One Year: Where I Was & Where I Am

Happy Halloween!

This holiday has a strange significance for me now. In myths it’s the day when the veil between the mortal world and the afterlife is the thinnest. And one year ago today, that veil got pretty thin for me.

TW/CW in the post for some medical details and photos of medical-related things. There are no blood, pills, or needles shown. 

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An Update

Last night I requested back the rights to my five books from Riptide Publishing. I didn’t do this with a light heart, or without carefully thinking through all of my options. I also didn’t do it out of a sense of ill-will. I learned a lot about being an author from Riptide, and my experiences with them have, I hope, taught me the right (and wrong) way to handle my own books going forward.

So what does ‘going forward’ entail? Self-publishing all five books. They will be unavailable for a short time, but then I hope to make the Seasons of Love series and Heels Over Head available on all platforms shortly after.

And because I promised transparency, I’ll explain why I chose to go this route, instead of leaving my books with Riptide or attempting to publish them elsewhere:

The Seasons of Love series is a mixed pairing/orientation series. Two of the books are M/M (one with two gay characters, the other with two bisexual men) while the other two are F/F (one with an asexual/bi relationship, and the other with two bisexual women). Riptide put an effort into selling this series as both individual books and as a whole series, but I also often felt like they were a little lost about how to reach a wider audience. Thaw was marketed on M/M-only sites and erotica-focused blogs, while Heat Wave was advertised as a lesbian romance– which it is not. I’m so thankful for the tireless work of the Riptide marketing department, but I also feel like I can give Thaw and Heat Wave the individual focus they deserve and work to ensure that they get to the hands of readers who crave this kind of rep.

As for Heels Over Head, I mentioned in my last post that there will be a sequel, and it was already planned for self-pub. In fact, there will be two of them: In the Deep End will be a transition book between Jeremy and Brandon, and Val and her love interest. The book will focus mainly on Jer and Bran as they begin to build a relationship with no secrets… or with maybe a few more secrets. (You’ll also finally learn the answer to that burning question from the end of HOH, I promise!) I wanted to write more of Jer and Bran’s story, but I also want to use ItDE as a chance to introduce the readers more fully to Val, and to introduce her future love interest. Val is demisexual, and I wanted to show the progression of friendship to romance in an organic way; after all, if you remember Val, you know she (and Jer) are both Not So Great at making friends! So I want to make sure this relationship has the full time to develop in a way that will do justice to the demi community. The third book will be F/F and tell just Val’s story (with background Jer/Brandon, of course), and still doesn’t have a title because titles are Literally The Worst.

Finally, future projects: are put on hold a bit while I get this book stuff sorted. Hopefully I’ll have some fun announcements in a few months. Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.

And that’s where I’m at right now. I’ll be pulling links down and getting things organized over the next week or so, and then hope to get things turned around and back up soon. I’ll keep y’all posted!

My Statement as a Riptide Publishing Author:

This has been a week of revelations for many. It has been a shock, a horrible surprise, a source for outrage and hurt and anger. What was done by people in positions of trust and power has caused irreparable harm— but for those who knew about it and could not speak up for fear of repercussion, it’s also a time of relief. What was a poorly-kept-secret is now in the open.

As a Riptide author, I have a lot to think about. I have a lot to process. I’ve spent the last few days examining my own interactions with Sarah and other Riptide staff… and also my contribution to further harm by not speaking up when faced with signs of phobic, abusive, and inappropriate behavior. Some was shock, some was a desperate need for approval from people who held power of my writing career. But I need to apologize for not speaking up and calling out problematic behavior, like when I was told that “it would probably be best for these stories to be as close to, uh, “mainstream” queer as possible.” I am sorry for my silence, and by extension my complicity in any harm caused.

Right now I am faced with the same difficult choices as many of my fellow Riptide authors. My immediate desire is to pull my books from this publisher; however, hasty decisions have gotten me in trouble in the past, and I’m determined to fully understand all options before me before taking any steps. The cost of self-publication must be examined, as too should the options of re-publishing with another company. There is potential for my books to be out of print for months, and the lost royalties associated with that are potentially damaging.

I say all of this to be as transparent as possible, and to ask your understanding and patience as I work to select the best path for my books, my readers, and myself.

But whatever may come next, I want to make something clear: Xen’s courageous choice to speak up has my full and unwavering support, as does any author or reader who does the same. Thank you Xen— for speaking up, and for listening when I needed someone to talk to.

What’s next for me beyond this? I have a novel in the works that was already intended to be my first self-pub project. It’s about friendship, dreams, and a maybe-otherworldly neighbor. I already have a cover for it, and I can’t wait to share it with you all! I’m also working on a sequel to Heels Over Head, which was also planned for self-publishing as Riptide declined to contract it.

I hope to be back soon with more information on all of my books. Thank you so much.

“Heels Over Head” Interlude: Brandon and Jeremy at the World Aquatics Championships

Yesterday was the Men’s 10m Platform Synchronized Diving event at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest. Which, if you’ve read Heels Over Head, you’ll know is a Pretty Big Deal. I was streaming the finals at my desk, and even though neither the Americans or the Brits got a medal, it will still a great competition! (And of course there’s still the 10m Individual!)

So I wanted to share a short and sweet interlude, imagining if Brandon and Jeremy were at Worlds this week. This is unedited, cavity-inducing, and contains bonus Tom Daley! (If you don’t know who Tom is, google him. You’re welcome.)

NOTE: this short contains spoilers for Heels Over Head, so you definitely shouldn’t read it unless you’ve read the book. (Also, no, it doesn’t answer that Lingering Question at the end of HOH… that’s another story which will be coming later this year.)

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I’m in Playboy! (Also, I wrote some books…)

In what may be the strangest announcement of my life, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m now on Playboy.com! I wrote an article about what it’s like to be asexual (from my perspective), and the experience of never being sexually attracted to another person in a culture that is saturated with sex.

Imagine Never Being Sexually Attracted to Another Human Being. That’s How I’ve Felt My Whole Life.

Society is fixated on sex. We’re told that anyone who doesn’t want sex is unnatural. Society is wrong.

I also had a book come out a few days ago!

Heels Over Head is my (first) sports romance, and follows two college platform divers as they begin to prepare for the Olympic games. It’s enemies to lovers, and is about finding family and team, and learning to love yourself just the way you are. It’s a book that I’m incredibly proud of, and I really hope you’ll check it out!

You can find purchase links and all that jazz here.

Summary:

Jeremy Reeve is one of the best divers in the world, and he’s worked hard to get where he is. He intends to keep pushing himself with one very clear goal in mind: winning gold at the summer Olympics in two years. That medal might be the only way to earn his father’s respect as an athlete.

Brandon Evans is everything Jeremy isn’t: carefree, outgoing, and openly gay. With his bright-blue eyes and dramatic tattoos, he’s a temptation that Jeremy refuses to acknowledge. But Jeremy can’t ignore how talented Brandon is–or that Brandon has no interest in using his diving skills to compete.

They’re opposites who are forced to work together as teammates, but Jeremy’s fear of his own sexuality and Brandon’s disinterest in anything “not fun” may end their partnership before it begins. Until a single moment changes everything, and they help each other discover that “team” can also mean family and love.

So I now have three of my five 2017 releases out.

   

Coming up are my summer-themed romance, Heat Wave, which is a bisexual F/F with a summer fling that’s all heat and sex… until it becomes something more. And this fall will bring Changing Colors, an M/M romance about a man learning to stand up for what he believes in, and his gender non-conforming boyfriend who’s there to help him.

  

(And as always, huge amounts of love and awe to Natasha Snow for creating all five of these stunning covers!)

Whiteout is almost here! And a contest!

I’m equally nervous and excited for the release of Whiteout in one week! I love Noah, Jason, and their story, and I can’t wait to share their romance with the world.

You can find all kinds of helpful information about pre-ordering right here, should that be a think you are interested in.

BUT WAIT! Maybe you’ve already pre-ordered it? In that case, let me start by saying THANK YOU! And look, a contest just for you, as a way to show you how grateful I am:

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Amelia at Riptide was kind enough to let me have this super rare paperback ARC copy of Whiteout, and I’d love to pass it along to one lucky winner. All you have to do is email me with proof that you pre-ordered Whiteout sometime between now and 11:59pm EST on January 22.

Contest is open worldwide, to anyone 18 years or older. Email me at el.springer.author AT gmail.com with the subject line WHITEOUT CONTEST, and attach a copy of your pre-order (remove any personal information, of course). Next Monday I’ll choose one lucky person to get this paperback ARC.

(Keep in mind: this is an ARC, which means it is not the final book. But I figure, you already have the final book in e-form, so maybe you’ll enjoy this rare, super cool treat?)

2016: Year in Review

2016-year-review

2016 was a rough year for a lot of people. Between celebrity deaths, politics, and natural disasters, I think it’s safe to say that 2016 will go down in the record books as the year we’d all like to forget.

But personally, 2016 was actually a really fantastic year. My resolutions each New Years are generally the same: read more, travel more, make good memories. And I did all of those things. So I want to reflect back on my highlights of 2016:

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Announcements galore! (aka, Shiny Things!)

If only your Monday was as awesome as my Monday.

(Okay, I really do wish your Monday was as awesome as mine. Sorry if it wasn’t. Come hang out and I’ll feed you grilled cheese and cookies.)

In case you somehow missed my, um, exuberant announcement on twitter (read: actual running around in circles while shouting with joy), the Seasons of Love series is now available to pre-order! That’s right, you can go spend your hard-earned money on things that I wrote.

(I’m not sure why you’d want to do that, but I don’t get why people jump out of airplanes, either. Whatever makes you happy, right?)

For now, they’re featured on the front page of the Riptide Publishing website, but you can also find links to them below:

riptide-latest-additions

The Seasons of Love universe page, featuring:

If you’re an eBook person, you can pre-order all four books for $14.99 as a set. Plus, you get them 48 hours before they release to the rest of the world. Soooooo, yeah. That’s a thing you should do. Just sayin’.

But El, what about those abso-freakin’-lutely gorgeous covers you’ve been bragging about and making heart-eyes over on social media? When do we get to see those?

Well, I’m pleased to announce that the ACTUAL WORKS OF ART that are the Seasons of Love book covers will be released on the RT Blog on Monday, October 3. I can guarantee you they’ll improve your Monday by at least 800%, because they are just that stunning.

(I wish I was exaggerating. The first time I saw them, I gasped so loudly in the middle of the library that people gave me dirty looks.)

So, to summarize:

I have books. You can buy them, but you can’t read them until January, April, July, and October, respectively. Yeah, I’m the world’s biggest tease like that, sorry. I also have book covers, which you’ll get much sooner.

And if you show some love for those book covers next Monday, I’ll post an awesome sneak-peek of Whiteout here on this blog next week.

Oh, and one more thing…

In case you didn’t know… Whiteout releases on January 23.

tangled-birthday

Which just happens to be my birthday. (Yeah, my very first published novel is releasing on my birthday!) Just something to think about.