November 5, 2015

Tour Day: Sheri Velarde Discusses Writing Gay Romance

Today's Touring Author:
Sheri Velarde is a dear friend and fellow author, and a pleasure to welcome to Foreplay and Fangs. She lives in New Mexico with her new husband and their two dogs. Being an avid reader since an early age, she has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She has been writing all her life, but only recently started to actually try to pursue her dream of writing for a living. She specializes in all things paranormal and that go bump in the night. Her heart truly lies in exploring unknown worlds or adding the supernatural to our world. If it goes bump in the night or has magical connotations, Sheri writes about it. She is constantly putting out new material with various publishers, so it is best to keep up with her on her website In her spare time Sheri is an artist, jewelry designer, independent comic writer/artist and freelance non-fiction writer. Hiking in the mountains, going to live concerts, art openings, museums, and hosting intimate dinner parties.

Today's Guest Blog, by Sheri:
Writing is a scary profession to undertake. You are putting your heart and soul out there for people to read, to criticize, to dissect. It is even scarier when you try to get a foothold in a new genre. That was the leap that I took for Possessed by Love, a m/m piece that is included in the Haunted Hotties Volume 1 anthology now out on Torquere Press.
Now writing erotic romance is nothing new for me. I have had several releases in the genre, though at the moment many are in the process of finding new homes as the publishing world is not only hard on authors, but on smaller publishers as well. That is in fact one of the reasons I am branching out, pushing myself as an author and exploring new genres, such as m/m romance. Mostly in the past I have written m/f erotic romances, though I have had success with a couple f/f pieces as well. Now the m/m aspect was completely new to me in Possessed by Love, but I wanted to see how I would do and I am beyond pleased with the result and how it has been received.
Recently someone asked me why I would want to write a m/m story, or a f/f story for that matter since I was “clearly” a straight woman. So many things wrong with that questions. Shall we tackle them one by one?
First off, I write love stories. Okay, very sexy love stories most of the time, but there is always some form of love in my romances, not just sex for sex sake. Maybe it is finding a way to love and believe in yourself, or finding the one special someone who loves you the way you are. The point is love is essential to my writing and love comes in all shapes and forms. Characters tend to dictate to me who they are. Some are gay. Some are straight. They are all characters in search of love.
My first f/f piece came as a shock to me. I had intended it to be m/f but my character insisted she didn’t like men and I could not force into that story. Since the lead character was full formed, I listened to her and gave her to partner she wanted. The same held true for Possessed by Love. Andrew just did not want a haunted night with a woman. So he got the gorgeous man of his dreams instead. The characters know what they want and as an author I listen to them.
Secondly, the person who asked this made the assumption that since I am married to a man that I was straight and therefore could only writing straight romances. (Her words not mine.) This so speaks more about societal expectations which I won’t rant too much about, but this is a clear case of don’t judge a book by its cover. I am an out and proud bisexual woman who happened to fall in love with a man. Gender and sexuality are so fluid I don’t know why people continue to want to put people in nicely labeled boxes. Same goes for authors. We can learn and grow by writing in many genres and creating varied characters, with just as varied sexual preferences.
I feel that as authors we should constantly try to reach out and try to include more diversity in our writing. It is something that I strive to do. I try to include more races in my stories, for instances in Possessed by Love Andrew is half Native America and he must deal with not fitting into the Native American world nor the Anglo world either. His love interest is Hispanic, though from Spain as I couldn’t resist throwing in an accent.
By pushing myself into other genres I am also striving to have more gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, etc. characters in my writing. I am actually just starting work on an idea for a transgendered centered novel that I hope will handle the topic with respect and in a realistic light that I have found missing in the stories I have read. (On a side note if any of you have read a book that had a well-represented transgendered character, please let me know for I am always seeking recommendations! Comment on this blog of find me on social media and let me know. I am a strong believer that you become a better writer through reading.)
The point is, there is a point in here somewhere I swear, is that as authors we should not be pigeonholed into certain genres based on how we are perceived by some people in public. Write the stories that are in you, whether they are about people who are like you or someone extremely different. I write about vampires and shifters a lot, even though I am neither. The same goes for writing love scenes for someone of the opposite sex. Authors do it all the time, we imagine what things are like, we do research, we try to write fantasy so that it sounds realistic to the reader. Is it exactly like real life? No. I wrote a sex scene in a car once that fit the story but that I would have no desire to reenact, but it sure sounded good on paper.
Sorry if this has been rambling a bit, I just got married on Halloween and my brain has not fully recovered, was living my own romance story for a bit. The point I really want aspiring authors to take away from this post is to write what you feel. Write about varied characters and situations. The more varied your world, the more real it will feel. 

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Book blurb
Andrew faced the growing storm with animosity. He would be trapped in his shop for a couple of days with no food or electricity. Hopefully he could at least get food at the Church Street Café. Food he did find and so much more once Damian, the owner of the café, asks him to ride out the storm with him in the quarters above the restaurant. Generators, food and warmth aside, Andrew has spent months wishing for such an invitation from the mysterious and sexy Damian. What starts out as light flirtation turns into so much more. Something comes over both men, letting them leave their insecurities behind as they become possessed by passion and love.

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The door opened and a rush of warm air enveloped and light him. Andrew sighed in relief, stepping inside. Looking around and seeing no one, he called out, "Hello. Are you open?" His voice echoed slightly in the strange quiet that had befallen the entire city, especially the usually busy tourist section where he worked and practically lived, trying to make his designs successful. Venturing farther into the restaurant, heading towards the kitchen in back, he figured it would always be possible to take some food and leave money. As he pushed the kitchen door open, he called out again, "Is anyone here?" It was strange that the lights were on and the place was so warm when the rest of the square was dark and cold, it left him feeling a bit uneasy.
Suddenly something moved behind him. Andrew turned quickly but no one was there. The entire dining area was open and he didn't see a soul, yet he was sure he had felt someone right behind him only a moment before. A chill ran down his spine, even though the room was warm from several fires burning. A little scared, he warily continued into the kitchen.
"Hello?" Still no answer, so he proceeded to look for food. Upon finding some takeout supplies, Andrew began to fill them with posole and chili, figuring he could warm them on the wood stove back in his store in some old pot or something should he be stuck longer than expected. “Always be prepared.” He mumbled to himself, chuckling as he remembered his brief stint and disastrous stint in the boy scouts where he learned that motto.
Just as he was packing up to leave, wondering why all the food was there and still warm without a person in sight, he heard a deep, sexy, masculine voice behind him. "Can I help you with something, Andrew?"
Andrew shrieked like a boy as he turned around. "Damian, you nearly scared me to death. I called out over and over with no answer." Andrew’s heart rate kicked up a notch, as it always did when he was in the presence of the new café owner. The man was so damn good-looking; he always reminded him of Benjamin Bratt: tall, dark, and handsome, but with a Spanish accent. He was just too hot for him to handle, and he usually stammered inanely, making a fool of himself in the other man’s presence.


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