Monday, 20 December 2010

With These Words – Lisbeth Jenkins

The biggest adventures of my life

Of all the valuable advice I've received about writing, "just sit your butt on a chair and put words on paper" was probably the best (if, perhaps, a bit redundant in my case).

I can't remember a time when I didn't write. My parents started me on the path when I was three, and by the time I reached kindergarten, I was impatient to learn cursive while my classmates were still learning their ABCs.

For me, writing is an adventure, a lovely metaphor for life. It's a way to organize and celebrate the myriad of imaginings and impressions and experiences I have every day and share them with others, in the manner that people have shared stories with one another through spoken or written word since humans have learned to communicate.

Writing The Manituw turned out to be one of the biggest adventures of my life.

The idea for the story started out the way most of my ideas do. I wanted to write a gay romance for a friend of mine whom I adore. I wanted it to be unique, with a bit of excitement. I wanted the men to be somewhat broken so that when they came together, the pieces wouldn't be a perfect fit, but would instead require them to grow if they wanted to build something between them. I wanted them to be thrown together in isolation so the broken bits couldn't be hidden from one another, and I wanted them to be from two diametrically different backgrounds, so communication and finding common ground would be a challenge for them.

And that's how July Cyr, mixed-race Canadian outcast and Robert Silsbury, British oceanographer, were born.

July's and Robert's worlds came alive for me from the moment I first envisioned their characters. As I look back, it seems like their story unfolded almost without effort. Two weeks of background research and plot development, three weeks of writing and another two weeks of revisions later, The Manituw was ready for submission.

As much as I loved the story, when I sent my manuscript to Amber Quill Press, I fully expected to receive a rejection notice. After all, rejection is the norm in the writing world, and I was dipping my toes back in the pool after a couple of decades spent building a professional career as a non-profit business executive.

I wasn't that worried about getting a rejection, to be honest. In fact, I was anticipating it, in a way, as a validation of my attempt to break into the professional writing world. In my early 30s, I'd been part of a science fiction/fantasy writers group that included several professional science fiction writers. I learned that receiving rejections as a beginning writer was okay, because the seasoned professional writers were getting them all of the time, too. The experience helped me develop the thick skin a writer needs to survive, and I learned to just keep writing, regardless. Rejection or not, I figured that I could always publish my story on my personal blog and still get plenty of readers.

Which is why I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened my email and found that Amber Quill wanted to publish The Manituw.

I was completely, utterly gobsmacked. I wandered through those first few days in a haze, not quite believing that I was going to be published. Then the questions started coming, big, blazing phrases running through my mind like neon screams. How do I get people to read my story once it's published? Do I need a website? How do I promote myself?

I'm still asking those same questions, though I've found a few answers along the way. For instance, early on I realized people can't read stories that they don't know exist, so a crash course in learning where people look for gay romances was one of my first undertakings. That was followed by crash courses in professional blogging, website development, group list serves and other marketing tools of the writing trade. In fact, the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know.

The Manituw became my bungee plunge into professional writing. The shock hasn't really worn off, but at least now it's familiar, and the queasy feeling in my stomach has turned pleasurable – more fun than fright.

But that's what adventures are made of, aren't they? New experiences and hard work, and that little butterfly feeling in your stomach that doesn't quite go away.

It's starting to sink in a bit, though, too. It's real. I'm now a writer, not just a woman who writes. It's a reassuring lesson, given the importance that writing has always had in my life. For any of you writers who want to be published but haven't been yet, keep at it, no matter how frustrating it might be. It's an amazing feeling.

Getting readers, however, can be tricky. For someone as inexperienced as I am, it wouldn't be possible without the help and support of people like E.H., who take the time to review new books and support new writers like me. Thank you so much, E.H.!

And thank you to everyone who's read The Manituw. I've heard from people who love July and Robert as much as I do, and others who are dismayed by their weaknesses. Either reaction is wonderful, as far as I'm concerned – people don't react to characters unless those characters touch them in some way, so I'm incredibly flattered that readers feel some connection to July and Robert, even if they'd like to (for example) kick July's butt in the process.

If you haven't read The Manituw yet, I hope you find it tempting enough to try. I think it has something for everyone: action, intrigue, romance and a setting as wild and beautiful as a Canadian storm.

I continue to write new stories about men finding love and romance where they least expect it. I can't wait to introduce you to them in my future books and ebooks.

Which means it's time to sit my butt on a chair and put words on paper. Enjoy reading!

© Lisbeth Jenkins

Excerpt

Featured Book:

The Manituw

Publisher: Amber Allure

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Buy Link: Amber Allure

When researcher Robert Silsbury reaches Bonnenuit, Newfoundland, and finds his charter boat captain in jail, the British oceanographer has no idea that he's come face to face with the man who will steal his heart. At first, however, his instinct is to hire someone else for the job.

July Cyr, the illegitimate son of First Nations and white parents, barely makes a living from Americans who charter his ancient tugboat, the Manituw, for sightseeing tours of icebergs and whales off the coast of Newfoundland. He hopes that the handsome young scientist who hired him will prove to be the first piece of good luck he's had in a long time.

Passion flares immediately, but love is built on trust, and both men have secrets. Together they must deal with a dangerous rescue at sea, a violent gang, and the scars of their own tragic pasts while they struggle to build a relationship that will span both sides of the Atlantic.

 

About Lisbeth

I love to write about strong men facing difficult circumstances and finding love in the strangest places. Hot, sexy, passionate, complex – just the way a romance should be.

Website

Blog

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Welcome to the world of publishing Lisbeth and I wish you every success.…..

4 Speak To Me:

Chris on 20 December 2010 at 13:21 said...

I have this on my reader - just need to get to it! :)

Erotic Horizon on 20 December 2010 at 13:38 said...

Holiday read hon.. I liked the character alot in this one..

I am looking forward to her next production..

:)

Phae said...

This is a terrific read, original, interesting and full of depth. It's also sexy and satisfying.

I'm looking forward to more from this writer.

Tracy on 21 December 2010 at 02:04 said...

Sounds good. Thanks for the post!