Escape Trilogy

The Secret Life of a Publishing House Editor

For Escaping Exile, book one in The Escape Trilogy from NineStar Press, I had the pleasure of working with editor Jason Bradley. Working with a new editor is sorta like trying on a new pair of jeans because you’re pretty sure everything looks right but you won’t know until you’ve worn them around a couple times.

Not that Jason is a pair of jeans BUT there are always questions with a new editor: Will we work well together? Will we argue? Will there be banter? I got lucky. While working on Escaping Exile, the banter was brilliant, and Jason helped make my sexy novella better than ever.

As someone who usually works behind the scenes, Jason was a little nervous about a blog interview … but I made him do it anyway. Meet editor Jason Bradley.

What’s your background? In other words, how did you become an editor?

Oh boy, um… when I was laid off from my job in an attorney’s office, I enrolled online to finish my psych degree. While doing that, I took on some side jobs proofing and editing. I liked it so much, I signed contracts with several publishers and ended up as an editor-in-chief for one of them. That publisher is no longer in existence, but I have continued to edit with multiple publishers as my career.

As an editor, are you a writer, too? If so, what do you write? (And can we buy your work anywhere?)

I am a writer. My author name is Jason Huffman-Black, and I have a few free shorts, a short in the anthology Crack the Darkest Sky Wide Open, and one novel entitled Snakes Among Sweet Flowers. I also have a bunch of half-finished manuscripts because I really don’t have time to write.

(Sara side note: Snakes Among Sweet Flowers is FANTASTIC, and I want to make out with Cam. Just saying. Buy your copy HERE.)

What made you want to work on The Escape Trilogy?

Well, I’m a sucker for vampire historicals, so there’s that. I’m also a sucker for a good story and smooth writing style. Between those three points, you won me over.

What’s your favorite thing about The Escape Trilogy?

That’s a hard one. I think I like how deep and three-dimensional your characters are. There are layers and faults that make them compelling and keep the reader engaged.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I hate these kinds of questions! Mostly because my life revolves around reading amazing stories and I couldn’t possibly name all the authors I want to mention. I will admit that one of my guilty pleasures is a not-top-tier author who I still cannot stop reading: JR Ward. But yeah, big hunky vampires…

Mary Renault is a personal favorite. Her Alexander the Great series made me feel all the emotions. Another is Storm Constantine. Her Wraeththu series is amazing.

I based my characters on Alexander Skarsgard and Timothee Chalamet. Who are your Hollywood crushes?

I’m not a big fanboy, although I have to say Alexander is very nice. Jason Momoa is another I really find sexy. I stopped watching Game of Thrones when his character died and have never gone back to it. But I must add that I’m not much of a TV watcher so that’s not a big shocker for those that know me. One of my unfinished manuscripts has a character that is partially based on Jason.

Most of my “crushes” are more eclectic and a little weird. Wolverine and Cable (before they were movie characters, back when they were just comic characters), the Predator in the last movie, the Wookie with dreds, umm…Garnet from Steven Universe… I’m sure there are more. ~shrugs~

What’s the best part about being an editor? The worst part?

The best part is getting paid to do my favorite thing… read! The worst part? Hmmm… not getting paid insane amounts of money?

Any advice for newbie authors?

Sure! Lots! Write! Don’t stop. Get beta readers you trust to give feedback and don’t be afraid to change your story if need be.  Don’t be afraid to submit, even if you are rejected at first.

Your editor should be your friend, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to say things you don’t want to hear about your baby (your story). Ask questions, debate a change, but don’t get all bent over it. If you can’t handle what the editor is saying, how are you ever going to handle reviews?

Learn from your edits. If your editor goes to the trouble to explain why something should be a certain way, try to incorporate that into your writing. But don’t worry if it’s a rule you can’t grasp. Job security for me.


I really want to thank Jason for not only accepting my interview invite (which, trust me, scared the crap out of him) but also for being so kind to my lover boys, Andrew and Edmund, in Escaping Exile. This book (most books) would not be the same without editors. WE WRITERS NEED YOU! Have you hugged an editor today?

In other news, have you bought your copy of Escaping Exile yet? Book two, Escaping Solitude, comes out October 8, so get reading, my lovelies!

Buy Escaping Exile right now >>

Escape Trilogy

Happy Book Birthday to Escaping Exile!

It’s been a long time coming … but my sexy new novella is finally here. Thanks to publisher Raevyn McCann, editor Jason Bradley, and the team at NineStar Press, my bit of angsty, dark LGBTQ romance has now been set free upon the world, biting people far and wide. Here’s all you need to know, including “about the book,” theme song, and fantasy movie cast.

ABOUT ESCAPING EXILE

Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream—but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?

ADVANCE PRAISE

“This book harkens back to Anne Rice in her prime, where Andrew and Edmund are just as memorable as Lestat and Louis.” – Quin Perin, author of Obsessed

“This is not a love story I ever expected to read, and even though ‘ancient vampire + madcap human’ feels like it should be quite a trope, Andrew and Edmund are a whirlwind pair who challenge and delight each other.” – JL Gribble, author of the Steel Empires Series

“If you like a little twist to your vampires, a jagged edge to your British aristocracy, and want a master class in developing complex characters over a minimal number of pages, you’ll really dig this story.” – J. Leigh Bailey, author of Guyliner

THEME SONG (Go ahead; stare at Hozier and Alexander Skarsgard.)

FANTASY MOVIE CAST

Alexander Skarsgard as “Andrew,” my bad boy vampire.

Timothee Chalamet as “Edmund,” the sexy shipwrecked sailor.

Tilda Swinton as “Michelle,” cruel coven leader.

Stuart Townsend as “Felipe,” that murdering son of a …


I’ve been shocked and honored by all the amazing advance praise and support Escaping Exile has already received … and it was only born this morning! Pick up your copy today, and start reading part one of The Escape Trilogy.

You better get reading because part two of the trilogy, Escaping Solitude, will be here in October. Until then, enjoy the blossoming love story of Andrew and Edmund, but watch out for those cannibals.

 

Escape Trilogy

Escaping Exile fan art by the brilliant Nikita Ryan

Twitter isn’t all bad. Sometimes, Twitter introduces me to amazing new artists I never would have found anywhere else … which is how I stumbled upon the work of Nikita Ryan. She is a master of gay erotic art, and since Escaping Exile is pretty dang erotic, I really, really wanted her take on my characters.

Her art focuses on the male form, and according to her website:

“I believe that love is love and that the attraction between two men (and two women for that matter) is beautiful, valid, and perfectly acceptable. People should be able to be with who they want to be with, without judgement. I just want to celebrate that fact.”

(It’s a shame she lives across an ocean, because I would really love to buy this lady a drink.)

Nikita got the chance to read the Escaping Exile manuscript way before it saw an editor or proofreader, and she delivered this outstanding vision of dark-haired Edmund and his blond vampire Andrew:

(Doesn’t it just make your eyes happy?!?)

Honored that she spent time drawing my lovely boys, I wanted to pick her brain a bit about her work, her influences, and (of course) what she thought of Escaping Exile.

What’s your artistic background?

I’ve always drawn and painted for as long as I can remember. My mum is also an artist so I guess it is in my genes! I went to art college and eventually got a degree in Web and Graphic Design. More recently I also completed another degree in Interior Design, but have ended up not working in either field!

What inspired you to draw M/M subjects?

I also write my own M/M romance/fantasy stories and have several projects on the go (as per normal!) and it was a way of bringing my own characters to life. And what’s not to like about the male body? I have always loved life drawing, but now I am more interested in trying to capture emotions, and two men together does it for me.

I am also hoping to “normalise” the love between two guys through my art and to help that be accepted in society, as I am a firm believer that Love is Love.

You perfectly captured Andrew and Edmund in this drawing. What was the most challenging part about bringing these boys to life? Most satisfying part?

The most challenging part was having to bring someone else’s vision to life. When you write, you have an idea in your head of what your characters look like, and I was worried that my interpretation wouldn’t be what was in Sara’s head.

The most satisfying part was hearing that I had got it right! And that my drawing was well received.

Can you tell me a bit about your process when drawing something like this?

The process involves research, and lots of it! Luckily I had been given an idea of what Sara could see her characters looking like, so this was a helpful starting point. Although this can sometimes add to the pressure! I wanted a pose to capture their emotions and something that would show both of their faces. Other than that it was just a case of drawing them and seeing how it turned out.

Who are your main artistic influences?

I love abstract art and the cubism style, and have always loved the art of Wassily Kandinsky, Georges Braques, and the abstracts of Picasso. One of my artistic influences is Tamara de Lempicka. l love her angular style of painting, and more recently I have discovered the art of Steve Walker, Oliver Frey, Huang Tao, and Steven Clayton Corry, to name but a few. These are artists that paint and draw with a gay theme, and I especially love the way that Steve Walker’s paintings capture emotion and make you think about what is going on in them.

What did you enjoy best about Escaping Exile?

I loved the characters in Escaping Exile and can’t wait to see what happens next. I don’t suppose I can say too much because I don’t want to give away the story! But I loved it.


To learn more about Nikita Ryan (or to buy some of her amazing work), follow her online!

Website

Twitter

Instagram

Did you pre-order your copy of Escaping Exile yet? Have it delivered to your Kindle immediately Monday, August 13, by buying it today. CLICK HERE.

Escape Trilogy · Modeling

Fun at the Beach: The ESCAPING EXILE Photo Shoot

I don’t get to do “pretty shoots” very often. Or beach shoots, for that matter. To celebrate the upcoming release of my sexy novella, Escaping Exile, I did both. My usual crew (Bill, Steph, and Megan) went to Headlands Beach on Lake Erie and had fun in the sun … and the wind … and the wild, wild waves.

Escaping Exile is the story of bad boy vampire Andrew, exiled to a tropical island, and his shipwrecked sailor Edmund. Together, they find love, lust, and danger, so for this photo shoot, we brought a bit of drama to the water and enjoyed a fantastic sunset.

Scroll down for all the pretties and pre-order Escaping Exile today!

All hair and styling by Megan Lacy Does Hair.

Photos by Steph Gentry:

Photos by Bill Thornhill:

Escape Trilogy

TODAY: Escaping Exile Cover Reveal

I always joked that I would never have a half-naked hot guy on the cover of one of my books, and now, I don’t remember why. I mean, I love hot guys, especially when they’re half-naked.

While writing Escaping Exile for NineStar Press, I got to create some super hot fictional dudes. When it came time for cover design, I said SCREW IT. Give me that hot guy! Designer Natasha Snow did not disappoint …


About Escaping Exile (available from NineStar Press August 13):

Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream—but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?


Add this beauty to your Goodreads shelf today and start reading August 13!

I’m so excited for you to meet Andrew and Edmund. You get three novellas with them (totaling almost 90K words!!!), but Escaping Exile is the first with Escaping Solitude and Escaping Mortality to follow in the coming months.

Which means, yes, I get two MORE covers from the amazing Natasha. Mind=blown.

Bite Somebody · Enchanted Series · Escape Trilogy · Sara Dobie Bauer · writers life · Writing

Am I on fire or just burning out?

Photo by Chris Loomis.

Best friend, writer, and editor Trysh Thompson has been warning me for months about “burnout.” When a creative person creates too much, we crash.

Over the past three months, I wrote the final 30K word segment of the Escape Trilogy. I wrote the Bite Somebody screenplay.  I wrote a 10K word Sherlock fan fiction. I have so far celebrated the release of parts one and two of the Enchanted Series in January and February (the third coming in April). And as of Friday, I rewrote an entire 55K novel called We Still Live over the span of 18 days … and then, had to attend a three-day geek convention to promote my work.

Monday night, after sending We Still Live to my famed first readers, I panicked. Dunno why really. Would you like a taste of my hysterical text messages?

“The more I think about it, the more I think my rewrite sucks and I’m kind of having a panic attack and should just be a stripper because I’m a horrible writer. Jesus, what’s wrong with me? Seriously, I feel sick.”

“I’m in crisis. Can’t even read right now without fixating on how every writer is apparently better than me. Feeling highly talentless and impostery right now.”

Photo by J. Dell.

Yeah, that is just a smidgen of what my closest friends have been dealing with. But is this burnout, or is this basically what happens in the mind of every writer, everywhere?

Do you know what I did yesterday? (I hope not, because if you do know, you’re a stalker.) I went to a fancy lunch place with my friend Ingrid, had a total vocal-vomit fest, and downed two, yes TWO, huge IPAs before dragging her to a dive bar for round three. I fell asleep last night listening to my favorite Debussy, Chopin, and Puccini tunes because the idea of picking up a book made me sick. Words have become the enemy.

So is this burnout? I have no idea. I just know it’s unlike me, especially as I prepare my line edits for the Escape Trilogy to be released by NineStar Press this July.

My brain is a fuzz ball of angst and confusion, maybe partially due to the beers of afternoons past. Or perhaps it’s time to step away and not write for a couple days? See what happens. Will the muse return, or will I spend eternity staring at walls?

When “career stuff” is going well, we assume we’ll feel a sense of peace, but let’s face it: the better the “career stuff,” the busier we are. I’m not complaining about the early success of 2018, but I will say I am overwhelmed and probably need to step away from creative writing for a little while.

Luckily, the famous (infamous) Bite Somebody Pilgrimage to Longboat Key, Florida, is in two weeks. There, I can unwind and think about nothing but cocktail hour. I think I’m ready. In the meantime, take a look at your own job and make sure you’re not burning the proverbial two-sided candle. It’s hell on the bar tab.

Book Review · Escape Trilogy

I’m thankful for gay romance novels

I’ve been reading a lot of gay romance lately, partially because of my three-novella contract with NineStar Press: an LGBTQ publisher who bought my Escape trilogy. As far as my trilogy goes, the words are flying, and I have to think all the smexy gay romance I’ve been reading has certainly aided in the process.

This isn’t a new thing, not really. It all started with BBC Sherlock and my sudden and surprising attraction to Johnlock fan fiction. (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman would just make a really cute couple, okay?)

Introducing John Not Even Subtle Watson.

Maybe I just got really tired of the same old tropes in girl-meets-boy romance and wanted something fresh and new. I’ve seen all the permutations of Princess and Prince Charming, but I’ve stumbled upon something wholly new (to me) in LGBTQ romance: Prince Charming and Prince Not-So-Sure-of-Things-At-All.

My list of favorite authors feels endless, but I’m gonna try to narrow it down …

Dessa Lux/Dira Lewis
Same person, different names, same kind of books. My obsession with Dessa/Dira began with Gun to my Head: a twisted vampire romance that is gritty as hell but hotter than a sun-scorched beach. Dessa further enamored me with the entirety of her Protection of the Pack Series (some pretty graphic sex but heartfelt, loving stuff) and the oddity of Surrendered to the Sea in which a sea god falls in love with a werewolf. Ah-hem, yeah, if you want weird pairings with amazing writing, Dessa/Dira is your girl.

Jordan L. Hawk
Jordan’s characters are more down to earth … sort of? Her Whyborne & Griffin Series features two human men, at least, although they fight otherworldly menaces all the time. There are nine of these books. NINE! Do I care? Nope, I’m in the process of reading them all. Whyborne is of the brilliant, closeted nerd variety while Griffin is the super sexy bad ass Pinkerton who seduces our adorable nerd. Together (and with the help of a snarky female friend), they solve crimes, battle their own demons, and hide their illicit love from society.

KJ Charles
Speaking of hiding things, magician Stephen Day has to fight his feelings for his family nemesis in book one of KJ’s brilliant Charm of Magpies trilogy. Stephen might hate Lucian or he might not. I mean, Lucian is super hot and wild and brave and … mmmm, I really like Lucian. Spoilers: so does Stephen. I adore the chemistry between these two tough-as-nails characters and how love can make them ever so sweet and soft together. With humor and heat, KJ weaves more magic even than Stephen himself, and, as you’ll read, that little guy is one powerful dude.

CS Pacat
A friend of mine suggested I buy CS’s first book, Captive Prince. Halfway through book one, I bought books two and three of the trilogy, and I devoured them all. There is nothing better than two princes dueling for power while trying desperately not to fall in love with each other. I rarely see character development quite this good … or slow-burn sexual tension this hot. Once you meet Damen and Laurent, you’ll love them as much as I do … and get comfortable, because there’s no turning your back on this insanely exciting game of royal intrigue and lust.

Eleanor Kos
Sort of like Dessa/Dira, Eleanor weaves stories that some might find a little extreme, but I fell hard for her Wine & Song Series. What might make this hard to swallow for some? Well, the lead character falls utterly in lust with the romantic interest while he’s being mugged by said romantic interest, and their BDSM relationship develops from there. For five novellas, we follow David and Jazz as they navigate each other as well as try to move beyond the past. They’re both super stubborn and adorable, and I wish there were more in this series. (Can I get more in this series, please?)

I can’t forget the honorable mentions. The only reason these authors are only “honorable” is because, whereas I’ve read a million books by the above authors, I’m fairly new to these gals, but they’re brilliant so far!

Lyssa Dering proves guys who eat brains can be sexy in How to Love a Monster. Rose Maefair’s debut, Desert Ice, forces a mage and his soldier slave into a romantic relationship neither are ready for.  Nicky James broke my freaking heart and put it back together in the highly emotional Until the End of Time. Brianna Kienitz weaves soccer, music, cultural conflict, and lesbian love in Off Pitch. Selina Kray creates one of my favorite male leads of all time (Hiero) in the sexy and, at times, hilarious suspense novel The Fangs of Scavo. Finally, Claire Cray takes me back to my vampire roots with her two-book series Merrick.

If you’re a romance reader looking for something new, I would seriously suggest trying one of these authors. They are each fantastic in their own way! And, hey, keep an eye out for my Escape trilogy, book one coming in June 2018 from NineStar Press.