AuThursday – Izzy Szyn

IS author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Worked in customer service jobs most of my life, currently work in a call center for ATT in iphone tech.

I’ve been a bookaholic since I was ten. I’ve been involved online with writers ever since I first came online. At the time, I had web tv and the first thing I did was search for Jayne Ann Krentz and Diana Palmer.

I’ve been a reviewer, book promoter and author stalker, known for locking authors in a closet so they can write faster.

Started writing three years ago, while in a chat I was dared by a friend to write. You can either thank her or ask her what was she thinking. LOL Email me and I will tell you who.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m an Introvert until you get to know me. Then I’m a bit of a smart ass. I think some of it comes through in my writing.

How do you make time to write? 

I make time. I work full-time, so I write in between phone calls, during breaks and lunches and after I get home from work.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I couldn’t work to an outline to save my life. I just let the characters tell me their story.

How did you come up with the idea for your book, BELLA AND THE BEAST?

I had just finished Wendi and Tink when Beauty and the Beast was coming out. I thought what if?

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

I’ve done a few boxed sets.

I see you write Gay and Lesbian fiction.  What do you think is the greatest misconception about LGBT Romance?

That it’s all erotica. It’s simply two or more people that find their way to each other.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write. I wish I could have started earlier.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I live on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/izzyszynhome/

Twitter: @izzyszyn

Instagram and Google Plus J

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Izzy’s book, BELLA AND THE BEAST. ~Tina

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Saturday Excerpt – A Whisper of Angels by Lourdes R. Florido

THEWHI-2 (1)Here is part of the first chapter.

I sat on the bench in the square across from the wharf and stared at The Ernestine, her three rows of white sails ascending upwards like outstretched wings. I hoped her beauty and my art would help mute my rage, but I wasn’t sure if it would be enough. It was dusk, and everything was quieting down, the merchants locking up their shops to head home while groups of mariners headed towards the nearby tavern. The Ernestine was the latest of the whalers to arrive in the harbor, having come back just a few days earlier, and like all the other ships that travelled in and out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, I wanted to add her to my collection of drawings. I wouldn’t have much time to get a preliminary sketch before the shadows of the night took hold, and I didn’t want to be around so long that I would have to deal with the people who populated the wharf at night. As I hastily worked on the drawing, a loud, rather slurred voice made me look up.

“Hey, I know him all to pieces.”

A rotund, mud splattered sailor swaggered towards me, followed by another tall one. Oh hell, not now, I thought. A couple of drunks was the last thing I needed. “Nat, Nat, now stop; don’t bother that boy,” said the taller one. “We ain’t here for the likes of him.”

They were probably out looking for one of the wharfside prostitutes that scurried out like roaches once darkness comes. The mariners made New Bedford a more raucous place than someone of my quiet disposition liked, and 1857 had been a particularly loud and hectic year for our town. Dozens of ships had gone out on the hunt for the sperm oil that made New Bedford one of the richest towns in America. The oil that came from sperm whales lit lamps and lubricated machinery, and our town was filled with all the makings of the industry, from immigrant sailors and wharfside prostitutes to rich shipping agents and owners. We “lit” the world with our trade.

As I watched the two sailors stagger away, my thoughts returned to the source of my rage as I recalled how my day had unfolded.

“Get out of that rack and get the hell out here, boy!”

That was how my morning began, as I shuddered awake at George Herrington’s deep booming voice. His yelling roused me from what had been a peaceful dream of Father. We were together again, on a sailing ship staring out onto a purplish tinged sea. For a moment my dream had felt so real, and I had been happy again, but then reality in the form of Herrington’s yelling scared me awake, back to my misery. Before I could even sit up, he was in my room, shoving me off of my bed.

“Did I not tell you last night to unpack my tools and set them in the sheds? Why are they still in the front sitting room?”

“It was too dark out there and I thought it could wait until today,” I said.

“Well your breakfast will wait then until you’re done unpacking those boxes,” he snarled. “Get out there and do it now.”

Bastard. Damn bastard, I thought, as I hurried out the back door dragging one of his heavy boxes. I hated him and could not wait till his ship left port for a hunt again, so that First Mate Herrington would go away for a long, long time. I still could not believe that Mother had married him not even two months after Father was laid in the ground. What did she see in him? He was uncouth and so young. It wasn’t proper. I had barely dragged the box into one of the sheds when he was bellowing again.

“Hurry up and get to the other boxes, boy. Stop your dawdling.” The work and the endless brow beating continued for most of the day, until I could stand it no longer and just stopped. After dinner, Herrington sat relaxing on the settee that Father had paid for, and I finally let my face express just what I thought of him.

“Do not look at me that way, boy,” he said.

“In what way?” I chided. Herrington jumped up, lunging for me, but I quickly stepped back, right into Mother who had come into the room.

“Nicolas, come here,” she said grabbing me by the shoulders and guiding me into the kitchen.

“You cannot continue to treat George with disrespect,” she said. “He is your father now.”

“Never,” I said. “That will never be my father. Mother, what were you thinking? I don’t understand why you married him. He’s so much younger than you, in his 20s; the thought of you with him sickens me.”

She looked away for a moment and then quietly answered.

“We need to move on with our lives Nicolas; this is in everyone’s best interest.”

“But Father is barely buried,” I blurted out. “You dishonor him and you dishonor yourself. Do you know what the neighbors think? I overheard Mrs. Dorsett and Mrs. Barnes talking, and I was so embarrassed. Do you know what type of woman they are saying you are?”

She slapped me then, which surprised me as she had never hit me before.

“I’m sor—…” Mother began. I didn’t stay to hear what else she had to say. Instead I ran to my room, grabbed my pencils and sketch pad and ran out the back door to the wharf, where I attempted to continue my drawing. But my art would have to wait for another day.

“What? Up to this foolishness again?”

Before I could react to the voice that at first startled me, my sketchbook was snatched out of my lap.

“Idiot,” I snapped, looking up to see Henry’s smirking face, a prankish twinkle appearing in his deep, hazel eyes. He was dressed quite formally, in a dark blue suit, gold vest, and cravat. “Why so fancy?” I asked.

“So I see you are wasting your time again in this foul part of town,” Henry said, ignoring my question. “It’s not bad,” he said assessing the drawing and dropping the sketchbook back into my lap. “But I have better plans for tonight.”

“What?” I asked, knowing that whatever it was would probably involve some mischief.

Henry had been my best friend since childhood; we had met at the wharfside, and unlikely best friends we’d become. We were different in so many ways. I was artistic; he athletic. He was outgoing; I introverted. And then there was the matter of our families. Henry’s father was a wealthy whaling agent and ship owner, and Henry lived in a grand house that was visited by all the important people in town. My father, Sam, had been a blacksmith, and we lived in a small house near the wharf district. The only time we saw town “royalty” was when they came to order something from my father. Yet, although we were very different, we had somehow connected right away. Henry had once told me that I wasn’t what he expected. I think he thought that I would be like the sailors—rough and loud—a product of my class. “You are surprisingly refined,” he once told me.

But Henry was wrong to judge everyone to be the same. Although my father was a blacksmith, he was a quiet, reflective, and religious man who had never cursed in front of me, and although he was a tradesman, he was quite literate. I had been raised in a home where books were valued, especially the Bible, which he read aloud to me every Sunday. But there was something else that connected Henry and me, a strong interest-in-common that kept our friendship going. It was a love of trickery. I may have been quiet, but I loved pulling the wool over others’ eyes. Through the years Henry and I had played many jokes on schoolmates and others, like “haunting” the Roderick manor when they were away for the summer in Europe, causing so many rumors that the family feared to move back into their home when they returned. Now I wondered what he was thinking of doing.

“What’s your idea?” I asked.

“You will pretend to be me tonight.”

“Why?”

“It’s Father. He’s met some new person, a Mr. Witham, who recently moved into town—a wealthy judge with a daughter around our age, and he and Father got to talking and managed to arrange for me to have supper with Mr. Witham and his daughter Shelley tonight. I do not want to sit through some God-awful meal with people who mean nothing to me, and this could make it interesting.”

“Perhaps it won’t be so bad for you,” I said. “Maybe you’ll find her pretty.”

“You know I don’t care,” Henry said.

“Well they do,” I said. Henry’s parents had decided it was time that he began thinking of having a serious courtship. After all, by the time his father was our age, fifteen, he had already decided that Henry’s mother would eventually become his wife. It’s not like Henry couldn’t have his pick of girls in town. His family was rich and he was handsome, his dark hair and eyes luminous against his fair skin. The girls blushed and giggled or flirted when they were near him, vying for his attention, but he never seemed to pay them much interest.

“Come on. Help me out here.”

“Okay,” I mulled. “It could be fun, but I don’t think it will work. We don’t look anything alike.”

Our differences, like day and night, extended to our looks. I had inherited my father’s fair looks, with light blue eyes and blond hair. “Mr. Witham has not seen me yet,” Henry said.

“Fine,” I said, “but what about our clothes? These chore rags just won’t make anyone believe that I’m the son of Mr. Lawton.”

“We’ll switch out of them. Let’s duck behind the trees here.”

“Okay,” I said, watching as Henry began tugging at his cravat and removing his coat. As we began walking towards the clump of trees that bordered the back of the square, we suddenly heard the clomping of horses racing down the road. I looked up to see Henry’s family coach pull up to the curb.

 

 

AuThursday – Lourdes R. Florido

Please welcome published LGBT Author Lourdes R. Florido, to the Clog Blog.  Lourdes, how long have you been writing?

I wrote my first piece of fiction when I was in the 2nd grade. I remember it was a very short story about ants.  But of course it all started with a love of words and reading.  When I first learned to read I became immediately fascinated with words, driving my brother and sister crazy as we sat in the back of my parent’s car, when they were driving us somewhere, and I would read aloud every street or business sign we would pass.  That fascination was soon funneled into the books my parents would buy me and eventually into my writing stories.

Q:  What books have most influenced your life most?

I have five that I feel have influenced not only my writing but my interests in literature:

The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton

A Separate Peace – John Knowles

Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

The Outsiders and A Separate Peace cemented my love of “bromances”(if you want to call them that) and my fascination with exploring friendships between two guys which of course is a major part of Nicolas’ and Henry’s story in a Whisper of Angels, except these two best friends happen to be soulmates who are secretly in love with each other.   Wuthering Heights best exemplifies the type of historical romances I love. I’m a big fan of the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, E.M Forster, Edith Wharton, Thomas Hardy, and others. The last two novels, Treasure Island and The Lord of the Rings touch on two areas of fascination and reading interests for me: maritime history and fantasy literature, both of which are reflected in A Whisper of Angels which is a paranormal love story.

Q:  Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think I have one specific style, but with A Whisper of Angels, I tried in my writing to exude the tone that is found in so many of the 19th century classic romances I love.

Q:  Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block and how do you move past it?

Yes, sometimes.  I have to get up and away from the computer and take a walk (preferably with my dogs) to see if a breakthrough of ideas comes.  I also try to skip forward to another scene that perhaps I’d thought about ,but not started writing yet, to see if that gets the words flowing.

Q:  What do you think is the biggest misconception in LGBT fiction?

Some people think that LGBT fiction is written only by LGBT people for gay audiences. While obviously it is for gay audiences, it can extend to general audiences too.  I’ve had many people tell me that they were surprised that I, a straight woman, had written a story about two gay young men, and then these same people having never read a gay story before mine, told me they were pleasantly surprised to discover they enjoyed the novel and the different genres it encompassed.

 Q: Would you tell us your story of getting “the call?”

I’m not sure what “call” you mean, so I’ll just answer it in a couple of ways and hope that will suffice. I you mean the call to write I explained it in the first answer, and would just add that the call extended itself into my professional life.  For a while I worked as a fulltime print journalist and now teach composition and literature.  If you mean “the call” to write LGBT fiction, I would say that it was my main character Nicolas who drove that decision. That’s just who he turned out to be – a gay young man in love with his best friend, in a time period when that would never be acceptable. Another influence was probably the fact that I’ve always had gay friends and experiences with the LGBT community.  It started during my middle school years with my best friend’s mother who was a lesbian who lived with her partner during a time when most people did not publically divulge their lifestyles.

Q:  What are your current projects?

I’ve been working on a historical romance set in Key West for a while.  But I’ve set it aside for now to work strictly on Book 2 of “A Whisper of Angels”.  It’s written from Henry’s viewpoint, which is challenging because he has a very different voice.  The book will wrap up a few loose ends that lingered from the first novel as well as introduces a few surprises from Henry’s past life.

Q:  Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Look for me and contact me on Goodreads and Facebook:

https://www.goodreads.com/llrodrig1

https://www.facebook.com/lourdesrfloridobooks/