Good afternoon Everyone and welcome. Thank you for visiting last week to meet author CL Cattano. This week I have turned the reins over to author Addison M. Conley, author of ‘Falling for Love.’ If you haven’t read this book yet, you’re in for a real treat. Let’s go meet the author.
Thank you, Lynn, for having me write a guest blog.
In this 2019 picture, I’m at the Housesteads Roman Fort along Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, England. My tousled hair is like my life sometimes. LOL. I do love to travel. Love seeing the countryside, the mountains, and nature, and meeting people.
On Facebook, Author Suzie Carr posted the question, “What’s your favorite analogy from a WIP or published book?” I answered, “Weathered like the mountain. Strong like the trees. A storm comes through, limbs twist and bend, some break, but overall most survive. Persevere no matter what life throws at you. It’s harder to live than say the words, but the rewards at achievement are sweet.”
What do I write? Who am I, and why do I write? Do I have any advice for new writers?
I write lesbian romance, and my current work is a blend of romance with military action. I like to tell a story to touch people’s mind, their heart, and to say that no matter how bad it gets, we can find support and love.
My first novel, Falling for Love: A West Virginia Romance is a second edition of Falling for Love: A Winter Romance – same book but different subtitles. Falling for Love is the story of Jordan and Emmy who meet and fall in love during the time of the fight for same-sex marriage. It’s about friends and family as much as romance during a tumultuous time. And of course, Jordan has a secret.
My second book, Beyond the Checkpoint, is a romance with military action featuring the characters Lynn and Ali. Their story unfolds over ten years. While fiction, some sections are based on my three deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq as a government civilian in the Intelligence Community. For this book, you can imagine a romance between an officer and a civilian creates a big challenge. My apologies, the book hasn’t been published yet, but I promise this year.
I also write intimate scenes. No fade to black for me. Emotion must be shown, but sex is an essential component of a relationship. And honestly, I like to read romances with a few sex scenes. There is also cursing in my novels. It changes with the personality of the character and the situation. My third novel, which I’m rewriting and rewriting, has almost no curse words. Yeah, I’m in one of those slumps. Set in Rehoboth Beach, Madison (Maddy) meets motorcycle riding Jessie.
I don’t write overly sunshine novels. Why? Some women still hide their sexuality because of the fear of losing family and friends or a job. Even if a woman is out and proud, it’s not always roses. Life has ups and downs, and therefore, my characters do as well.
But with the drama, I do inject sunshine into my novels. I have supportive secondary characters and others which appear rough around the edges but turn out to be marshmallows and loving. Let’s not forget the ending. I do believe in a happy ending because I want the reader to walk away with a feeling that they too have the chance to overcome their personal obstacles.
So, who am I? I grew up in a small central Illinois town surrounded by farm fields. I was adopted into a family where the father was alcoholic and abusive. Coming out was the last thing on my mind. It wasn’t safe until much later in my life. So, count your blessings if you grew up with a loving family.
While there have been several obstacles in my life, I’ve survived like the trees in a storm. I’ve experienced joy. I met three bio siblings in college and recently met tons of cousins. Having their love and support is fantastic. Going to my niece’s wedding with my girlfriend and having everyone welcome us was a high.
On a literary note, one of the coolest times was two years ago when my sister gave me a book (typed and bound) that my bio mother had written but never published. Wow, I didn’t get her drawing and painting talent, but I guess that writing bug bit us both.
Another time which sticks out in my mind was coming out to my supervisor in 2008, before my first deployment and before the fall of DADT. While I was unsure how he’d react, we had previously worked together and got along great. To my relief, he was marvelous, and his support meant the world to me.
Later around 2014, I was able to pay him back. He emailed me, wanting to meet for coffee. We hadn’t seen one another since moving to different parts of the agency, and he had been promoted. Instead of happy, he seemed a little down. Then he told me his daughter had come out, but his wife was having a hard time dealing with the news. I listened and gave him words of encouragement. It wasn’t much, but I was there for him. Every now and then, I’d see him and hear that things improved. Most importantly, his smile grew.
I currently live in West Virginia. Much like the fictional town in Falling for Love, some people fly the Confederate flag, believe in conspiracy theories, and follow the extreme far-right. They are in the minority. Most people are kind and loving.
So, I draw on my background and the people I’ve met in life. I take bits and pieces to create my characters and the conflict that drives the story and combine with a healthy dose of imagination. In the end, I believe good eventually wins. It may not happen without a struggle, but that’s life. And I do think readers want a happy ending. They want to turn the last page feeling satisfied, inspired, and cheerful.
As for advice to those that have a passion for writing, I say write as often as you can and don’t give up on yourself. All writers second guess themselves. I’ve reread parts of my work, attempting to self-edit and polish before sending it to an editor. I’ve thought, “Wow. This is good.” Then the next day, I reread and think, “This is crap. What the hell was I thinking?” Having moments like that are natural, just don’t toss your manuscript in the trash can and give up. Persevere. Even if you have bits and pieces – save them. You never know when you’ll feel like finishing them.
Writing is hard work. Falling for Love took three years from concept until publication. During that time, I attended the GCLS Writing Academy. I highly recommend this online course. If you can’t afford the tuition, there are scholarships. Check it out. I also recommend the free short eBook Show, Don’t Tell by Sandra Gerth, who is an editor at Ylva Publishing and the amazing author known as Jae. I confess showing is the hardest skill for me to master.
For this guest blog, I’ve reduced the price of Falling for Love: A West Virginia Romance (310 pages) on Amazon to $2.99. I hope you’re intrigued to read it, and that you enjoy my first novel. If you can, please leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. Of note, all of the reviews can be found on Goodreads. Unfortunately, Amazon did not transfer older reviews for the second edition.
And please join me when Bonnie James grills me on the Lesbian Book Nook Facebook site on Saturday, 31 August from 12-2 pm CST, 1-3 pm EST, 6-8 pm London, 9-11 pm Reunion Island. Ah, wishful thinking on my part with putting in London and French islands. LOL. If you can’t join, then feel free to send me a question anytime on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll do my best to get back to you.
I want to thank Addison for joining us today. Her book is available and is one you will want to read. You can check out my review for ‘Falling for Love‘, by clicking the link below:
Until, next time,
Photos subject to copyright.