Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday Thoughts with Grace R. Duncan

A little over two years ago, I went shopping for a publisher. I had my first book finished, beta-read, and (somewhat) edited. I’ve always been good at research and I put those same skills to use for this. I dug through lists, Google searches, and the Writer’s Market books. I made a spreadsheet, comparing publishers, listing requirements and timing.

And every single pass, despite other publishers having possibly better royalties listed (there were only a few), or less return time (I think two had this), or whatever, I kept coming back to Dreamspinner Press. Nothing concrete pulled me back, just a feeling in the back of my mind, that Dreamspinner was the place to submit. So, I wrote up the email, agonized over the blurb, spent way too much time working on my little about me and finally had it ready. I covered my eyes, hit submit, and promptly screamed. Literally.

I’ve never truly been able to quantify what it was about Dreamspinner that kept pulling me back. Except one thing. One probably ridiculous thing.

See, I often dream my stories. Not like daydreaming, like so many writers do. I don’t just close my eyes and possibly imagine what my guys look like.

No, literally, I dream them. I will wake up one morning with half a plot in my head from a dream. After a series of notes, some pacing, a bit of music, and perhaps a dozen cups of coffee, I’ll have a more rounded, fully-formed plot entered into my little leather idea book.

I dream scenes sometimes. When I am having trouble working through one or figuring out what to do next, I don’t do most of the suggestions—like take a walk or read a book or play a game—I prefer to take a nap. And nine times out of ten, not thirty seconds after I’ve closed my eyes, the scene starts playing out in my head. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I leap off the couch and start scribbling (or typing) furiously. But when I fall asleep, I almost always wake up with the scene worked out in my head. I’d dreamed it.

I think it was that—the idea that I dream my stories—that led me to Dreamspinner Press. The name just called to me. And I’ve never been disappointed.

I can’t help but wonder if it hasn’t encouraged me further. My latest book, Healing, part of my Pandemus Chronicles, came out of another dream. Now, not every story does, but this one certainly did. I saw Duncan huddled against the wall, cursing himself over his ankle. I saw Mark digging through the shelves at the pharmacy. I saw them come together, their interactions, their attraction, all in a dream.

I’ve since had a few other lovely dreams with them. Some that I haven’t yet written down and should, but would very likely cause my computer to melt. Some that are more sweet that I hope to work into a future story in this world.

I have to take a moment and give a bit of credit for my first thoughts of peeking at my stories like this. I’ve made no secret that a chunk of my writing came out of fanfiction. Most of my fanfiction was based on anime, including InuYasha by Rumiko Takahashi. I once read an interview from her where she talks about her writing process and in it, she mentions that when she sits down to write, it’s like opening a door and peeking into the room to see what her characters are doing. Writing down my dreams, dreaming of my characters, feels a lot like that to me.

I think I am incredibly lucky to be able to do this, that my brain works this way. And I am forever grateful that Dreamspinner likes the stories I dream up. I hope they do for a long time to come.


When Duncan stumbles into a pharmacy in search of something to fix his broken leg, he’s surprised to find someone else there. Like the rest of the post-pandemic world, it appeared empty. Instead, he discovers Mark, a former nurse who walked away from his profession after losing too many patients to the virus. Despite swearing he’d never practice medicine again, Mark patches Duncan up over Duncan's protests. He even finds an abandoned house in the tiny town, and they settle in until Duncan heals enough to look out for himself. Much to the chagrin of both, they find themselves caring for each other.

Duncan welcomes it, thrilled at finding someone he can trust. However, he’s well aware of the shadows in Mark’s eyes and understands Mark’s reticence as he learns the story. But as he’s starting to do things for himself again, Duncan realizes he doesn’t want Mark to leave. He’s not sure if can get Mark to let go of his fears so they can stay together and love. But Duncan’s damned sure going to try.

Healing is available from:
Amazon           AllRomance eBooks

And now an excerpt from Healing!
He should have known better. Under normal circumstances, it was a stupid move, but right here, right now, “stupid” didn’t begin to cover it. 
Duncan glared at his leg for another moment, then leaned his head back against the wall. He needed to keep moving. It hurt like hell, but he had to keep going. It wasn’t going to get better on its own. The gash needed to be cleaned and bandaged, and even if the break wasn’t bad, it should at least be braced. And it wasn’t like he could call an ambulance. Or even go into an emergency room. 
Well, he supposed he could go into an emergency room, if he was in the city. But like a lot of other people, he avoided the cities whenever possible. And when it wasn’t, he stayed as far on the edge as he could. But even there, it was a dangerous risk. As corrupt as the cities were now, the price of anything was higher than most could pay. He’d heard rumors that, in some of the worst cities, people simply got shot if they couldn’t pay what the thugs in power wanted. It was all rumor, but rumor he wasn’t about to ignore. 
So he did his damnedest to stay away. 
He’d been stupid to jump off the ledge. Even at only a couple of feet higher than he was tall, the risk hadn’t been worth it. He’d have thought, after nearly three years, he’d learned how to be more careful and not take those kinds of risks. It wasn’t the first time he’d fallen and hurt himself—though, thankfully, the last one hadn’t involved a broken bone. Maybe it should have; he might have learned his lesson then. 
“Really fucking stupid, Dun.” 
Duncan steeled himself and pulled to his feet, grimacing when the sharp pain shot up his ankle and through his leg. “Fuck,” he muttered, breathing hard through his nose. When he finally focused past the pain, he looked up and noted the position of the sun, the only real indication he had for the time, and figured he had another good hour or two of light. If he was right about where he was, he wouldn’t need all of it. He tucked the stick he’d found under his arm, grimaced when it dug into the soft flesh, but then leaned on it and hobbled along again.

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age - many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children - both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Grace’s website          Facebook          Twitter

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  1. Thanks for the contest - can't wait to read it :)

  2. Thanks for another great post Grace!