Rattling the (Emotive) Cages…

Rattling the (Emotive) Cages


So this one’s a short rant – comparatively speaking.

I’ve become frustrated over whether or not the work is ready. On one hand I feel really good about it all. Now that the cover is sort of put to bed (I’m happy with it), I think I just want to toss it to the wind.

The final cover artwork. Blood included.

The final cover artwork. Blood included.

But here’s the fly in that ointment – I reached out to a very good editor and had a very nice conversation about what I was doing and where Angels of Mercy was. She read through it (she has some fairly amazing writing and editing cred so, yeah, ears were definitely perked and listening) – well what I had posted to my site anyhow.

Her response sort of shocked me. I mean, I’ve been getting fairly great responses from my betas out there and they’re very much hooked in and invested in my characters. But here was someone from the ‘biz’ who could give me a little 411 on where I really was in the process.

Grammatically, it seemed (unlike the stream of consciousness I babble here about), I was very clean and spot on with what I’d put down. That seemed to impress her that I had that much polish to what I had already. Not that it couldn’t be tweaked and tightened. But she was really liking my boys in Mercy and what they were up to. She got, without my prodding too much, that you were firmly entrenched in Elliot’s head and letting his gayboy self slather all over your eyeballs because he’s just that kind of gayboy. Elliot is all over the place. But he’s cuter than fuck, so yeah, he gets a pass.


A potential Elliot Donahey from my book Angels of Mercy - Volume One: Elliot

A potential Elliot Donahey from my book Angels of Mercy – Volume One: Elliot

She thought she could help me out with the real meat of the story because my prose was so clean. We could actually hone in on the whole arc and look at the bigger picture as well as laser like gaze over the finer details that would just put AoM – Vol 1 on it’s best possible feet – literary speaking.

I know it sort of needs that. Not that I am not happy with all that I’ve done so far.

Then came the price tag (and let me be clear right here, I fully think she’s worth the dough – no gripes there) but it still was a fair chunk of change. So I have to weigh it.

Then I had a thought: (uh-oh, as my family would say) – What if I crowd-funded the editorial costs? Could I get that much traction and attention? It certainly seemed plausible. The work definitely warrants a try. What could it hurt? There are books out there that are giving far less for the money asked for than what I’ve been mulling around in the back of my mind.

Now, I know that my work is NOT standard M/M Romance/Erotica fair. It’s just not that – not really. For one thing, it goes dark. VERY DARK by the end of book 2 and 3. At the end of this book we are only touching upon that darkness that will turn my loving and committed boys lives upside-down. And it couldn’t hurt to put that out there, right? I mean – worst that could happen? No one would spring for it. No worse than where I am now.

And here’s the other rub: while it is about two 18 year old boys who are madly in love with each other, it also pulls absolutely NO punches about their sex lives or their sex drives. My boys love sex. My boys have quite a bit of it in book 1. But the series isn’t just about that. It’s honest about it (after all they are hormonally charged teenaged young men). But the sex is not all it’s about.

The work is meant to be a character study. I rattle Elliot’s internal cage so much that the reader can’t help but walk way from it that they really know this boy and the man he loves.

So now, I am working on what sort of package I’ll be putting together for anyone’s investment in getting it on its feet. I’ve got some pretty amazing things planned up in my noggin’ already. I think it just might work.

And if it doesn’t, I’ll find another way to press on. Marco and Elliot’s story WILL be told. It will be published (even if I have to do it myself – though the editor I spoke to thought it was good enough to not give up on the traditional publishing route). That’s saying something I guess.

The hubby thinks I should work with PFLAG to get the word out about it. After all, my cousin (who has a gay son and struggled with understanding him as he grew up) read the work and found a way to connect with the work that really gave her some insight into her own world. So yeah, the potential is there that I might have a market for the work through people like PFLAG who are both proponents of acceptance for LGBTQI individuals but also wanting to educate themselves a bit about our lives. The adversity we struggle against on a daily basis. While my book is certainly NOT academic, it is deeply rooted in real life experiences. GAY MEN’S experiences. Our voices, our way.

That’s what I am trying to create here. No punches pulled, no apologies, one big hot mess of a life (or lives) that have a story to tell. A way to connect, a way to enlighten, a way to experience something that they might not have picked up any other way.

It’s like Rechy’s work for me as a teen. He breathed life into my burgeoning gayboy existence that was quite literally withering on the vine before it could take hold. Wondering if there was something wrong with me. When his big, gay, gritty as all fuck world, came in like a breath of sex laden air that completely enveloped my 16 year old self and said – “It’s cool, you’re gonna be okay kid. It’s all gonna be okay. It’s a big gay world out there, you just gotta claim your stake in it.”

And claim it, I did.


Comments (3) | Trackback

3 Comments to Rattling the (Emotive) Cages…

  1. Hi there,

    Me again. I read this a couple of times before I decided to respond. For what it’s worth, I think you might be over-thinking it. You have a book you’re proud of, that has something important to say even though it is wrapped up in a sexy package (they are the best ones, right?) An editor you respect has given you her opinion and technically, your book is sound.

    What are you waiting for? There’s nothing to stop you self-pubbing AND going down the trad route. The chances are you’ll need to seek an agent, wait for them to get back to you, wait for the right publisher to snap you up (which they should, if they have any sense.) In the meantime you can tweak away at it but only for so long before having faith in yourself and walking away from it.


    and this works for me, put the whole thing to bed for a month and go back to it with fresh eyes. Sometimes that works if you think the work has been kicking around in your head too long. (My Closer Than Blood novel has been kicking around since 1996 – which is why is is DAMN good right now!)

    Good luck with Angels of Mercy. I’m now reading your sample chapters 🙂

    Savi x

    • S A Collins says:

      Thanks for that. Yeah, I am definitely waffling a bit. I know it’s ready for primetime in that what is there is gonna stay there. Even elements that might not seem apparent why they’re there will come back to play out in the future two books. So, yeah just wondering if I should wait it out and try to crowd source the editing and promotional costs. Getting a literary agent might be great but I don’t know the first thing about how to find someone who would believe in my work to start championing the cause. More than likely any submission of my work would sit in a slush pile and completely ignored. That’s why I am thinking self-pubbing is the way to go.

      After all I am thinking that if it finds any sizable audience then it will be happenstance and word of mouth. But maybe I’ll get some traction. You never know until you put it out there… my greatest fear? That I’ll piss off too many readers with the uber cliff hanger at the end of book one that they’ll never want to read book 2 (which is 1/3 to 1/2 way penned). So yeah, the pay off may be a bit too long for a repeat customer for the next two volumes to be released.

      Let me know what you think on the sample work for Angels. The Fear the Feigr chapters are really rough but I’m starting to eye them – they’re sort of my Lord of the Rings epic that has been brewing in my head for sometime now. I need to get that on out there. Oddly enough I set it aside for Angels because I was being strangled with backstory on that epic adventure I had going. Two days ago I had lunch with one of my beta readers and he suggested that instead of being strangled with backstory on the Fae series, why not just write the backstory as the first novel and then follow it up with the trilogy? Sorta the whole Hobbit before LOTR…? Definite idea there… May even end up going that route with it.

      Thanks for the drop by – I know you’re a busy writer as well!


      • Cliff-hangers. Here is something I’ve learned, and that is, you better be damned sure you have the second book ready to roll before you release the first one, because people don’t like waiting, just as you suspected. The only people who can get away with it are established authors (JKR an example) For the rest of us, we have to toe the line.

        And one last thing. This maybe a bloody obvious question, but do you have the Writers & Artists Handbook (or US equivalent.) When I’m looking for publishers (like I should be right now) I go through it with a fine tooth comb, target the ones that accept my genre, and don’t bother with the rest. I’m sure you do that already, but just in case …

        All the best!

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