Today’s guest is CL Etta, author of several MM novels including Hound and Harmony. Cl Etta will be at GRL this year as a supporting author and I look very much forward to meeting her in person. Without further ado, here is CL Etta discussing how she got into writing and the bumps (and peaks) she has reached along the way.
Good morning. I hope everyone’s day has started with a bang. My thanks to Elle for her generosity inviting me to contribute to her blog. It’s hard to believe, but I began my writer’s journey in 2015. I had retired from the workforce, and Candy Crush was beginning to bore me, so I took a creative writing class at our community college. I had an enlightening time while renewing an interest in storytelling I thought had died forty years ago. Then, we went on vacation and I spent hours reading.
When we returned home, my fingers were itching to start a story I had rattling around in my brain. Kevin, Raphael and Robbie were born. They refused to go away nor believe I wasn’t a writer. I stayed up many nights until three a.m. putting their words to paper. Okay, since this is the twenty-first century, I was keyboarding like a madwoman to get their voices into my computer and saved in a cloud. By the way I still haven’t figured out where that cloud resides. The point is, they did not let me rest until I had told their stories. Book one of the series I envisioned was completed.
When finally the manuscript was ready and edited with the help of a brilliant family member, I sent it off to a publisher while I continued writing book two. Publisher One promptly turned it down without explanation. Okay, I expected that. I sent it to another who did the same. Not surprised at all. I anticipated running the gamut of publishers before finding a home. Off to a third publisher who without surprise turned it down. But, and this is a big one, gave me feedback. I didn’t know the rules of genre writing, still break them in fact, but I had started my story with my characters too young for the YA genre. Even though they aged through the storyline, they weren’t right for the “adult” line.
So what I did was take parts of that first manuscript and combine it with the one I was working on, and Heartache and Hope was the result. It’s been a year since Pride Publishing took a chance on me and published the book. Since then we’ve brought you Heart and Home and Hound and Harmony.
Of the three book, Hound and Harmony is my favorite. While the first two books were about Kevin and Raphael, the third book follows Robbie as he learns to live on his own away from Kevin. We’ve seen Robbie grow from troubled rent boy, to a successful musician but living in Kevin’s shadow. In Hound and Harmony, we follow his travels from Las Vegas, to San Francisco, to Okanogan Washington and on to his hometown at the source of the Columbia river in Canada. He’s looking to find himself, but along the way, he encounters Cassidy, a sexy retired Army Master Sergeant, who earned the nickname Hound long before he met Kevin.
The reason this is my favorite of the three books is Hound. His voice is distinctive and the best characterization I’ve written to date. I hope that other’s will agree with me. Although Hound and Harmony is the third in the trilogy, it can certainly stand alone.
The book and the others can be found at these fine e-book retailers.
In addition to the Beyond Heartache trilogy, I’ve also written and had published by Dreamspinner Press another book dear to my heart. Love’s Tethered Heart. I drew on my experience as a nursing home nurse to write this one. It’s the story of Mico who’s quadriplegic and tethered to his bed by the mechanics keeping him alive. He meets Danny, a reporter whose assignment is to discover why Mico won’t name the people who attacked him, stealing his life and mobility. It’s heartbreaking, heartwarming and life affirming.
I also wrote and self-published Darken Not My Soul which is about Adrian and Randy, two of the characters from Love’s Tethered Heart.
Currently I’m about to finish up what began as a science fiction short story but quickly evolved into a full-blown novel. It’s a challenge, but I was so excited about meeting it, I set aside the other two manuscripts I was working on to bring Transcending Phoenix to life.
Although I still feel like the new girl on the block, it’s been a busy and fascinating journey into the world of writing and publishing. To have written four books and had them published within two years of opening my computer is mind boggling. I consider myself very blessed to have this opportunity But what is more spectacular is the chance to connect with people from all corners of the globe, and to meet and make new friends.
In the fall, I’m attending my second Gay Romance Literature retreat in Denver. I look forward to meeting a lot of you. You can find me at the supporting author’s tables on Thursday and Friday, so stop by and say hi. If you miss me there, you’re sure to see me in the bar sipping martinis. Take a seat and we can talk about why we believe in Love For Everyone.