Today’s guest post is by D. G. Barnes.
Why Lesfic, and why it took me 40 years to write my first book
In the fall of 2018, I told my family and friends that I had written and self-published my first book, they were surprised and happy for me of course. When I told them that it was a lesbian romance, they were shocked. Not because of the genre, but because I had chosen to write in that genre. As far as they were concerned, I was a diehard science fiction fan, and this is true. I am. I’ve been watching Star Trek since the late 60s. I even went to Las Vegas in August of 2016 for Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary Convention. I am also a fan of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Space 1999. Really anything to do with space was all I needed to fuel my imagination when I was young.
So, what does this have to do with lesfic? Well, nothing really. But it did influence my desire to write when I was young. Let’s go back in time to 1978 and my eighth grade English class. Creative writing was part of the curriculum that year and my teacher, Mrs. Weeks, would hand out writing prompts in the form of cards with a picture and short paragraph on them. From that, we were to compose a short story which we would hand in to have graded. I always found a way to make my story a sci-fi, and Mrs. Weeks was pleased with my work and encouraged me to keep writing on my own. Even years after I graduated, if I happen to cross paths with Mrs. Weeks, she would ask me if I was working on my novel.
I heeded her words, for a while anyway. The following year, in the 9th grade, I had a different English teacher, but the curriculum was the same. I remember one story I wrote that the teacher really liked. When she handed it back, I saw that there was far more red ink than blue. She had written on it, A++, I will even excuse the grammar and spelling errors.
Through the rest of high school, I continued to write at home on my own, and I wish now that I had hung on to all those stories. I am sure they would seem rather juvenile. Of that, I have no doubt. After graduation, I went to college for a couple of years and joined the military afterword. I got married, had a family and life just got in the way. Every now and then the thought of writing pulled at me, but I never seemed able to find the time. I know, I know, that sounds like a cop-out.
Fast forward to 2016. I retired from the military after 32 years, my only child was an adult, and my divorce was twenty years old. I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and not really knowing what to do with it. That was when the writing bug made its presence known once again. I started reading what others had written on different sites and forums, then I took to writing some of my own. I did a bunch of research with how to sites and books, including Stephen King’s On Writing. Once I had revised my stories with the new-found knowledge, I posted them, under a pen name of course. I did this for a year and received some nice comments.
About that same time, I discovered Audible and fell in love with audiobooks. First, I started listening to some favorites from my youth. Lots of Star Trek, naturally, but I also listened to authors such as Clive Cussler, James A. Michener, and Arthur C. Clarke just to name a few. It was when I was browsing for something new to listen to that I stumbled across The Valkyrie Chronicles by Erik Schubach which were my first introduction to stories with lesbians as the main characters. In this series, the romance is a sub-plot.
After I finished The Valkyrie Chronicles, I knew I wanted to read more, but something that focused more on the romance. Which was out of the ordinary for me as I had never read a single romance novel up to this point. That was when I discovered Meghan O’Brien. If you haven’t read her works, they’re quite erotic. Great stories, but not what I wanted. Unlikely Match by Fiona Riley was my next find. I would read this a second time down the road as I didn’t realize it was book two in a series, coming after Miss Match and before Strike a Match, but I digress.
It was after Fiona’s book that I picked up Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden. This is the book that caused me to fall in love with the contemporary lesbian romance genre and Melissa’s writing. I listened to every audiobook Melissa had. I couldn’t get enough. It was because of her writing that I wanted to try my own hand Lesfic. Buying her audiobooks also introduced me to many other great authors such as Georgia Beers, Jae, Gerri Hill, Heather Blackmore, and others.
In November of 2017, I sat down and began my first draft of Hearts of Emerald Bay. It was a wonderful, and at times, frustrating experience. I learned a lot about the craft over the year and was lucky enough to get a few pointers and words of encouragement from Melissa Brayden via Facebook. That was super awesome!
Hearts of Emerald Bay was self-published in October of 2018. I was nervous at first, not knowing how my story would be received by the Lesfic community. Other than Erik Schubach, I don’t know of any male authors in this genre. Happily, I have received several positive reviews and comments about my story, and no one seems to care about my gender.
My current WIP is Jenny’s story, a secondary character from Hearts of Emerald Bay. If all goes well, it should be available by the end of 2019.
When love comes knocking, a door gets slammed in its face.
Romance author Dana Lawson writes happy-ever-after endings for her characters, but when it comes to her own love story, she has writer’s block. Determined to get a break from life and heal her broken heart, she escapes to Emerald Bay. Her evening out at the local bar where she meets a gorgeous redhead ignites a fire she’s afraid to feed and desperate to fuel. Will she write her love story or tear up the chapters and throw them in the fire?
Set along the beautiful South Shore of Nova Scotia, the story uses local flavors and rural settings to rev up the love scenes. The novel weaves together the lives of Dana Lawson, Mac Mackenzie, and Ellie, Mac’s niece.
Hearts of Emerald Bay is a fast-paced love story that will keep you reading late into the night. It will appeal to adult readers who love reading romance novels with juicy scenes not suitable for younger audiences.
MEET THE AUTHOR
D.G. Barnes discovered the joy of story telling during his creative writing classes in high school. Now that the 32-year veteran of the RCAF has retired, he has set his focus to putting his stories on paper.
D.G. Barnes calls Nova Scotia’s beautiful Annapolis Valley home, where he lives with his dog, Lucy. When not writing he loves to binge watch Netflix and play video games. He enjoys a cold beer on a hot day and hates Brussels sprouts.
CONNECT WITH D. G. BARNES
Thanks so much for stopping by today.