Horn Tootin’!

My short story All Roads to Carter will be included in Violet Gaze Press’ Friends to Lovers Vol 2! I’m really excited. Like, stupid excited. Like, find myself randomly smiling whenever I think about it, excited.

I’ve known since April, but I haven’t shared the news or my excitement. Its been a struggle to figure out why–I’m sure there’s some complicated self-realization that needs to happen. I won’t do that here. Instead, let me just tell you I’m super excited.

This will be my first published piece. I’ve been writing for forever, but in the past I never really finished anything I started. Breaking that cycle has been one of my proudest accomplishments.

At some point this month Ali, the lovely editor at Violet Gaze Press will send me the suggested edits. I’m looking forward to how the story will grow from our collaboration. I’ve read other stories from VGP and they were really well done.

I’ll share when we have a release date and all the important details.

Design was done by me and does not represent Violet Gaze Press

Please help Violet Gaze Press

I’ve mentioned Violet Gaze Press before on this site. They are a small indie publishing company, driven by the desire to publish diverse romance. Unfortunately, they have been wrongfully terminated by Amazon—who has not been helpful in finding a solution to this devastating problem.

VGP cannot continue to sell their ebooks and they are no longer eligible for any outstanding royalties.

I want to boost the awareness so they can get their account reinstated and get back to making Romancelandia a more inclusive place.

This is heartbreaking for this passionate publisher, that I was excited to work with in the near future. A while back, I shared that I would be submitting a short story for one of their anthologies. I did. And they asked to include it. I was ecstatic. It would have been my first published piece.

They are trying to raise awareness on Twitter. You can help. Their handle is @violetgazepress, please retweet.

All of the Counter-Productivity

You know that thing, when you have a bunch of stuff to do but it feels like there’s no way you can get it all done, so you just don’t do any of it? Well, that’s what I’ve been doing. But instead of doing none of it, I’m only doing the fun stuff.

No really, you do.

In January, I made a goal to have my newsletter ready by the end of the month and a blog post once a month for the year. To my credit, I did a post that month, but I didn’t get my newsletter going or a post in February. (If you’re keeping track that’s a 25% success rate.)

I’m getting stories written, so that’s great. My current work-in-progress is closer to a first draft. The short story I’ll submit for the Violet Gaze anthology is with beta readers. I even participated in a Vulgar Valentine’s with friends. (That was a GD blast! We exchanged names, secret Santa style, and wrote a short story for that specific person then read them aloud. My friend Anna wrote one for me and it was brilliant!) But now, sweet Marty, it’s time to get the other stuff done too.

I’m doing an edit on You and Me In Quarantine to giveaway as a thank you for signing up to my newsletter. The first three quarters are edited, just the tail-end to do. If you haven’t read it, I do have it posted here: https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-1/ . But the giveaway is cleaner and will have a bit more steam and it’ll be an easier format.

This is me, telling you, people of the internet, I’m going to have my newsletter ready to go by the end of March. This is me, calling myself right out. I don’t want to have this conversation with me again.

Anyway, that’s it for me this month. Sign up for my newsletter (which will be ready by the end of the month) to hear from me twice a month! Free short stories and anecdotes about my general silliness, will be included regularly. Email me at martyvee@martyvee.com or signup in the handy little popup.

Ah! Current Projects

I’m an aggressively goal oriented person–I don’t usually make concrete goals or I get a bit obsessive (they become the only thing I think about or talk about. If you were looking for a friend that never shuts up about word count and the struggles in their work-in-progress then, Baby Cakes, I’m the friend for you!) But even with the hell fire that was 2020, I had a couple breakthroughs in my writing: I finished a novella and a manuscript.

I’ve always struggled to complete a first drafts. My computer is full of partial stories. Through a combination of escapism, focus and a beautiful support group I was able to break the cycle.

Now, I have concrete goals written down for 2021–I already need to revisit them because I forgot about an anthology I’m submitting to. It’s a whole thing. But what I really want to talk about are the projects I’m working on now! (See, whether you wanted that friend or not, here I am.)

  1. Friends to Lovers short story for Violet Gaze anthology. They are an inclusive British based small press. This will be their third romance trope themed anthology. Last year they published “Only One Bed” (so good) and on February third they will release “Enemies to Lovers” (yes, please!)
  2. Fake Relationship manuscript. I love my heroine and hero, they’re just the cutest. They have really fun and playful but dry banter and I adore them. (I’ve been writing it in third person and I think I’m going to switch to first person, I feel that my voice fits better there.)
  3. Banded Together edits. This is my full length novel that I finished last year. Like any draft she’s in need of lots of tender love and care but I’m really proud of her. Here’s a link to an excerpt I shared a few months back: https://martyvee.com/2020/07/30/excerpt-from-banded-together-working-title/

2021 is a year of preparation for me. I’ve got big and exciting plans for 2022 and I won’t be able to do any of it without the foundation I’m building now. (Don’t mind me, I’m just over here feeling the pressure and obsessing like mad.) I’m super pumped.

If you want to know what’s coming next, or hear embarrassing stories about me, sign up for my newsletter! I’m still figuring out how to add a form in the meantime if you email me at martyveeauthor@gmail.com I’ll put you on the list.

Thanks for reading my rambles!

Christmas Eve is usually full. We go from one family’s house to another. It’s silly and loud and busy. It’s really lovely and it is nothing like the Christmas Eve we had this year.

Today was quiet. We sang carols at my grandparents and went for a hike. My 18 month old son and I sat at the edge of a quarry listening to our echoes.

Different does not mean bad.

This whole year was an opportunity to reimagine how our days can be spent. Our celebration can be small. We’re still family even if we don’t spend time the way we used to. There’s something beautiful in that.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Starving Fears

Writing has always been something I do. I’ve written so many words, most of which will never see the light of day. I’ve gotten input and read books on story and style. I am passionate and obsessed. But I wonder if I should quit, frequently.

Let me explain my untrustworthy brain.

First: I have an idea, I feel excited about it.

Then: I start writing, I love it.

Then: Things get complicated and I wonder, Is this story even interesting?

Then: I switch projects and I can’t share a half finished mess of a first draft.

But recently it’s gotten worse. I now question my ability to write at all. No matter how many compliments I’ve received, I can’t trust that I can string words together in a way that is appealing.

It’s all very logical, if you’re in a warped state of anxiety. Without having any published work, I can’t quantify if I have talent. But I would never want to see my value in how much money I’ve made and talent is subjective. So, it’s fruitless. But it’s still there.

I’ll never be able to know if I’m good. So the question is which existence do I want? One where I write and struggle with this withering insecurity or one where I don’t write and there’s a valve closed inside of me.

So, I try. I try to trust the encouragement of others. I try to get words down even when they’re hard. I try narrow my focus to just the scene in front of me.

And I try to voice my fears because they’re feasting on my silence.

Tangled Wires Book Review

Can a machine love?

I disappeared two months ago. The business world and newspapers lost their minds. I’m back now and have two goals: staying healthy and fulfilling a deathbed promise. 

The one standing in my way? 

He stepped in to run my father’s company after his death. He knows my secrets and I know his. I’m ready for the war between us but I’m not ready for him to want to be friends… Or something more. 

Can I trust him? Can I trust myself?

He isn’t a logical choice. He isn’t even a person and I’m the only one who knows.

***Tangled Wires is a romance with dark and sci-fi elements. Content warning for mental illness and suicide.***

Tangled Wires releases October 21st. It’s Lillian Lark’s debut novel. It does not disappoint. The plot is exciting and the characters are interesting. They’re chemistry is very hot on the page. A definite recommend!

I was given an ARC of this book for a free and honest book review.

If He Ever Came Out

Sylvie stood at the bottom of the hill, looking up. Under her feet was the crumbled uneven remains of a cement walk; little more than rubble at points. Trees and bushes and weeds grew over it. Their roots dug down beneath. Where sun and wind couldn’t erode the walk from existence, water and vegetation did. The decrepit nature of the path gave the impression that it hadn’t been treaded in decades.

But Sylvie knew better.

She knew the grind of rocks under the soles of tennis shoes had broke the quiet sound of wind in leaves as Byron trudged upward.
But that had been hours ago.

He had climbed to the door dug into the side of the hill. Brick mortared into place on either side, holding the earth back. As if it wanted to devour this breach into it’s belly. Evidence of the bricks shifting under the Earth’s constant pressure was there in large cracks. The soil slowly regurgitating the structure out.

It was a door she had heard of. A place she had been warned never to go. An image from nightmares passed down to her in stories told over coffee. Her grandmother’s weathered hands holding her mug but Sylvie could still see them tremor.

This land. A familial ground. A curse.

She should turn around. Go back up the hill she had traveled to get to the bottom of this one.

Her next step would be atop it. The home her great grandfathered had buried into the ground. It was described as grand. A mansion if it had sat in the day light. A mansion with no windows or natural light. The exterior walls were poured concrete to withstand the never ending pressure of encroaching nature. She wondered if it had faired better than the walk she stood on.

The dome of the hill didn’t have any indentations that she could see. But there was a whole other half that could be caved in—hidden from her view. She’d have to walk all the way around it to know for sure.

Had Byron wandered to the opposite side of the embankment? Sylvie doubted it. She doubted he had second guessed himself at any point.
When she’d told him that on her family’s massive property, there was an abandoned home underground. He had been enchanted. But that was Byron. Ever the romantic. She hadn’t explicitly told him not to come here, she should have but she didn’t want to come off like she believed in her family’s whimsical notions.

But she did. Because standing here at the bottom of this hill closer to the door of her grandma’s childhood home than she had ever been before, Sylvie felt it.

Maybe she could just wait for him here. She’d sit in the tall grass and never get any closer.

He’d come out eventually. Most likely unchanged.

But even as Sylvie had the thought, she knew that wasn’t true.

He’d be changed. If he ever came out.

Excerpt from Banded Together (Working Title)

Here’s an excerpt from my work-in-progress. 

Cecilia has inherited the family business which happens to be a band. They focus on doing events–weddings, parties and such. They also perform weekly at her brother’s bar. 

Miles is their newest member and her brother’s best friend and her long time nemesis. This is Miles’ first performance with the band (an anti-love Valentine event.)

When Miles suggested Brett Young’s “Mercy”, I thought it was an odd genre for him. I’ve known him to listen to Hip-Hop or rap or Post Rock. I don’t usually listen to contemporary country myself but hearing him sing this song now… It’s heartbreaking. Too beautiful to look away from. His voice changes it to an R&B sound but it’s just as mournful as the original.

Every person in the bar is holding their breath.

Only Tori’s piano accompanies our voices. The guitars are on stands at the back of the stage. Spencer and Raul started their break early, we’ll join them when we finish this song. It’s just Miles and me and Tori—who is playing like the notes are being pulled from her. Grief heavy in her gliding fingers.

I can’t take my eyes off of him. Did he listen to this song when Jasmine ended their relationship? Play it on a loop? The way some songs make it hurt worse and feel better at the same time.

He turns sad soulful eyes to me as I join him in the chorus. It shouldn’t take me by surprise after all the eye contact from Tuesday night. The two of us alone pretending to share more than our voices but it does. We have gone so long acting like the other person didn’t exist while in the same room, I’ve become sensitive to the sight of him. His eyes take me back to when I coveted his attention. When I’d take any interaction with him and store it like sustenance until the next chance meeting. The next time he and I would occupy place because Dan or my parents invited Miles. When I daydreamed about his smile lines and thought about him at night, discovering my body—wishing it was his hands and not mine. When my journals were filled with lyrics of longing and lust and hearts opening to love. Before…

I let the pain of that long ago wound to the surface. It’s not used to the light of day. It’s used to the shadows and deep hidden places of my soul. Where I shoved it. Where it fed on me.

I let him see it now.

Can he see it?

I hope he can. It’d be lighter to share the load. A weight I’m so used to carrying, I don’t remember what it’s like without it. And he’s one of the three people who knows. My stomach turns. My mouth starts to water, remembering—though that’s not the right word because I never actually forgot—why he or me… Why everything is sour.
Tears cling to my eyelashes as he sings the last note. At least to the on-lookers it just looks like I’m affected by the song.

Get it together, woman. You’re at work.

Tori plays her last chord.

My smile to the rapt audience is forced, but they’d never know it. I wait for their applause to die down before saying, “Well… we promise to bring you all back up after the break. You’re gonna love the second half! So much dancing!”