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14 October 2011

Welcome special guest: author L.J. LaBarthe @brbsiberia

Today we have author, L.J. LaBarthe, visiting. L.J. is an Australian woman living with disabilities and her cat. As a child, she won a competition drawing a picture of Australian Humpty Dumpty, with a story she wrote set in Australia. L. J. spends her free time watching television and reading. She enjoys a snifter of Absinthe from time to time.

* So, L.J., what inspired you to become a writer?
The ideas in my head needed an outlet. I often daydream stories when I go walking or when I'm travelling to fill the time, and eventually, I decided that I should try writing them down instead of just daydreaming them.
* When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
My first professionally published story is "Ties That Bind" and was for the "To Have and To Hold" anthology released by Dreamspinner Press. It was around 13000 words long and it's still available for sale as a short story on the Dreamspinner website. (Here:
* How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
Oh, loads. Too many to count. I've got discs with half-finished stories and some that are finished but will never see the light of day.
* What genre(s) do you write in? What drew you to write in it/them? What’s your favorite genre of all to write in?
I write predominantly contemporary m/m romance, paranormal m/m romance and historical m/m romance, and I write these genres because these are what I enjoy reading. Out of those, though, I think the paranormal and historical genres are tied as my favourites.
* What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
Best: Keep on trying and don't take rejection letters or negative reviews personally. That's hard, sometimes really hard, but it's important to remember that rejection letters or negative reviews are not rejecting you, the person, and everyone is different. What one person likes, another won't. It's no more personal than that.
Worst: Always write, even when you're tired or sick. I dispute this, because I've read what I've written when I'm tired or sick and the typos are a dime a dozen. The sentences are horribly long and make little sense and I shudder when I see what's come out of my tired brain. If there's a deadline, sometimes it can't be helped, but that's when you go over it and fix it with a clear mind (or as clear as you can be) before the deadline.

* How do you celebrate/deal with acceptance/rejection letters?
I save them. The rejections are just as valuable to me as the acceptances, although I do prefer the acceptances of course! But I keep them all as a collection documenting my journey from the first thing I ever submitted and how I've improved or need to improve to the current day.
* In regard to the book you’re promoting, which actor and actress do you envision playing the roles of your hero and heroine? If there’s a villain or other characters who are pertinent to the story, who would play those parts?
Ooh, dream casting! I love dream casting. In the short story for the Christmas anthology for Dreamspinner, my ADF soldier, Craig, would be played by Aussie actor and model, Daniel Macpherson and my university student, Shin, would be played by Korean actor, model and singer, Won Bin.
In my Archangels story, Archangel Michael would be played by Korean actor and singer/rapper, Yoo Seung Jun and Archangel Gabriel would be played by British actor, Daniel Craig. James Bond as an Archangel, it fits, right? :)

* The book you’re promoting, is it a stand-alone story or part of a series? If it’s part of a series, please list the order the books need to be read in for maximum reading enjoyment.
"Long Road Back" is a stand-alone story, set in Darwin. The idea for an Australian Christmas story had been in my mind for some time, and I was watching "Black Hawk Down" when I thought, well, what about a soldier and his family enjoying Christmas together and him falling in love with his sister's flat mate, a foreign student at Charles Darwin University. The rest fell into place after I had a sudden thought of Tisha, the sister of Craig, the soldier, dragging Shin, her flat mate, around the nearby park looking for a large fallen branch from a eucalyptus tree, that would be made into a makeshift Christmas tree.
"Fire, Burn" is also stand-alone, looking at the idea that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed not for sodomy as some folk like to claim, but for breaking the laws of hospitality and for angering God. There are sites for Bible archaeology which look at these amazing sulfur ash structures that they theorise are the remains of these cities. There's nothing like them anywhere else on Earth, and geographically, they fit as being Sodom and Gomorrah, carbon-dating has shown they fall into that time-period, too. It was fascinating, looking at these photographs and everything fell into place and "Fire, Burn," was written.

*** Now for some fun info… ***
* What’s your favorite color?
Black and red. I like jewel tones and most of my clothes are black or red or black and red. My hair is also traffic light red, because I've been dying my hair bright colours since I was 14.
* Are you a cat, dog or both kind of person?
Cat. I've always had pets but cats are better suited to living in a flat. My current feline companion is a black and white little brat named Castiel, after the angel in "Supernatural."
* If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?
A never-ending Coke vending machine that was also perpetually cold and didn't require money; a power generator; a good laptop; mp3 player and dock; an internet connection. Because I can't live without music and I do love my Coke and computer.

*** About L.J.’s book and series… ***
"Fire, Burn," part of the "Erotic Apocrypha" anthology out with Freaky Fountain Press.
All mythologies have them—those dark, twisted, horrible elements that are just Eros turned inside out. From the Biblical to the Norse, the familiar to the esoteric, the twelve stories in this anthology reinterpret and re-imagine these themes. Join us as we explore the known to make it new, and tease the erotic out of the darkness.
Available at Freaky Fountain Press,
My novella, "Life and Nothing But," is also available, as is my short story, "City of Gold."
"Life and Nothing But."
When Michael Lee takes a job as a tutor to Lord Henilworth's children, the last thing he expects to find is the love of his life. However, from the moment he first meets Nick, the gardener of Castle Henilworth, he cannot deny the attraction. Believing it to be one-sided, Michael tries to bury himself in his work, but living in the same village and working in the same place make it impossible to completely avoid Nick. Gradually, Michael overcomes his shyness, and, when Nick makes his own interest clear, everything seems to be going Michael's way. However, ghosts of the past and a racist attack threaten the fragile happiness Michael has found. Will Nick's love really be enough?

"City of Gold."
Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, 1131 AD.
Gallienus has spent his life in service of his country, and now his scarred body is no longer up for the fight. Assigned to work the gates of Constantinople, he is charged with examining the cargo brought into the city from all over the world. Misahuen is part of the merchant train bringing wares from the Silk Road to trade, but it’s not Misahuen’s cargo that interests the wounded soldier. Gallienus thought his heart was too battered to love anything but his country. Does he have the courage to dream of a future beyond service to the City of Gold?

***Find L.J. here***

Thank you for joining us here today, L.J.! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.

L.J. is happy to give away one pdf copy of "Life and Nothing But" and one pdf copy of "City of Gold" to some lucky commenters! Please leave a comment on this post with your first name and email. Winners will be drawn on Thursday, October 20, 2011 after 6:00 pm PST and notified by L.J.


LJ said...

Thanks for having me! I really enjoyed myself. :)

Penemuel said...

I love getting little insights into your writing methods.

I bet some pretty weird stuff could come from some of those 'sick/tired' writing sessions, though!

LJ said...

Hahaha oh yeah. I found a paragraph where Gabriel had suddenly taken to speaking in tongues, because I had my fingers on the wrong keys and didn't realise it at the time!