This past year, Dreamspinner Press started releasing stories in the Dreamspun Desire line. Category romances ala Harlequin but for M/M. I thought it was a nifty idea, simply because that was the romance I grew up on. I’m sure I’ve shared this story before, but I’ll do so again.
My Oma subscribed to Harlequin, several different lines, and every month, she got several boxes filled with four paperback Harlequins. For a long time, I thought this was how romance was written. And I coveted those books. When I was far too young, I started stealing them. Yeah, that sounds awful. But Oma couldn’t share them with me because, as I said, I was really too young to be reading them. As was Sis, who is three years younger than I am. But we wanted them and so we devised a very sneaky plan to get them. We’d head over to Oma’s house with an empty backpack and we would hang out with her. But she took naps, of course she did. So I would hide around the corner, and Sis would “play” in the front room with an oversized truck. She’d drive it over to the box by Oma’s chair, where she was snoring away, slip a few books into the truck, and then drive it over to me. We never took too many, maybe 12 or 15, and then we’d play some more, hang out, before we eventually couldn’t stand it anymore and walked back home.
To this day, I still don’t know if Oma knew we took them or not. But probably she did.
Once we got home, we’d race up to my room and read all the blurbs, deciding which ones we wanted. We had a system of who got to pick first, and then we’d go back and forth until they were all gone. And then we’d devour our selections before switching. And then, when we were out of books, we’d go back and do it all again.
This was how I learned about romance, about tropes, about over the top feel good feels and finding your true love. Of course, they were all het, and mostly white, and lots of ridiculous, awesome tropes. But we loved it. And there are certain things we remember to this day, still quote at each other as our own private jokes.
But as I said, this is what I thought romance was, and it was my goal to write one.
As I grew up and saw the whole world of romance before me, saw so many other stories out there that weren’t category romances, I expanded my horizons. I bought romance in droves, though I also learned of paranormal with a romance plot. So many books, so little time.
And I still wanted to write one. Did, in fact, write several. On paper with pens, just to get the stories out of my head.
Six or seven years ago, I finally stumbled on M/M romance, and I began to devour that. This is where I finally found my fit, my niche, where the stories really came alive. This was where I finally wrote a story I felt was worth publishing, or at least trying, and I’ve been doing it for more than three years now.
But I never lost the soft spot in my heart for category romances.
When Dreamspinner first announced the Dreamspun Desire line, I had a thought that perhaps, I’d write one. But I couldn’t quite get the tropey goodness that was a category romance to coalesce in my head. Which was fine. Because I was still writing my stories, and I could include some tropes.
But then, DsP expanded the Dreamspun line to include Beyond and Undercover. Undercover is mysteries and crimes, and sounds delicious. But Beyond? Contemporary paranormal? That right there is my true crack.
I’d long had the idea for Ghostwalker, and even began writing it at one point, though it didn’t solidify properly and went by the wayside. When I saw the call for this new line, my brain went into overdrive, bringing up this idea. Reminding me of all it could be. And changing it to what it should be. I put together a mini proposal and sent it in to see if DsP would be interested in the story. I started writing it, sent in my beginning, and waited to hear if it was right for the line or not.
Yesterday, I got the go ahead.
So it’s full steam ahead, all focus on, ready to go.
It’s both thrilling and scary to have a story requested by the publisher. Thrilling because they think that my boys and their story is right for the line, and that’s exhilarating. (Though by no means does it mean that they will contract the book.) Scary because there’s an expectation to meet, and I only have 20% of the story written at this point. But I get to include some of my very favorite tropes–like bonds and forced proximity and lust at first sight–with a different twist on ghosts and the spirit realm.
I’m excited about writing this one, even as I psych myself out, and I know I’ll have a blast writing it. I have a deadline and a word count to meet, and I’ll need to put on my very best author hat to get it accomplished. But I’m so looking forward to it.
And I hope you will too.