A New Life release happening right now!

I’ve been sorely neglecting the blog, but I wanted to mark the occasion and let you know about the release of Book 2 in the Loving Again series. In Book 1, we meet Ben and Donnie as they find love under difficult circumstance. Book 2 follows them as they start building their new life.

I wrote an additional chapter in-between the first two books as a treat for my readers.

Here are the blog tour dates:



Release tour for He is Mine

It’s happening right now – my release tour for my new book! We still have more than a week to go. Here are the dates:


There are interviews, blog posts, and giveaways. You can also read the fist chapter now.

People are probably most interested in the giveaways, so here are the links to those directly:

Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win:

1x He is Mine ebook

1x signed paperback copy of A World Apart

Enter here!

And for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of He is Mine, enter my website giveaway!

Musings on the release of A World Apart

Now that my debut novel has been out a couple of weeks and the reviews are coming in, I had the urge to write a little bit about how the book’s reception has affected my thinking of the story.

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who has written an honest review! I can’t stress this enough, I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has taken time out of their busy lives to share their thoughts.

Secondly, I’m not trying to justify or even clarify anything with this blog post. I don’t think any writer has to justify why they wrote the story they wrote. But of course, I have thoughts on my first release, and I want to address one of the aspects that has come up a lot in the reviews so far: The quick progression of the love story between Ben and Donnie.

I’ve said this before in other places, so forgive me for repeating myself: I write relationship stories because I find relationships, of any kind, quite hard. I’m an introvert and like to be by myself. But I like people, too. I like my friends, and I even like meeting new people, in small doses, with lots of time in between to decompress. What fascinates me is how people relate to one another, as acquaintances, friends, family, lovers… I like thinking about that, and I like writing about it, especially about people being kind to each other.

When I started writing, I did so in the world of fanfiction. I’m proud of that, and I carry the flag and talk about it openly. There are a lot of great writers in that world who deserve to have their talent recognized as widely as possible. I’ll always feel connected with the fic fandom. (You can find a lot of us over on AO3.)

Fanfic is different from published writing in many ways, and I want to talk about one of the main differences. When you write romantic* stories in a fandom, the fact that your two characters (or sometimes three, or four, or more) will end up together is a given.

There are heaps and heaps of slow burn fics in fandom. I think, generally, the structure of the romance genre is a lot like those fics: Two people fall in love against all odds, must go through trials and tribulations but, in the end, are HEA (or at least HFN). And that’s lovely, there’s a lot to be said for that and it’s wildly successful both in fic and in romance as a commercial genre.

But I haven’t ever really written those fanfic stories. My stories are about the romance, yes, but they’re also about other things – oftentimes quite serious things like illness, and violence, and dealing with a hostile world (I write The Walking Dead fic, after all).

I think it’s entirely my fault, that I don’t fit all too comfortably into the romance genre. I didn’t do my homework. I didn’t come to romance writing after a life spent devouring books about people falling in love. I read Sci-Fi and fantasy and horror and crime growing up, and I still do. I’ve asked myself why then am I not writing in those genres, and I honestly don’t know the answer.

My next book is a romantic suspense novel, and that’s probably more along the lines of the stories that I’m used to writing.

When you write fic, you can experiment with everything. You make it available to a small audience for free, and while some readers will tell you if they don’t like your story you’re usually not judged on whether or not it fits into a specific genre. Fanfics are sometimes called transformative works, which means that a mainstream text is taken and changed in some way. But I believe that transformative also refers to the experimental nature of fanfic writing. You can write odd POVs (2nd person is something no publisher will even touch, except maybe for RPG which are also transformative literature, in a way), play around with style, with tense, with mixing genres etc.

A World Apart, just like my fic, is a story about a relationship, but it’s also a story about what happens to the characters beyond that relationship. My favourite romance stories have always been the ones where a couple gets together quickly, even if they then have to fight to make the relationship sustainable. I’m no fan of the slow burn, or the “will they, won’t they” trope. (I just want to make it clear that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with those stories at all, they’re just not my personal favourite.)

If I were to write A World Apart now I would write it differently, I’m sure. I might stretch the first story over two books (to conform more with the customary relationship arc), and I definitely would refrain from making the characters use the L word so soon. But I’m not writing it now. I wrote a story to the best of my abilities at the time, and I’m pleased with how it turned out.

I’m not sorry that Ben and Donnie’s story is what it is. Writing about them still makes me very happy, and I’m working a little on the second book in the series now, alongside writing the standalone romantic suspense novel. Another thing I learned from writing fic is that it’s nice to have several projects at the same time, even if they take longer to complete that way.

On a final note: Something from fanfic that I wish was adopted more widely by the publishing industry is tagging. If we knew, when we buy a book, that the story is “slow burn” or “insta love” or “relationship amongst other stuff” or “enemies to lovers” or “angst” or “hurt/comfort” I think it’d be much easier to pick books we’ll enjoy.

*By far not all fanfiction is romantic in nature.

Want to have your work published? I wrote a thing that might help

This weekend I attended the Nine Worlds Convention in London and got to chair a panel, From Fanfic to Book Contract and Beyond. While this is a terrifying prospect for an introvert, I think it went rather well. Many thanks to all attendees, and to the organisers to make this happen!

During the panel, I mentioned a document I pulled together. In it, I list (and ramble about) all the resources I’ve been using in the last few years to help launch my writing career. If you’re looking to do the same, you can find the document here: Mel’s Resources for Writers Who Want to Go Pro.

I hope it’s of use to some of you. And because the WWW is truly bottomless I’m already working on the next list of resources. Stay tuned!

The greatest honour

Back in May 2015 I wrote a Walking Dead rickyl fanfiction called Contact. (If you want to ready it do feel free, but be aware, this is slash fiction. This is how I started on my writing, I’m not ashamed of it!) It was sweet and fluffy, and there was sex. I had nice feedback and a fair number of likes on it, for a one off.

A very lovely reader called saffron_chen over on AO3 said that she would translate it to Chinese. I felt honoured and a little nervous, but mostly just amazed that someone actually liked the story enough to do this.

And today saffron_chen sent me a link to part of the translation! You have to log in, and it’s all in Chinese, of course, so I’m copying the text here. It looks so pretty!

I am still flabbergasted that she actually did this. Thank you so much, this is the most wonderful thing that’s happened to me in my writing adventure so far!

If anything looks wrong, my apologies, the Unicode browser probably makes a mess of it.

授翻 rickyl contact [复制链接]






Do I want my characters to be hated?

I’m reading a Candace Bushnell novel. I thought I should try reading some chick lit/women’s fiction/romance for research purposes. After all, that’s what I’m supposedly writing. The novel is One Fifth Avenue, and I hate it. I tried reading Trading Up first, and I hated that even more.

I have no experience reading chick lit. I’ve never had an interest before. My favourite authors are Stephen King, Maria Doria Russell, Cormac McCarthy, Ursula LeGuin and a hundred more I can’t list or I’d be here all night. Not one of them writes the kinds of stories I write.

The reason why I’m writing romance is pretty clear. That’s what you do when you start writing fanfiction. Stories in fandom are stories about relationships.

But maybe these stories we write in fandom aren’t romance at all, or chick lit. Or any of those genres that are so familiar in mainstream fiction. After all, fanfic is transformative. It changes the text it’s based on, it challenges perceptions about how relationships work, both romantic and platonic. Heteronormative, serial monogamy is the exception in most parts of fandom writing.

Why am I trying to fit my writing into a pre-existing category now? Simple answer: Because I want to publish. The problem is, right now, while finishing off my manuscript edit, I’m starting to hate my characters, just like I’m hating the characters in One Fifth Avenue.

I don’t want to hate my characters. I want them to be as they were when I created them. They were different, the story was different from what one sees published. But what if I can’t sell that story? I’d love to have the recognition one gets from publishing through the established channels, I won’t lie. But can that happen, really, with my kind of story?

There’s no answer here, just lots of questions. This post wasn’t planned, it just happened. Stay tuned, maybe I’ll have an epiphany one day. Otherwise, come looking for me on AO3. At least I understand the rules over there, and I don’t hate my characters there, either.

A week of concrit

I had a few reviews on youwriteon.com, and that’s useful. But the big thing this week was the feedback I got from a fellow fanfic writer who is a professional editor and who has just found an agent for her own book. In short, I got professional constructive criticism on my first two chapters. Absolutely priceless, I’m so grateful! 🙂

This weekend is all about editing. I’m going to use the concrit I got to get the first three chapters up to scratch. By the end of Monday I want to send them out to some American friends for them to read the dialogue. Yes, I know, don’t let your friends edit your work. But that’s who I got right now. All I need from them is to help me make my famous American actor character sound less like a posh English schoolgirl. I guess we can manage that much.

And on to the edit

At this point I’m still enjoying my story. I’ve been told that’ll quickly change.

Today I sent the first two chapters to a professional editor who is looking them over for free. I also submitted the first three chapters to http://www.youwriteon.com/. Very curious to see what comes of these two things.

Now my brain is toast and I need to sleep for a week.