Allison Temple Blog

Awkward and Thoroughly Kissable
Posts tagged red creek
About Chapter 25

The risks of living my author life in the open

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Earlier this week, I tweeted a tweet.

Had my first job interview in 13 years today. It started with “I write gay romance novels.” and ended with “Can you come in on Friday to meet the owner?” I’m feeling pretty positive about these people.

— Allison Temple (@allitemplebooks) June 5, 2018

It got more retweets and likes than almost anything else I've ever tweeted. I didn't mean to, but I think I hit on a Writer Twitter nerve. So many of us write on the side, in our spare time, our stolen moments. Or we write out in the open, but under the cover of a pen name, an online persona. Writers, especially a lot of the queer writers and the writers of queer fiction, that I know, live in fear that Facebook will inadvertently recommend their author profile to a friend or family as someone 'you might also know'. Writers are afraid, while secretly dreaming of sharing our writing lives with friends and family who accept it without blinking an eye.

I've never been shy about my writing, not with family or friends, and less and less these days with strangers. Sometimes I meter the explanation to people I don't know as well, going with 'my first book is a romance about a single dad who falls in love with his daughter's teacher' and leaving them to assume as they will whether that teacher is male or female. More and more often though, I just lead with 'I write gay romance novels' and let the chips fall. Most of the time, people smile and nod, and then we move on. Sometimes I meet people like my new banker. You just never know.

I'm lucky, that I live in a place where I can say these things and not be judged too harshly. The worst that happens is people say 'oh, that's not really my thing.' No one shames me, or prays for my soul. I'm lucky.

But with my openness and good fortune comes a few awkward moments and jokes at my expense. Like when my mom told me she loved The Pick Up, but that she skipped over Chapter 25 because 'I didn't really need to read that.'

Or last night, when my childhood best friend told me that she had 'a fun week' the week she read Chapter 25. And that her mom also had 'a fun week' the week she read Chapter 25.

(Author's note. I encourage you to read Chapter 25. In fact, I encourage you to read all of The Pick Up. I can't promise anything is revolutionary, but sometimes delayed gratification makes everything better, if you know what I mean.)

Or, even better, is the fact that my childhood best friend's mother is my mother's best friend (got that? I made you a Venn diagram below if you get confused). 

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Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 1.29.11 PM

That motherly best friend thinks it's hilarious that my mother avoided Chapter 25 for the sake of her...I don't even know? Dignity? Morality? This best friend found it so hilarious, in fact, that her family has adopted it in day to day conversation.

"Shh. We mustn't talk about Chapter 25."

"We agreed not to bring up Chapter 25."

I didn't know this was an author goal I had—to become the foundation for a family's inside joke—but now that it's happened, I'm kind of tickled.

We don't talk about Chapter 25.

Telling people about your work is scary, but sometimes the payoff is worth it.

Also, for those of you wondering, I totally rocked that interview :)

The Wake Up is Live!
Wake Up Cover baker

Wake Up Cover baker

UPDATED, JULY 2018: The Wake Up has moved. You can get it for free by signing up for my newsletter.  

If you're reading this, then The Wake Up is out and about and ready for your reading pleasure!

There's is only one man Jackson would get out of bed for . . . or invite to his bed, if he got that lucky. Unfortunately, Matt Kingston only has eyes for Jackson's buns, which would be great . . . if Jackson weren't a baker. A year of pining and wooing with sprouted wheat has been fruitless, and Jackson is ready to give up, but it turns out Matt has a secret of his own. If only he were better at rising to the occasion.

The Wake Up is a free short story set in Red Creek and I can't wait for you to read it. So clickity click over to Instafreebie to get your copy now!

Succeeding(ish) at the Publishing Game

pug-1210025_1920 Almost two months ago, I wrote to my agent. It was a short email that said something like "Let's talk about what's next. And let's do it soon, because The Pick Up is going to be out next week and I just finished the draft for Cold Pressed, and I'm expecting the emotional hangover to be EPIC."

Boy, did I not even know.

The Pick Up is almost two months old now. In the ensuing 60ish days, I've watched publishing dreams (mine and others) stumble and collapse under the weight of racism, harassment, and the giant angry echo chamber that is the internet.

There were tears (mine and others).

There were promises to do better (mine and others).

There were admissions that it's hard to find momentum after so much uncertainty (fortunately, not mine...except for Good Friday when I nearly deleted the complete Cold Pressed draft in a fit of inadequacy).

So here's what I've learned in the last two months, as voiced by so many other people in the same boat.

A nightmare you say? Tell me more.

Even celebrities (except possibly Sean Penn and Morrissey) are not immune from the crushing weight of authorly uncertainty.

Yup. Publishing will rip your heart out. It will tell you that your hours, days, weeks, months, years of hard work don't matter, because what publishing really wants is another white duke, or a lonely gay superhero (but not your lonely gay superhero*).  And yeah, I'm talking about traditional publishing, and yes, I know self-publishing will let me write my dukes, superheroes, or neurotic professors and put them out into the world without the grind and the waiting game of trad publishing. I'm pretty sure it will just rip your heart out in other ways instead. Like when Amazon suddenly decides your story is too gay and too sexy to inflict on decent people and stops promoting your titles. Or when the limitations of stock photography mean your cover model appears on seven covers in three months.

I was on Facebook this week (spoiler, don't go on Facebook), and someone asked what the lesson is, if you put in all this time, and effort, ink, sweat and tears, and no on reads it? What if the book happens, but the reading doesn't? If you don't succeed, what was the lesson?

Writing is my joy. That's the lesson. Bree said it above, but it's true for me too. I say it all the time. I am happier writing than doing just about anything else. If you're writing novels for any other reason, I'm not sure how you'll succeed, because the rest of it has the very real potential to be a nightmare.

In the last 60ish days, there have been hurdles and hiccups the likes of which my poor debut author brain could not have fathomed. I lost sleep. There were so many tears. And then you know what I did? I kept writing. Because publishing is going to rip my heart out, but writing is going to put it back together again. And every time I write something new, or edit something new, I create another opportunity to succeed at my joy (before the heart ripping starts again).

Someone on Twitter asked last week what piece of advice you'd give to your younger self. And despite everything, this is what I said.

I'm succeeding on my own terms. Come at me. I'm ready.


*I don't currently have a lonely gay superhero...but now I'm thinking about it.

If You Liked The Pick Up...

Presenting Where's Waldo...Kyle Edition! img_0026

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Today is The Pick Up's one month anniversary! Hearing from those of you who read and loved Kyle and Adam's story was one of the best feelings ever! And then you asked when there would be more stories and...well...it's complicated. The Hook Up (a prequel short about how Kyle met Olivia) is out now, and I've got another short planned a few months from now. But, for reasons, the date of the next novel is TBD.

In the meantime, I'd like to make some recommendations. We started talking in my Facebook group this week about covers and stock photos. I like to think that The Pick Up's cover is distinctly cute but the fact remains that that smiley dude is a stock photo model and you can find him having all kinds of adventures over on DepositPhoto. My particular favourites are the ones where he can't figure out laundry, and where he makes an especially dorky face in the mirror, because spinach in your teeth is never cool.

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But even weirder than seeing Kyle in the controlled realm of stock photos is seeing him on other people's covers. He's everywhere! Literally everywhere. The Pick Up is one of seven covers I've found in the last six months with Mr. Smiley on the cover. And that's just in m/m romance! God only knows what he's up to in the heterosexual world!

So while you're waiting for my further novel-length adventures, here are six novels that feature the same guy on the cover. If you liked The Pick Up, maybe you'll like the continued antics of Smiley Stock Photo Guy! He is perpetually adorable, although I have to admit the maternal writer in me wants to tell him to put on a shirt sometimes.

Kyle Covers

Buy links are here:

The Glasshouse (Lavender Shores, book 6) by Rosalind Abel Something New (Something About Him, book 1) by Sean Ashcroft Champagne Kiss (Rose Falls, book 3) by Raleigh Ruebins Heart of Glass (Lawyers in Love, book 3) by Ari McKay Rock a Bye (Cray's Quarry, book 1) by Rachel Kane Blaze (A Masterson Novel, book 1) by Avery Ford

If you find SSPG anywhere else, maybe leave a comment so we can continue to expand our libraries? Good book recs are always appreciated.

Happy reading!

The Hook Up

UPDATED, JULY 2018: The Hook Up has moved. You can get it for free by signing up for my newsletter.

 

Okay folks, Mondays are hard, so how about a freebie?

The most common thing I saw in reviews for The Pick Up was that people wanted to know more about Kyle's history with Olivia.

Fortunately, I wrote a short story about that very thing! Here's the night that Kyle met Olivia.

Remember the fights? The lost phone? It's all there. But also, there's karaoke! Ice sculptures! Revenge via veggie fries!

Don't worry though, if you haven't read The Pick Up (although you totally should anyway), The Hook Up stands on its own.

And did I mention it's free?

And available right now?

All you have to do is clicky click on the link and grab a copy!

Happy reading!

PS, I've got more Red Creek shorts planned for later this year. Members of my Facebook group always get them first. Join us if that's a thing that sounds like fun!

The Pick Up

Another excerpt from my trip to the bank.

"How long have you been a writer?"

"Well, I mean, I think people who are writers, it's always something they've done. You know? There's always a history. Bad poetry, terrible short stories and-"

"No. It's for the computer. I have to put a start date for your job."

Oh.

What do I tell him? Is it the day I started writing The Pick Up? The day I finished it and decided it was something I might try to publish?

In the end, I gave him the date last July when I signed my contract with Riptide. I was a writer long before there was a document with terms and conditions on it that said other people thought I was a writer too.

Today though. Today will always be special. Today is the day The Pick Up is released into the world, so today is the day you all find out I'm a writer too.

I hope you read Kyle and Adam's story. I really hope you like it. I'd love to hear from you. More importantly, I hope others hear from you. This industry is so dependent on word of mouth. So if you read it (even if you don't love my guys as much as I do), leave a review. On Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, or just with your book club. There's more Red Creek coming. You want people to join in the fun, don't you?

If you don't have a copy of The Pick Up yet, you can get all ebook formats and hard copies direct from Riptide, or from you favourite online retailer.

Thanks for reading!

A

On The Eve of Release

calendar-2763496_1280 The Pick Up is out in less than 72 hours (less than 24 if you preordered). Because I'm a typical author with typical insecurities, I've spent most of the last nine months being at least 50% sure that this is all an elaborate practical joke. A long con by people I've never met. I'm told the imposter syndrome makes me a Real Writer.

At this point though, I think I have to accept that this is actually going to happen.

There have been a lot of things that have surprised me about this process. The big one is how fast it happened. I'm one of the lucky ones who sold her first book quickly, with minimum angst and gnashing of teeth. I even got a bonus which is there are two more books coming, and I didn't have to query either! Undoubtedly, there will be some speed bumps and roadblocks ahead, and I will still be mostly languishing in obscurity this time next year, but it's been a fun ride so far!

But there have been a lot of other things, the ones you never picture when you sit down at your keyboard and think to yourself 'I'm going to write a book!' Someday I'm going to write about them, but here's the short list.

First and foremost, I've learned that editors are wizards. My editor Caz has this preternatural ability to see the little things in my manuscript, the hiccups in language and plot that I was never going to find. They have all made my story better. Also, she has this amazing precognition of when is the most inconvenient time to send me revisions. Nobody's perfect, I guess. Caz says she's still waiting for her Hogwarts letter, but I am confident it is only a matter of time.

Also, I've met some pretty amazing people. Online and in person. Writing is lonely, and even though I am a staunch introvert, I've made some amazing connections over the course of the last few years. Shaunta Grimes and the Ninja Writers, Firefly Creative Writing, the Toronto Romance Writers. And there's all of Writer!Twitter; so big and numerous I can't begin to name them all.

And I've done some pretty cool things. Last fall, I found myself wearing a vintage riding skirt, gingham shirt, authentic Australian cowboy hat, and a dollar store moustache. What was I doing? Waiting in line to buy a beer at GRL (I'm a Supporting Author this year, come see me!). They definitely don't tell you about the dollar store moustache when you write your first book.

There are other things. Unpleasant things. Reviews that weren't glowing. Taglines. Don't get me started on taglines. Has anyone ever been truly satisfied with the tagline for their book? Still for every awkward tagline and grumpy review, there's a tweet or a text from someone who liked the book, or at least likes me enough to be kind!

It's been quite the adventure. Monday is going to be fun! And then . . .

I might have an exciting update early next week! Tune in, same bat time, same bat channel!

Thanks for reading,

A

 

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New Feature!

clem-onojeghuo-400043 We're closing in on the home stretch here folks. And with any book launch comes...book reviews!

You guys, I got my first real review this week! And it was kind of awesome. The good folks at RT Book Reviews got ahold of The Pick Up, and I think they kinda liked it!

"Temple’s debut is a slice-of-life romance firmly rooted in the small town and domestic. Full of snippets of family life and dinner conversations between friends, The Pick Up is cozy and sweet, and the developing relationship between a parent and teacher contains compelling psychological realism. It’s well written, although at times its wholehearted embrace of the quotidian felt like it needed a bit of spicing up. This is the first in the Up Red Creek series. Readers are sure to enjoy it for its lovable cast of characters and sheer heart."

And because good news should be shared, I've set up a review page, so we can share the love! If you read The Pick Up and love it, tag me, so I can boost you and your kind words in the process!

This is your friendly reminder that The Pick Up is out March 5, but if you pre-order the e-copy it from Riptide now, you'll get it 48 hours early!

 

 

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A Blonde Moment

True story, I don't look like anyone else in my family. We all have blue eyes, but where my button nose and rosebud mouth* came from is a mystery.

Also a mystery is why my hair never went truly brown. My family is littered with childhood blondes who eventually went brunette. My hair is darker than it was, but I cling to the fact that it still falls under the blonde heading.

All this to say, I should absolutely be excused for completely blanking on the mystery box that arrived today. Even though Riptide emailed me two weeks ago and asked how many copies of The Pick Up I wanted. Even though we have less than seven weeks until release day. Even so, I opened that box with all the innocent enthusiasm of a four-year-old on Christmas morning.

A blonde four-year-old at that.

And then...

I cried a bit. I texted everyone I thought might be close to their phone. I spammed social media.

I wrote a book. It's a real book now. In just under two months, you can read it too! I hope you will!

The Pick Up is available for preorder from Riptide Publishing.

*those are my grandmother's words, not mine. I didn't look like her either.

Late Nights in Bookstores

I'm having a book hangover. Unfortunately the source is said hangover is my own book. You guys, I'm plotting out The Set Up, and while I'm excited for all the sexy juice bar goodness (and you should be too), I really miss the guys from The Hang Up and the cozy world of their bookstore. And then the Facebook gods bestowed this little gem on me, and you should all watch it right now!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKVcQnyEIT8?rel=0]

I saw this video five years ago, and it's just as magical today. This bookstore is even in Toronto! I might go check it out and pretend Seb is lurking just behind the next shelf!

What's the last book that gave you a hangover?

 

What's Your Book About?

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 12.52.36 PM "It's about a single dad who falls in love with his daughter's teacher."

That's the 13-word descriptor I give most people when they ask me what The Pick Up is about. I perfected it ages ago, back before I'd finished writing it, back when I wasn't sure if this was a hobby or a career or anything. For most people, it works.

"Yes, but what is it about? What happens?"

That was my mom a couple days before Christmas. We were having lunch at my grandmother's (for the record, my Nana is awesome and doesn't give two figs that I write books about guys kissing).

"Well..." I said. "There's this dad, and he moves back to his hometown and..."

Oh god this is awkward. I thought I'd escaped this kind of thing after I finished my query synopsis.

I am not alone in finding this challenging.

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It's a romance. They meet. They kinda don't like each other so much at first, and then slowly realize how much better their life is with each other in it. There's some not quite kissing, then some actual kissing, followed by Kyle saying some awkward things over Chinese food, and then there is more kissing.

Fin.

Oh, and this book also features the world premiere of the revolutionary field of ice cream psychology.

You don't even need to buy the damn thing now, I've given the whole plot away.

I saw this amazing post on Facebook today. It gave book descriptors like "life with Asperger's", "YA Gatsby" and "extreme illegal sports". Short and sweet. I'd read them all.

So what is The Pick Up about? In keeping with these tiny descriptors, here's my best shot.

  • Coming home
  • Escaping your awkward teenage years
  • Diplomacy via eggplant parmesan
  • Astronaut princesses
  • Serial texting
  • The seductive properties of moo-shu pork
  • Why Bluetooth headsets make bad first impressions
  • Uncomfortable conversations with your parents

Is that better? You can layer those over my earlier "they almost kiss" summary and you've pretty well got the whole story nailed down.

The Pick Up comes out two months today. It's about all those things and I'd really love it if you'd read it. You can pre-order here, or sign up for my mailing list and I'll send out links to the major retailers just as soon as I have them.

In the meantime, leave a comment and tell me what your favourite book is about.