Good morning! We continue the Riptide event with Storm Grant. Let's enjoy this sitdown. Hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving if you celebrate!
How long have you been writing?
I wrote in public school, then not again until I was in my early forties when I discovered fandom. I wrote my first story that I shared on the internet in 1998. It was a dreadful piece of slash fanfiction. Someone had to explain point of view to me. And yet, people were kind and receptive. So I wrote more, putting it up on the internet or out in fanzines for the next decade.
What made you decide that you wanted to put yourself out there to publish?
In 2007, I found I had paid good money for a professional novel that was so bad I couldn’t read it. I said to myself, “I can write this badly!” That was actually my incentive. Needless to say my goal has changed to include continuous improvement.
Before you started, had you done any fanfiction? If so, what fandom?
Yup, read it, wrote it, published it. If you were active in the same fandoms I was, you might know me as Stormy Stormheller, co-publisher of Duet Press zines. I wrote in Sentinel, Due South, Stargate Atlantis, and one or two odd stories in other fandoms. My old website is still around: www.duetpress.com. Click on “Stormy Stormheller” on the links bar to get to my free stories. I’d like to mention, however, that my writing has improved considerably since then. ;-D
Are you in agreement that writing fanfiction is a great way to practice ones craft, why or why not?
Yes, absolutely. It is a kind and safe place (mostly) to practice your craft and get feedback from talented authors who will gladly share their advice.
Now let me add one thing. I have on my website, an article I wrote a few years back outlining how to convert fanfic to pro fic. While I’m leaving it up there in case anyone finds it useful, I think today, I would advise writers wanting to go pro that it’s actually easier to start something new than to try and “file the serial numbers” off a fanfic story. Sometimes it’s easier to build a new house than to renovate an old one. (Says Stormy who’s actually living on a friend’s couch while her old house if being renovated.)
But don’t hesitate to use the things you learned and written in fandom. It’s not plagiarism to steal from yourself. Funnily, in my new story for Riptide Publishing, I’ve given a character enhanced senses. It wasn’t till I read over my first draft that I realized I’d “Sentinelized” him. ;-D
What is your favorite subgenre to write?
I write funny urban fantasy. Most of what I write fits into the burgeoning category “New Adult,” sometimes called “Upper YA.” That is, my characters are 18 to 25. They’re young and plugged in, but not worried about the prom. These are adults finding their first job, maybe first time away from home, maybe first serious romance. In the mainstream novel I’m shopping around, it’s my protagonists first death (but not her last!). In my new story for Riptide, FEW ARE CHOSEN, it’s the young boys’ first demon.
Would you ever write a hetero romance? Why or why not?
Yes. Both the full-length novels I’m shopping to “New York” (traditional publishing) are m/f. Except they are not romances per se; they’re both urban fantasy with a romantic subplot. In both books, though, there are significant gay characters. In the latest one, the big love is really a “bromance-ish” type relationship where the straight girl and the gay boy are really the main couple, despite sexual exploits elsewhere. Not all couples are “traditional.” Both characters have equal first-person POV in the book.
Your first published book?
GYM DANDY: A gay tale of seduction and denial, humor and sweat, from MLR Press
Mixed signals or glitchy gaydar? After a first kiss gone horribly wrong, out and outgoing personal trainer Victor Brighton settles for friendship with handsome new client Douglas Newkirk. But is Doug in denial? Each time the boys get close, something or someone interferes: ex-wives, ex-boyfriends, bitchy bosses, even the cable guy. Will our boys ever get together?
Who are the authors that you look up to?
The authors I look up to most are anyone who has achieved commercial success in this harsh environment. Or one who has written a really good book. Sometimes those aren’t the same thing.
The authors who influenced my writing would be: Absurdist writer Tom Robbins. Sir Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, and the same guy who appears on everybody’s list: Neil Gaiman.
What books are you reading at the moment? Its okay to give a fellow author a plug!
I just finished Kevin Hearne’s new Iron Druid series from Del Rey, and am about to start Melanie Card’s new Ward Against Death from Entangled. Mel is a real life pal; I wish Kevin was, too.
What are you working on now?
I’ve got three WIPs on the go at the moment, two “mainstream” novels (if you can call stories featuring djinn and vampires and demons and other weird characters “mainstream”), and one charming story of young, gay love.
I’m just about to submit to Riptide, a story about an apprentice warrior who clashes with, and then falls for, and apprentice wizard when they are each sent out to battle their first demon. It’s a first kill, first kiss. (Spoiler: They don’t have the heart to kill the demon, but they do work up the courage for a first kiss and a whole lot more.)
Riptide specific questions
Tell me what made you decide to hop on board with this brand new publisher?
When Aleks Voinov/Vashtan asks something of me, I say, “Absolutely!” He’s been a key person in our little corner of the internet, how could I not support his new venture? I remember when he and I, along with a few other good folk, were at the forefront of the whole #amazonfail fiasco. (And btw, Amazon, I’m still waiting for that apology.)
And from a more self-interested stance, it never hurts to get in on the ground floor of a very promising venture.
And then there’s the old “flattery will get you everywhere” effect of being invited to submit. Maybe that influenced my title of my next story for them, FEW ARE CHOSEN.
What is your release that you have coming out with them?
I have the privilege of having a short story of mine, SUCKS & BLOWS included in their debut line-up. It’s a reprint, but it’s been majorly edited by both Aleks and Rachel, expanded, and now includes a new and improved blowjob scene!
In your opinion, what is the difference between Riptide and any other publisher that has just started?
Anyone entering the epublishing arena these days has to work doubly hard to carve a niche for themselves, and there are a few factors that will make Riptide successful. For one thing, they are tightly focused on providing a quality m/m product—and not necessarily erotica. I’ve been reading erotica for over a dozen years, and I absolutely must have good writing, engaging characters and an intriguing plot, or I’m putting the book down no matter how hot the sex.
Another reason Riptide is going to work is that the principals are members of our community, not some band-wagon-jumper who publishes anything and everything.
They do very thorough editing. They did three rounds of edits just on my short story. I’ve never had anyone help me with pacing before.
And they let me have say in my cover design. I totally love my cover. If it seems like an odd choice—a shot from inside a vampire’s mouth—let me assure you it’s absolutely perfect for the story!
They also are managing a huge amount of promo. Just last week I received a big box of swag including a book bag, a notebook, fridge magnets, postcards… I can’t even remember what else, but it’s terrific. No other publisher I’ve been with has done anything like that for me.
Where do you see the publisher in the next 5 to 10 years?
Let me get out my crystal ball here… e-Publishing, like every industry before it, will predictably shake down to a few players. There’ll be the big, well-capitalized ones, and a few small ones that offer personalized service. I could see Riptide choosing to remain small and personal, or I could see them surprised by their own success. I think if they want to take on the big four, they will have to open a second imprint for m/f, and then do all the same things they’re doing for m/m. But I wouldn’t recommend them going down that road until they’re firmly established.
The industry becomes complicated by the changes in traditional publishing. Already ebooks are outselling print books annually, although I don’t think print books will ever go away altogether. I believe e-publishers will move closer in business model to traditional publishers which will, in turn move closer to the e-publishing model, which will lead to an as-yet-unforeseen hybrid meeting in the middle. I could actually see Riptide coming down anywhere along the publishing continuum. The world of publishing is their oyster. (Ironically, oysters are deemed an aphrodisiac. How apropos.)
Fun questions pick at least 3
Name one celeb that you wish was gay and why?
I would never suggest that anyone should be or be portrayed as anything other than their natural inclination to be what they are. I have no problem “slashing” characters, but I’ve never been a fan of Real Person Slash. People’s sexuality is not up for toying with. Or as I like to put it: they’re not interested in what goes on in my bedroom so why would I be interested in what goes on in theirs?
Your favorite gay tv show or movie?
I’m going to get in trouble for this one but… Supernatural. ;-D
For the men in your books, commando or underwear?
Boxers, briefs or commando as fits the character and/or the scene. In FEW ARE CHOSEN, Blake St. Blake, the apprentice warrior, is horribly embarrassed that he’s wearing “tighty whities” for his first sexual encounter. But it could have been worse—could have been his Spider man undies.
Favorite character in one of your books?
Captain Thomas Ferrell from SHIFT HAPPENS. The guy is so straight-laced and then he ends up working with an entire agency comprised of supernatural beings, and then discovering that he’s a supernatural being himself! He spends have the book stuck in the form of a giant jaguar, with his humanity slipping away. Poor guy has to actually change—both physically and attitudinally. And he’s not a character that embraced change easily.
Here’s the blurb about my uptight Captain: Captain Thomas Ferrell hates the supernatural. But when the Army kicks him out for weird behavior, he signs on with paranormal investigators Borderless Observers Org. Three missions in, Tom’s learned BOO does a lot more than observe. And that their paranormal investigators really are paranormal investigators. Sent to stop a drug operation in the Amazon basin, he’s unwillingly shapeshifted into a huge black jaguar. He believes he must regain his humanity before he can complete his mission. Is he wrong?
The character you identify with?
Kirsty d’Arc in my as-yet-unpublished manuscript, SCYTHE DOES MATTER. Kirsty’s evil boss tricks her into taking his place in Hell when his deal with the devil comes due, and she has 12 short months to figure out a way to not only get her own life back, but to save her aunt from a similar fate, and take that bastard-boss down. She charges around Hell trying to escape, getting battered, befuddled and bested at every bizarre encounter. But in the end… it all comes together for our Kirsty.
Why yes, that sounds exactly like me.
Please give us your links to website, blogs etc as well as the cover of your latest book, blurb, excerpt and buy link.
Here's the blurb for Sucks & Blows:
Deeply in debt to a loan shark, oversexed dentist Cary Drewel lives in fear of foreclosure and bodily harm. His new practice is missing one rather crucial element: patients. Which, terrifyingly enough, is the one thing his creditors also don’t have.
Pierce Sharpe, a powerful vampire with a drinking problem—or, more accurately, a problem drinking—can’t feed through the pain in his damaged eye teeth. In danger of losing his standing in the vampire community, Pierce seeks Cary's dental services. When Cary extracts his canines, Pierce must turn to other bodily fluids for sustenance.
Together, Cary and Pierce find a mutually pleasurable solution to both their problems. Turns out, though, there’s more to this dentist-patient relationship than simple suction, and what began with raw hunger from each of them might just end in love.
Sucks and Blows is available at Riptide Publishing: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/sucks-blows
Thank you for being a guest on Taboo Indeed!
Author Name: Gina Grant w/a Storm Grant
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website URL: www.stormgrant.com
Blog URL: http://storm-grant.livejournal.com/
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2836549.Storm_Grant