Introducing Unapologetic GAY Romance Under New Pen Name

Unapologetic Gay Romance because Love Needs No Excuses

Our world generally sucks. Children die from poison-gas in Syria, drown in the ocean while trying to get away from slaughter, and are abused again and again (Hungary, anybody?) because they dare to want to survive. And that’s just in the so-called 3rd world countries.

In our oh-so-civilized nations, street kids get hooked on drugs, work as prostitutes, are abandoned by their parents, the state, most adults they ever come in touch with.

Looking at all the shit in the news every day, forgive me if I try to find a glimmer of hope amongst the suffering. And if people find and cling onto each other, for comfort, support, and yes, love, I want to cherish that. It’s a fricking miracle it happens at all!

So that’s why my motto is Unapologetic Romances Because Love Needs No Excuses

Let Me Take This a Little Further

Love is love. What that means is that as long as people love each other, I don’t give a toss whether they’re attracted to male, female, queer, trans, whatever.

After humming and hawing for months, I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and launch my new website dedicated to m/m romance writing.

In order to avoid confusiong my readers—although I’d be more than happy to take anybody along on this journey—, I’ll publish my gay romance novels under the pen name EJ Smyth

If You Haven’t Read in the Gay Romance Genre Yet, Here’s Your Chance

The first time I read a gay romance novel, I was blown away. Apart from the hotness factor (and yes, if you don’t like steamy, this may not be the genre for you!), the writing was incredible. Fast-paced, awesome characterization, fascinating dynamics between the main characters.

If you’re interested, here’s a list of a couple of writers I’d highly recommend. One thing you’ll find is that gay romance books cost more than regular romance books. However, most of them are also in Kindle Unlimited, so it’s not all bad!

N.R. Walker

One of my favorite writers in the genre. She’s Australian and has written a series of books, set in the outback. It’s a fish-out-of-water romance, both from the Aussie farmer’s and American student’s point-of-view. Just adorable!

Red Dirt Heart



Cronin’s Key

N.R. Walker is a hugely prolific writer. I honestly can’t keep up with her publishing speed. If your thing is more Urban Fantasy Romance, check out Cronin’s Key. It has just been released as an audiobook with one of my favorite voice-actors Joel Froom. Well worth a listen!


And just to give you a flavor of what else she writes, here is a story about an overweight guy with massive self-esteem problems whose personal trainer helps him fall in love with himself. And with the trainer. You know what I mean 😀 Anyway, the story is ADORABLE!

The Weight of It All


Madeleine Urban

She wrote a series of thrillers that revived a genre that I’d given up on reading because it’d become so predictable.

It’s a classic enemy-to-friends-to-lovers story. The characters are stubborn assholes, two FBI agents that hate each others’ gut. So much sass, humor, drama, angst, cuteness—I couldn’t stop reading.

Cut & Run

I wrote a review for this book and the series which you can read here.


Josh Lanyon

An author who has defined the genre. Incredibly prolific albeit not always consistent. This series hits it out of the park, though.

Adrien English, an unassuming bookstore owner, is accused of murder and has to clear his name. His nemesis is a homophobic detective who’s convinced Adrien is guilty. Adrien suffers from an acquired heart condition, but is certainly no swooning maiden to be rescued. Far from it! Very funny, touching, reminiscent of classic British detective stories of the 1940s.

Fatal Shadows

Here is the review for the book as well!

JL Merrow

Staying with the British theme, JL Merrow’s books are set in the UK. Her dialogue is pure Brit, and her characters are guys I recognize from my time in London. The series I enjoyed most is unfortunately on hold until 2018, along with Camwolf about a reluctant werewolf in Cambridge.



There are other books like the Shamwell Tales (think Midsumer Murders) because JL Merrow is another prolific writer with a huge back catalogue.

Plumber’s Mate Series



Amy Lane

The last author I’d like to recommend writes Magical Realism. Her Candy Man series may not be hard-hitting social criticism but it’s cute, fluffy, humorous and exciting. Pure relaxation.

Candy Man



And if you want to read funny, here is Shiny! A story about a very, very clumsy guy who needs rescuing from himself. Hilarious!





I hope you like my short list. I’d compiled it for a German friend of mine who had only just started reading in the genre and needed help. There’s a lot more books out there!

What do you think, have you read any of them? Would you recommend others?

And don’t forget to pop over to my new site to pick up a free, very sexy short story!

How I Overcame Writer’s Block

How I overcame Writer’s Block

dawn-190055_640So for the last two days I haven’t been able to write. I’m literally 90% done with my novel. In theory, I should be flying through the final ‘boss battle’ and head for the home straight.

In practice I was terrified of that particular scene. I had no idea where to go. No idea how to get my characters through it. Not even from whose perspective I would tell the story.

So my dilemma wasn’t the kind of writer’s block, “oh no, a white piece of paper, what could I possible put on it…” It was more like, “oh no, what if the scene is boring? Or over the top? Or no one likes it?”

Why I suggest an outline

This has happened a few times throughout my journey to write the first draft. And each time it cost me WEEKS to get back to my story. What saved me was the fact that I had taken the time to write an outline.

I know this doesn’t work for everybody but if you get times where you just need to step back from your manuscript, I highly recommend you at least give it a try. This is what worked for me because I’m a detailed planner. It would equally work for somebody who doesn’t like planning but has a general idea where you’d like to end up!

I created a very detailed outline with each individual scene planned. That doesn’t mean that throughout the writing process, I haven’t changed it up. What it does mean is that even after taking a lengthy break, I can sit down with my document and have a pretty clear idea what should come next.

As I explained in my article on Dragon Dictation, it helps me to think about the scene for five minutes before I write. Maybe even talk aloud to myself like a crazy lady, just like I would tell a friend about a movie I watched and what happened next.

If you’re a VISUAL person, you got it easy!

I have no idea if this works for everybody. But I’d guess that if you’re a creative person, you’re familiar with the idea of day-dreaming. Have you ever imagined what it would feel like to win the lottery, call your boss and hand in your notice? Or how your spouse would react when you kiss them and say, “By the way, honey, I’ve solved our mortgage problems and ordered that Ferrari you’ve always wanted. No, I’m not crazy, I’ve won $10,000,000 in the lottery! No, I’m serious!”

Doesn’t that feel awesome? Can’t you imagine how the scene would be full of emotion, happiness, maybe a little fear about how your life would change? That’s the technique I use for writing a scene in my book.

I sit down, put on some headphones with binaural sounds, such as Inspire from iDoser – it costs $3 to download but I was happy to pay that. I find it works really well for me and I can use it as a timed sprint of 30 minutes exactly.

Then I visualize my scene. This has the double effect that it allows me to solidify my characters in my mind. I always cast my hero and heroine and that makes it a lot easier to do the next step.

I literally describe the scene that’s playing in my mind like a movie. I watch the two characters move, gesture, smile, snark, fight, get hurt, care for each other. Then I put fingers to keys and type like the devil, writing what’s already there in my head.

I usually end up with 600-900 words during a 30 minutes session. Word count isn’t as important as breaking through the barrier between my imagination and the page. This visualization technique allows me to do that and produce energetic, colorful scenes.

Hope this helps you guys! Let me know if you tried this and whether you found it as great as I do 🙂

Have you ever tried OpenOffice? Why not?

OpenOfficeSo I’ve decided I have had it up to the gills with Microsoft Office!

Let me explain – I worked in an office for many years and used MS Office like most people do. I received some great training and turned into the local word processing and Excel wiz. All lovely, except then I had a baby and another, and decided to stay at home and build another career.

Best decision ever, except I really couldn’t afford MS Office after a while. The personal license was fine but eventually I was forced to upgrade for business use, and honestly, $399.99 per year is not something I can afford. Add this to the atrocious interface change that happened quite a few years ago now, and I was on the net, researching alternatives. 

Enter OpenOffice!

I found Open Office. I was a little suspicious of it, given that it is free, but soon fell in love with it. It has the same familiar interface like the old MS Office and did I mention, it’s free?

The learning curve was alright although there are tips and tricks to get the most out of the software. After using it for a few years now, I have to say that it matches MS Office in functionality. And it’s free. For business and private use. To be copied, developed, played with. 

Why aren’t YOU using it?

So question to you: do you use OpenOffice? If not, have you ever looked at it? What’s stopping you from using it? I’ve created a little questionnaire to find out what issues people have with the software. What would you like to be able to do with it but have never managed to figure it out by yourself? Please fill out the questionnaire and let me know – there is a lot of knowledge swirling around in my head and I’m sure I can help a few people 🙂

Great info on writing short stories

I decided to maybe take a break from writing my novel, but write a quick short story instead which will go more into my character’s backstory. It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a short story so I thought I quickly google and see what I could find. There are some great resources out there, but for my purposes this site hits the spot:

Write a Short Story in 2 Parts with examples. 

I hope you find this useful! I did 🙂

Rest well, Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away yesterday. I hadn’t realised how sick he’s been and I was so shocked to hear the news. Somehow this author had become a part of my life since “The Colour of Magic”. I remember buying as many of his books as I could afford in the 90s and reading them until they fell apart. “Witches Abroad” (a McBeth parody) I loved so much, I kept giving it as presents to friends.


There are so many many characters that made his work unique. The Orang-Utan librarian who would hit anybody who called him a monkey, Rincewind the cowardly wizard, the witches who practiced a mix of actual magic and common sense, the Oh God of Hangovers who never got drunk but always woke up with a hangover, Teatime the assassin who tried to kill Santa Claus, Death who tries so hard to understand the mortal world. There are so many many more, it just beggars believe that all this came from the mind of one man.

His coat of arms reads: “Noli Timere Messorem (Don’t fear the reaper)” and what better words to end an amazing life.

Rest well, we’ll miss you so very much.

My First Goodreads Review!

Just posted my first review on Goodreads. Wow, what a playground for readers and writers! I have to say that reading has become a lot more difficult in 2015 because there is just soooo much going on. Still, I can always pretend it’s research as I dig into so many writers’ books that I didn’t even know existed (Hi, Laurell K. Hamilton)!

BearthleteBearthlete by Terry Bolryder

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Good points first: not boring, good pace, grammar and spelling perfect. Story is sweet as well.

However. This was my first book in this genre and I really didn’t like it. The characters were just so one-dimensional. And as an overweight woman myself, I really resent this idea that fate/destiny/my scent makes a guy love me. Not my personality, not my spark, not my character. It’s just an easy way out and so escapist, that it broke through my reading cocoon. I just couldn’t follow the premise that no guy ever looked at this gorgeous woman until a shifter came along.

The sex scenes were okay – personally I like them a little steamier, although kudos to any author who writes them. I get way to embarrassed in my own writing 🙂

To conclude: I finished the book, the writing is good enough to have kept me engaged for most of the story, but the characterisation wasn’t great. I probably won’t read anymore of this author, sorry.

View all my reviews

And so it begins!

I’m really delighted to finally have managed to create my own page. It involved purchasing domain names, pointing them in the right direction, figuring out how to host my site, negotiating the labyrinth of cpanels – really not that easy! But I managed it! I’m actually quite impressed 🙂

So I’ll be sharing my thoughts on writing in general and my books in particular. I really hope to make this blog interesting and that many readers will engage with my thoughts and ideas.