey have been even harder.

I’m publishing now as S. Park, though, and amusing myself by insisting people pronounce it “spark.” As I continue to write, I continue to find ways in which my real life fits into my escapist fantasies, and ways in which my fantasies come around again to my life. It’s been quite a journey, and I’m sure there’s still a long ways to go!

Save 40% off all my ebooks today only, as both Stephanie Park and S. Park.

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Guest post by Kassandra Lea

Let me start off by saying I never intended to write gay romance. I’ve always been more of an urban fantasy type of girl. But between watching my friend RJ be judged for his relationship and stumbling upon slash fanfiction, well, here I am now. That’s where I got my start, shipping some of my favorite characters from TV shows like Psych, CSI Miami, and House.

Even then, I tended to avoid the naughtier scenes that would bridge the gap between sweet to steamy. Though I’ve written a few erotic pieces over the years (and greatly enjoy my little visits with Flynn and Samuel!) I find I’m more interested in stories involving a deeper emotional aspect to the relationship.

And it wasn’t until I discovered the term asexual that pieces began to fall into place. My teen years were spent reading every book I could get from the library, writing whatever popped into my head, playing video games, hanging with my older brother and his friend, and down at the stable. Chasing boys was the farthest thing from my mind. Not being interested in women, I often wondered where exactly I stood.

What was wrong with me?

While I search for that special connection most people want, there are certain aspects to relationships that aren’t overly important to me. Discovering asexuality and graysexuality opened my eyes. I finally found people like me! But the more I’ve delved into this community, I have found the same concern voiced over and over again; where’s our representation? In recent years, any aspect of asexuality that’s popped up in pop culture is usually erased by the character suddenly falling in to a relationship or their asexuality is written off as a choice of celibacy. And unfortunately, that’s the lighter side of what asexuals, graysexuals, and even aromantics have faced.

There are even those in the LGBTQA+ (by the way, notice the ‘A’? Guess what it stands for!) that say we don’t belong. I’ve struggled to explain to guys what it means to be ace and it seems hard for them to wrap their head around. Mostly because nobody discusses it.

Therefore I’ve subtly shifted my focus and the voice of my characters. I want to write characters like new. I want to read about people who experience love the way I do. Because I never had that in my formative years. So maybe I never set out to write romance (why do we have to call it gay or queer romance, isn’t love just love?), but maybe this is where I’ve always meant to be and I’m perfectly fine with it.

Save 40% off all my ebooks today only!

Also, save 40% off books by Shawn Lane, too!

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 A.F. Henley

Hello, all! I’d like start by offering my heartfelt congratulations to JMS Books on an impressive decade of continued growth and success, with my sincere hopes that there are many more decades to follow. Félicitations, JMS! Tous mes compliments.

From what I’ve seen in the indie publication industry, there is no guaranteed recipe for success. It takes a huge amount of willpower, determination, and drive, not to mention a whole lot of luck. But it also takes empathy, consideration, and a strong desire to take on someone else’s dream as your own. It means putting faith in another person’s vision, and offering them support in fulfilling those goals. It also means doing everything possible to gently guide and develop those ideas into something better than they started out as. That is no small feat, and one that I feel is worthy of my respect and appreciation. Thank you, JMS.

2020 has been a year of heartache, loss, confusion, and frustration. As we’ve done so many times before, our community has rallied together to offer up all the support and love that we can. Yet for every step forward, there seems to have been three steps backward. Be it illness, riots, or just the sheer lack of respect humanity can have for one another, it feels like the wheels of progress aren’t just grinding slowly, but that they might have slipped into reverse. In 1969 the LGTBQ+ community stood up and said they weren’t going to take any more of the bullshit and brought the fight for inclusion and human rights out into the streets. It’s been five decades since then, yet there are still people and communities who are fighting for their right to exist or to love.

And that right there, beyond the effort put into a business and on a much higher level of expectation than mere profit, is the true importance of what distributors like JMS are doing for our community. Because while every story — no, every word — that we write with respect to romance under the LGBTQ+ umbrella is one more step at normalizing love beyond the borders of cis expectations, every one that actually gets published shines a spotlight on the validity of the fact that love truly is love, regardless of whom loves who or how their parts fit together. It reminds the world that we all deserve the love we need to make us feel whole because it sets our stories up there alongside all the other ones, where they belong. It cements the idea that intimacy between consenting adults comes in many different examples of desire — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Our stories, our love, and our experiences are beautiful. Thank you, JMS, for giving our community a platform to not only display and explore the brilliance of the entire rainbow, but to share it with others who feel the same way that we do.

Happy anniversary, JMS! Bonne chance pour l’avenir!

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 Kim Davis

Hello, everyone! My blog post today is primarily an excerpt from my work in progress, tentatively titled Thorns in My Side, that tells the story of two brothers, Caleb and Jacob (Jake) Thorn, and their relationships with each other and those around them. In the excerpt below, Tim is Tim Whittaker, Jake’s best friend, and Jenna is Jenna Riley, Jake’s fiancée.

I hope everyone is staying safe during this pandemic. Take care.

Continue reading Guest post by Kim Davis