Shades of What?

I was talking to a well-known publisher this week as we bemoaned the fate or not…of the publishing industry. There’s no disputing the fact, that publishing has gone through one or two massive changes over the last few years. The major one being the radical swing to e-pub. It was inevitable of course, and feared with dread by the likes of me – an old-fashioned girl – who loves the thrill of a new books and relishes the turn of every crisp new page. However, I, like many others embraced it and came to actually quite like the freshness it brought. Naturally, it became big business, meaning that every wannabee writer then thought how easy is this? Hurray! My awful book will see the light of day, after all. Yes, I am sorry to be blunt but it’s true. Test it out for yourself. Out there on the shelves of Kindlemania are many an oddity written by a hand and mind that can piece very little together. OK, I am not always great shakes at the English language and invariably fall down potholes. Yes, I am an English and Creative Writing grad but with all degrees…a fair amount lodges in the brain cells but some doesn’t and comes trickling straight back out again. As much as I hate to admit it, I do still often make mistakes and fear I will never ever grapple comfortably with all the minutiae of the grammar machine. Anyway, to do that I fear is a writer’s downfall. Picking over every word means we do not benefit from spontaneity and why else do we have that fabulous creature the editor? If not to pounce on some of our sillier moments and confidently tidy them up.

   I digress…but some of the awful books lying on the electronic shelf beggar belief.  Stories that are not there…I mean to say….no plot…..give way to spelling and wrong use of words that make your hair turn grey. I reiterate this isn’t that I haven’t made the odd faux pas, because I have, and I bet you have too. No, I mean whole books of it exist out there.

    One good thing. Recent publicity shows the paper book is far from dead and is making a comeback. It is also seen in my titles and many of my colleagues now having paperback runs which is enough to make the heart sing.

   Oh, I do have one more gripe before I go today. Shades of Grey….Shades of What? It now seems from scanning the bookshelves we have Shades of everything. I think the time has come to call a halt.  There are many things I could say about Shades of Grey, a book a lot of us were tempted to rushed to emulate and are glad we didn’t. Approached to write a similar story, I turned down the commission. There are loads of books and subjects I would love to write. But when all is said and done do we all want to copy and do the same thing and frankly haven’t we had enough? Shades was always going to be that ‘one off,’ miracle. It was a ripe apple ready to fall at the moment when everyone wanted it. Now, though we need a return to classic erotica, which many folk still love and also good chick-lit – and I don’t mean the stuff being churned out by the bucket load by folk hoping to hang onto the success of others. I mean good, frank women’s social and day to day drama with a heart, and really strong issues that we can all identify with. My colleagues are doing it and with great success and I am sure many more of us can too. Another thing worth adding, any book and great story of whatever genre, if its worth its salt…with flourish.

     All of this has led to this final line, which is what I really wanted to say all along, to all my aspiring writer friends. It is this. Do not be panicked by every title that is a big sensation. It is a freak, a twist of fate, a one off. Stick to tried and tested good writing with heart. Watch your P’s and Q’s and find your own unique voice not someone else’s. Then in the end, all will be well and we will be seeing your title added to those bulging shelves…Because you had conviction, you were original and you are actually a serious and good writer though, it may not always sell a million but it will have staying power and more than that. You will actually be proud to see it out there. I’ll leave you with that thought. 

A Better Blog…

I have just been pondering what a year of unexpected happenings this has been. Leaving behind an old life and starting a new one, inevitably brings tussles and massive change in its wake and its important to go with the flow. The hardest thing has been being prised out of my hidey hole into the public spotlight. I once thought mistakenly that I could hide away and never have to see a soul when I put pen to paper. This is a rather quaint view of being a writer that many of us tend to harbour, but couldn’t be more wrong. Forced into the light, like a vampire I wanted to run  back and hide in the dark but I have rapidly come to enjoy and embrace being much more public. This is a hard climate to be a writer in and the publishing business has been working as hard as any other, to survive the belt tightening of the last few years. This means authors have had to become more proactive and I fully agree with that. In fact, it’s pretty wonderful to add a new strand to the creative life and meet many of the fans and keen readers of erotica and romance who are out there.

I am still not brilliant at this publicity thing. Having wrestled with personal changes on the homefront, getting a working place sorted where I can be quiet, disentangling some hard health issues and coming out of the closet as regards my job, I have rather pushed the PR onto the back burner. Now I have to face the fact I must promote, promote, promote. Not easy for a shy retiring sort who’s a quiet soul and doesn’t like sounding her own trumpet.  So, here is my first writerly blog. In the weeks that come as I keep you informed as to work in progress and what’s happening, I hope to share both gems of wisdom and some nonsense with you.  I am after all, a normal human being with many failings.

New Releases

I love writing gay erotic romance, and am delighted to announce the Kindle release of my latest novel, ‘Hidden.’

Reclusive genius, Darren’s life is turned upside down when he meets art gallery owner Jake. Both men enter into an affair but both fear involvement.
Tangled in a web of love and lust, their relationship develops into one of complex emotional control and bondage. Each man realises that although in the past they have shipwrecked chances of happiness they now can’t let one another go and it is time for them to face their inner demons.
Each stands to gain something precious from the other – namely a chance at emotional liberation and true love. Can these two men, who are both hiding secrets from one another, make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save their love affair?
Darren thinks they can, but things are about to take a startling turn for the worst when Jake is forced to come clean about the massive secret that overshadows his life?

Hidden

Get it now!  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-Erotic-Story-Xcite-Books-ebook/dp/B00GS01NKC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1385127281&sr=1-1&keywords=Hidden+alcamia+payne

Blogging changes!

Hi everyone

Thank you so much for all your private mail asking where I have been.  After a major illness there were some ups and downs in the spring but I’m happy to say I’m much better now and back fulltime scribbling away.

Being ill gave me loads of thinking time and helped me come to some important decisions as to the route my writing career is taking and the publicity angle. Writing full time is a huge endeavour requiring much love and mental discipline. I always found self publicity very difficult until I sat back and analysed what would work for me.  I think I floundered finding the right platforms but have come down heavily in favour of WordPress as still the best medium to get my messages across. I shall be offering an expanded blog in the months to come with a ‘writer spotlight’ and a few select reviews on books that are particularly interesting.

Welcome to my new followers. I love having you here on my journey and there’s lots of exciting news to come. 

Lot’s of you have asked what led me to become a writer.  Well that’s a really hard question.   My love of literature was always there even through several career changes but it wasn’t until I got older than I found the bravery to turn to writing full-time. The craving to write is born within you I think – and like an alien creature one day you have to give birth to it. I was a hobbyist for many years, rushing home from work to put pen to paper, doing it late at nights when it was quiet and every spare moment in between.  It was a huge huge sacrifice. Many factors led me to submit my first work – one of them a close friend – who pointed out the path of despairing writers who push their work under the bed or into drawers but can never find the courage to be criticized by an editor. 

As a joke we devised a competition; did either of us have the guts to take that first step and send something in? We did and I can tell you, it wasn’t instant success. Out there in the writing world there are many things you have to become aware of. The first was this. When you pen a book or story it is like your baby and as a beginning writer you are loath to hack and trim it, even if you know it isn’t quite right. Those first few mistakes were painful as I clung to every word. It was only later when I thought about it, that I realised to succeed meant honing my skills and sacrificing. I sat back and worked hard; went back to uni and took a creative writing course on top of my lit degree, which actually didn’t help much. I think if you are a conscientious reader all the knowledge you need is laid out in front of you with those other spectacular and better writers that are your muses. Sure, you must have a huge vocabulary, but you can work on adding to that and anyway you will have it from all that reading. Grammar, well yes! Of course you edit a large amount of work and your grammar must be good. You can learn this though and there’s many resources around to help you. And remember every publishing house has slightly different grammatical requirements anyway. I found the creative writing degree good, but when it came down to it like any other job it is about experience.

The school of hard knocks was mine. Enviously I watched other writers, tried to emulate, tied myself up in knots. Then I began to apply some rules and they were these. Hone and refine your work, target the publishing house so you send in what they want and then stop looking at your nearest competitor and write as you desire, with your own technique and voice. One day as I did, you will send in your story and it will catch someone’s eye. My friend and I did just this. We found the courage, got knocked back as even the most famous writer will be, but succeeded in the end. Now, I am here and my friend has the wonderful pleasure of writing successful and fabulous mainstream chick lit for a grand publisher.

Not all genres of writings are financially rewarding, few of us will become truly great. However, I have what I always wanted, I work as a full-time writer and it is what I love to do. I write with my own voice and even if it means criticism I am learning all the time and feeling a wonderful sense of achievement over each little thing I do. Writing is the hardest job in the world but the feeling of joy when an editor says ‘we want to accept your story,’ is incredible. It is addictive, I could never stop. I would probably do it for nothing.
Anyway, welcome, welcome to all, I hope you will enjoy my weekly posts. Please follow me here with all my latest news and releases and here and there a competition and free book giveaway. I would love your comments both positive and negative.

I am currently busy beavering away on my successful and slightly controversial third novel ‘Obsession,’ last in ‘The Perfect Slave trilogy.’ With a science fiction submission and romance plus other titbits  in the pipeline.

My new M/M novel, ‘Hidden,’ will be out with Xcite/Accent Press Soon.

 

Glad to be back

The end of 2012 saw many trials and tribulations on the health front as I battled with what I thought was terminal illness.  I’m glad to say though that I’m now completely on the road to recovery and am glad to be immersed in many more exciting new projects with some new and wonderful publishers now I am out of hospital.  I intend to be visible this year so please watch my blogs and tweets for news of my new projects and please feel free to post reviews or even send me an email.  Whether negative or positive I love getting feedback whilst trying to keep my followers happy with new ideas.

   There is much in the pipeline for this coming year.   A pinch of Spice will soon be released.  This is the sequel to the highly successful A Pinch of Snuff and was a response to many readers asking me for more of the same ‘Victoriana,’ with a naughty twist.  A pinch of Spice whilst a kinky story in its own right it also a follow on to my first short story.  This time though we have a novella featuring the life of the feisty socialite, Eliza Pinch – a Victorian advisor of women who soon gets more than she bargains for.  Way ahead of her time Eliza considers herself a feminst and has carved a place out for herself amongst the aristocracy advising women on matters of a more delicate nature which they cannot discuss with anyone else.  A heiress, Eliza is consumed with a career which gives her more than a thrill or two of her own.

  Undertaking a favour for one of her friends, Eliza has never counselled or advised a man but feeling compelled to assist she soon gets more than she bargained for as she irons out her new client’s sexy foibles and secretive obsessions.  Furthermore, feisty Eliza has not bargained on that elusive force ‘love,’ catching her, because she has always denied herself love – has witnessed love’s treachery and disappointments too many times to allow herself to fall into that trap.  How can she resist a man though, who she finds increasingly compelling and who caters to her every whim and dream.   A Pinch of Spice is a grown up romp with more than it’s fair share of love and romance and of course bondage and spice – I hope you enjoy it.

Also this year, we will see the release of book 2, in The Perfect Slave trilogy.  It has been a long birth since the plot was complex.  The first book created a real stir but I always knew it would.  However, when I thought about cutting parts or simplifying it, I found it destroyed the story, so I always left the first book ‘Devotion,’ as I imagined it.   Book 2, ‘Possession,’  sees my characters trying to find out the secrets of the ‘jeu.’  Now Astor’s slave, Tristan becomes wrapped up in the dark world of elite BDSM and is soon exposed to it’s crumbling network of elitist masters.  As he finds out more about the distant history of the secret society, he becomes more obsessed than ever with becoming Astor’s perfect slave and breaking down the defences of a man who has sworn he will never love again.  Tristan has not bargained on the strength of one other interfering master in particular though.  Kumar has his eye on the blond hunk and is determined to purchase him from Astor or find some other means of acquiring him.  Set half in modern times and half in the time of ‘The Crusades,’ Possession is an exciting foray setting the whole background scene of the jeu from ancient times whilst also carrying the story forward and setting the scene for the final book in the Trilogy.   I don’t want to spoil the plot for you.  But Kumar appears again in Book 3 and Tristan’s life is in jeopardy.   Be prepared for plenty of kink, a shot of love and lot’s of gay graphic bondage detail.

Of course, there are a few other ideas floating around so please watch for a number of short stories, another new novel under the name Constance Munday and a few other exciting projects which I’m keeping under wraps for the moment.  Thank you all for your great feedback.  Positive or negative it is all a learning curve and I enjoy hearing what you would like to read about next.

      Happy 2013 to all my followers and I love reading your blogs.  Alcamia x

Writing as therapy

Devotion was always going to be controversial.  When I wrote it I didn’t set out to write pure erotica but rather an intelligent story, a proper novel.  I can never see why erotica and literary art can’t go together.  I have had boundless comments and some very positive feedback for what was a risky undertaking but if a book makes you think, it’s achieved something.   Here is the thing.  I love writing sex but I like sex with a story.  I also love many other  things too.  So Devotion became a mystical story in one respect with love, romance and erotica meshed with history and the paranormal and not just one page after the other of hardcore sexual antics.  Accused also of too much verbosity, well I stand my ground.  Things needed to be explained in book one or the book would have been too shallow.   I worked it as well as I could but still think the description was needed or all we would have had was a mishmash of sexual scenes.  I did hope it would appeal to the reader who was intelligent and liked a little bit more than a routine erotica novel.  I must have got something right since the German market likes it and has made me smile with a comment about the book being….yep!  a bit shades of G…?  Dare I say it and also sexy.

It was always meant to be daring and hard to contain within the requisite 80,000 words.  Yes, editorial restraints meant that a lot of the sex and training scenes in Devotion had to be cut, so a sensible story could be constructed.  I think readers don’t always realise that us writers often have to abide by necessary editorial restraints which is what makes self-publishing seem so attractive sometimes.  I love working with my editors though.

Yes, I realise I made mistakes with Devotion, but a story is a story and worth it for those who did enjoy it and even worth writing for those who didn’t, since it stimulated some healthy discussion.  Books are widely open to opinion and dissection and as writers we have to take it on the chin.  Devotion was always going to appeal to a niche market.  It achieved it’s goal for which I’m grateful.  At times raw, it is sentimental and rather curious…as always I wrote it from the heart and loved every minute.   I truly welcome your comments on it.

Now to other things and notably my lack of activity lately.  Those closest to me will know I have had a cancer scare.  I used to think it could never happen to me, but of course it can happen to anyone, even some mad health fanatic like me.  The signs are good at this point although I am in the midst of mayhem with tests, so let this be a lesson.   As always writing is my very positive therapy.  To those of you on my private network I sincerely thank you for your support and I’m glad to say none of this is holding up any of my writing obligations.

Watch this space……

Devotion – a trilogy

This week saw the release of Devotion, (see pages) a pet project which I’ve been pondering for years.  I’ve been asked so much about this book as it’s aroused quite a stir.  One of the primary questions being why do I write so much gay and lesbian literature? I have no answer to this except to say it’s a genre I love.  Of course being a writer I love everything I write.  Starting off as a romance writer I naturally gravitated towards a field I enjoyed though and that was hot romance and erotica. 

I think my forays into gay literature come from my broad outlook.  I’ve always loved the human race in all their different facets and one of my big things has been the exploring of human emotions on all levels.  I’m often accused of being deep, not a bad thing I suppose, but it has wreaked a trail of destruction…depth and sensitivity making me question things so much and often leading to a fraught love life (he he).  Anyway I digress…

Yes, I have had and do have a great many gay friends and friends from all walks of life.  Being born into a deeply religious family, I guess gave me an early rebellious streak, then university honed it….where I got a bit millitant and delved into everything just because I wanted to buck the trend.  People get jolly confused with me.   Heavily involved in spiritual, metaphysical, arty and voluntary things, I look to all outward appearances very normal.  Inside I’m a fulminating pot of conflicting ideas and emotions which are kept concealed and hidden out of the way. 

My first gay story which I published under another pen name was a huge success.  I was prompted to write it by a gay friend who was moaning about the lack of good alternative literature with a hot twist, so for a lark I wrote it and presented it to him.  This story was fairly serious stuff.  A lot of my more recent work is more lighthearted.  Vilified for the shortness of my offerings I recently put pen to paper to rectify this and that is when I got Devotion out of a drawer and set to work on it. 

Devotion is no ordinary gay romance.  It is covert, mysterious (I do love a bit of magic and mystery. ) I don’t want to destroy the surprise.   But Astor is a modern BDSM master with a difference and Tristan the hero, is a normal man looking for a life change.  Drawn into the world of the French jeu, (a BDSM lifestyle game with a difference), Tristan soon finds himself challenged in more ways than one.  Astor who is grand master of the jeu, a collapsing network of masters with their roots back in antiquity, has searched all his life for the perfect slave…a man to assume the mantle of grand master one day – and Tristan is it.   Astor though is haunted by his one true deceased lover Vedic – the angel – a pious Russian boy with the gift of second sight.  When Astor meets Tristan he is researching the historical roots of the jeu and its philosophy… the acquiring of sexual nirvana.  Tristan gets swept along on the ride.

Devotion is not your normal book of sex scenes.  It’s a romance about the deeper meaning of life and men finding themselves.  It’s about Astor’s struggle to love again when all he is now intent on is physical pleasure…and it is about Tristan and how he can remain determined enough to break down Astor – the man he loves, and his defences – and eventually make him love him.

Interwoven with this are strands of the paranormal as the jeu is steeped in myth and magic.   And we also have the lesbian strand.   A sub thread of the book is Astor’s struggle to liberate his half sister Olivia from her domineering crook husband baby Joe.

First in the Perfect Slave trilogy I’ve had such a wonderful time with this book and am already hard at work on the sequel.  As always I listened to my fans who wanted something longer and more meaty and I hope this delivers on all fronts.  As always I’d love to hear your comments.  Devotion is available now on all Amazon platforms, and receives mass publication mid December if you don’t have a kindle.   Fancy a snippet read on…and enjoy and once again thanks to all of you who make this possible.

http://www.amazon.com/Devotion-erotic-Perfect-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B009H4FW9O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348907723&sr=1-1&keywords=devotion++alcamia+payne

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Devotion-erotic-Perfect-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B009H4FW9O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348906144&sr=1-1

DEVOTION – EXCERPT

Tristan had been dozing, listening to the soothing chords of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 3, when he was jolted out of his reverie by Nicodemus shaking him by the arm and ripping the earpiece out of his ear.

‘Wake up, sleepyhead, we’ve arrived at the Palais.’

Tristan went to remove the blindfold.

‘No, not yet, you mustn’t see the front of the house, the Palais is unmistakable.’

Nicodemus took his arm, helping him out of the car, the gravelled forecourt crunching underfoot. Tristan could tell they weren’t in the centre of the city because he could hear the distant thunder of traffic some way away on the Boulevard Périphérique. Nicodemus guided him as he might lead a blind man, up the steps and into the echoing vestibule of the grand house. ‘I think we can remove that now, don’t you?’

Tristan blinked.

‘Now please remove your shoes.’

Tristan noticed Nicodemus had already removed his own shoes and was pulling on a pair of tight-fitting house slippers which were kept on a rack at the side of the door. ‘These carpets are worth a small fortune. This is a house of luxury, Tristan. Mr Kopalski doesn’t allow any shoes. Even if a prince were to visit he’d have him abide by the same rules.’ Grinning, Nicodemus held up a pair of monogrammed slippers. ‘He had these made especially for you.’

Slipping off his own footwear, Tristan put on the slippers. They fitted perfectly and were sensually smooth. Now he had time to admire his surroundings, his mouth fell open in amazement. The shock to his system was immense; it was if he’d been catapulted into a surreal film set. The vestibule was

incredible, covered in black and white tiles. There were several rooms leading off to right and left, all of them with closed double doors. In front of him was an imposing white marble staircase, lined with niches full of busts of famous composers, and the walls were covered in fine oil paintings of imposing historical figures. Kopalskis down through history, he supposed; men in dress dating back to the 15th century, frilled shirts, gaiters, and frock coats, some of them standing with hunting dogs or birds of prey. He stood by one, noticing as he looked closer that most of the paintings had a small cicada painted either into the painting itself or as a monogram.

Nicodemus noticed him looking. ‘You’ll find Mr Kopalski’s a suspicious man, and believes heavily in symbology, as all his family did. Many years ago, one of his relatives brought a gold cicada back from the Holy Land, and it was always meant to have had some significance, quite what I don’t know. What I do know is, amongst other things, the cicada denotes reincarnation and metamorphosis. If you look closely you’ll see the paintings are rich in symbology; all the ciphers the artist included have a secret meaning.’

Published by Xcite Books Ltd – 2012

ISBN 9781909335288

Copyright © Alcamia Payne 2012

Editorial combat

I have just emerged from heavy editorial combat and am just resurfacing into the real world.  I actually don’t loathe editing, but rather enjoy it and always like to see it as part of the learning curve.   Every editor has their own way of seeing the world too, which makes it all the more interesting. 

I’m lucky to have such wonderful editors.  In the beginning when I was on the publishing trail I saw them as kind of this spooky and rather forbidding presence, a hurdle I had to negotiate.  I have actually never met a bad editor, I think it’s all to do with approach.   Be polite to your editor even if you feel like gnashing your teeth.  Even when you are struggling and can’t get published they are invaluable. I know the first ones I encountered just made me ‘up my game.’  Yes, I took heed and went back to the drawing board and tried to see where I’d gone wrong and it only made me a better writer.  Now, I work with several editors and they are all different, it makes each book edit a treat though.  I love the negotiation and like to have my faults pointed out so I can try not to make them again.  Inevitably I do make faults.  That is why us writers need editors.  We are so eager to get our words and ideas down I think we often make silly mistakes in continuity and text and we rely on our editor to put us right.

Often an editor can become a friend.  I know some of mine have been inspirational and I would never have got where I have without their encouragement and belief.  I constantly need it as well –  as you know writers being a fragile species – we look for constant confirmation we’re not rubbish and suffer continual agonies over what we have written.

Anyway what about news!  Well, there’s loads.  A forthcoming radio interview is in the offing and I have been approached over an exciting new project, a bit hush, hush at present…..but that makes it even more exciting doesn’t it?  Also my new novel ‘Sinful Treasure’ is due out in early November and has had much critical acclaim, so I’m overwhelmed with all the positive feedback I’ve got.  If you like your romance with more than a hint of ertotica, demons and the paranormal, I think you’ll like this.

plus…wonderful fem. magazine ‘Diva’ have once again allowed me to grace their pages with a short story in October’s edition.  ‘Siren Song,’ is just a little offering but I hope you girls will like it.    

And….yay….I’m ecstatic….my gay novel ‘Devotion’ first in the Perfect Slave Trilogy, is out with Xcite very soon.  I’ll keep you all posted.  Thanks for all your positive emails, I love getting them.  Comments to my private mail box are always answered.  www.alcamia@hotmail.co.uk and my new website at www.alcamiapayne.com is now up and running.  Not many pages yet, but we’re getting there.

Once again thank you to my loyal band of followers, I love getting your ideas and entertaining you with my stories and for those of you on the writing trail….keep happy, keep loving it and great good luck.  I know you’ll tell me all about your successes… For all my news follow me on Twitter…  🙂