Reflecting On March 2015… Gay For Pay?

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It’s been a good month. Me and my civilly partnered boyfriend upgraded to a marriage. Wedding 2.0. We kept it to just me and him signing a form then grabbing a pretentious burger and milk shake. Much easier than our civil partnership. That was a great day with friends and family but felt pretty full on, this was much more our laid back uninclusive lifestyle. I didn’t really appreciate how good it would feel to be married instead of civilly partnered. No more of ‘are you married?’, ‘Yes, to my man, Rob’, ‘oh, you mean you’ve had a civil partnership’, interactions with me thinking ‘yes, I love my man so much that I’ve commited to spending my life faithfully with him just like a man and woman might–you passive aggressive bigot.’ Equality is certainly something to cherish.

Living my life with my man, a little life with friends and family that know and accept my want to live honestly and freely I can often forget the fear and non-acceptance and criticism I’ve had in the past, or that any of the above is an issue I should think about. I’ve always consciously included gay characters, or at least gay mentions, in my writing as I want more representation in the genres I enjoy–I didn’t have them in my formative years. However, this month I’ve been wondering if gay might be the way for my writing as well…

I’ll get to that in a bit.

Work has been pretty full on. The people that pile on the work must think I’m Alan Dale in my ability to be everywhere and do everything, but they’re pressured themselves and just want things off their desk I guess. Still, my not allowing myself to get stressed has been working and I’ve rediscovered my love of CBT–Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Which, has nicely given me something creative to focus on. I haven’t been able to give writing much time, what with work and studying and I’ve been missing it. I seem to need a creative project to be working on to feel content. Maybe it’s because I really want to break out of the daily grind of a day job that isn’t a passion. So, my next project is a CBT self help book. The bulk is pretty much done thanks to all the handouts I’ve made in the past for groups and 1-2-1 therapy, so I’m just bringing it together, giving it a voice, and doing diagrams in Paintshop for examples of the approach and techniques. I know it’s a little different, but as my life shifts away from delivering therapy I’m going to have to part with the huge pile of therapy books I own, and knowing me I’m going to feel I have let myself down by not pursuing therapy work (my perfectionist tendencies are a work in progress), so if I produce a slick book out of it I’ll be happy.

So, with me bringing my studies and working life to my writing, I’m also considering ‘writing gay’, or as I simply see it in my world ‘writing romance’. This month saw the release of my horror novel ‘The Room’ on Kindle. Approx. 460 pages of horror for 99p / 99c. Yes, that was a plug. I’m going to be perfectly honest with you–when I gave work away for free I had thousands of downloads and some great reviews, which should be better since getting everything reedited. Since going to commercial, though, it’s only been dozens. So, not all that encouraging considering the cost of editing and having an online presence and the effort involved in being social online. I can’t even afford promotion. If this was a business and not a hobby I’d be out of business by now. But!… ‘The Room’ is having daily sales, averaging at three or four a day. Piffle you might say, but this seems to be enough for it to get labeled a category #1 Best Seller on Amazon. ‘What?’ I hear you cry–‘Yes, really’, I answer, a little puzzled myself. The two 5 star reviews I have had may have helped, I don’t know. They certainly pleased me–so thanks if you gave me one of those. The only difference I can think to explain the popularity of this title compared to my others is that the two search words I used were ‘horror’ and ‘gay’.

I’ve been contemplating writing romance as I have some ideas for stories, but I already have contemporary horror and historical horror and I wasn’t sure whether mixing genres under one name was the right thing to do as it might buck much needed and appreciated readers who might just expect or want a writer to focus on one genre so that they can trust in the writer’s name and their output. Let’s face it though, I want out of the day job–any day job, in case my employers read this… So, I need to write something that might pay financially.

So, next year I’m thinking that as not many people are waiting for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ I might try my hand on some romance. Or as I have been calling it ‘Going gay for pay’. You might think that’s a sell out, but I have been contemplating it, and if going gay is the way to money, then great stuff. I have lots of ideas, and if I earn some money from it I can still indulge my love of horror. I’m certainly not going to give up my horror plans. In a way it shouldn’t be a difficult transition to make, what with relationships often playing a large part in my work–espcially so, in ‘The Room’. The big picture of the stories might be horror, it might be sci-fi fantasy, but the little picture–which will be just as big as the dangers and the chills for the characters–will be about relationships and hearts being at stake.

Because, in my big world of assessments, support planning and budgeting at work, fighting Cthulhu in boardgames, and trying to balance my writing and social life, the big thing in that for me, is my husband. Oh, and the cats. And chocolate. Oh, and red wine. Oooh, chocolate cake. Oh, and my life-size Dalek… I did mention my fella, right?

Watch this space.

So, if you’ve read romance fiction, gay, straight, vampire or whatever, what do you want from it? Or if you’ve read any of my work already, what do you think about the shift I’ve mentioned?

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