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Today's guest is the author Erastes, well-known for her historical fiction. Her first novel Standish (Regency) was nominated for a Lambda award and her second, Transgressions (English Civil War) is part of the ground breaking line by Running Press which is attempting to bring gay historical romance to the mainstream romance reader.

She's a reviewer of books in her genre and a regular blogger at sites like Jessewave's. Today she's encouraging authors never to give up with their submissions - and aim for the stars! :)

Her Blurb: Erastes has been writing all of her life, in one way or another, letters, emails, diaries used to satisfy her need for the written word. She simply didn’t think she could write, make plots that people would be interested in. Then one day in 2003, she simply started, a few short stories, and then a novel and then…well, she hasn’t stopped writing since. She lives in Norfolk, UK, and when she can be dragged kicking and screaming away from her computer, she enjoys walks by the Broads. She likes cats and cheese but has discovered only one of those is any good with toast. She likes her men like her fiction, dark, with a hint of danger, romantic and intelligent without being too wordy. She believes in the GDM and bases her dodgy morality on Heinlein’s Intermissions.
She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Director of The Erotic Authors’ Association and the creator of Speak Its Name, the only place on the planet which concentrates on reviews and news of Gay Historical Fiction.


When the skies are bright canary yellow
I forget ev'ry cloud I've ever seen,
So they called me a cockeyed optimist
Immature and incurably green.

I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
That we're done and we might as well be dead,
But I'm only a cockeyed optimist
And I can't get it into my head.
from South Pacific: A Cockeyed Optimist

I can't help it.  I'm not actually a very chirpy person; I'm grouchy, and grumpy.  I lose my temper easily, especially when I see idiots wanking online and often jump in without thinking. I'm cynical and sarcastic, turning into Donald Duck at times - but when it comes to writing, surprisingly I'm a hell of an optimist.  In fact when it comes to writing, I'm not a glass half empty person, or even a glass half full person.  I'm that person that Terry Pratchett wrote about. I'm the one going: "This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!"

Perhaps I got this from my mother, who was much the same, and we both are often unrealistically so. For example, we'd buy lottery tickets on Saturday and then look through the property pages for the house we were going to buy the next day, firmly convinced that we'd win.  My mother even had a list of where her winnings would go, and my Dad never understood this--he'd sit there and say "what on earth do we need fifty acres for?" And when mother would say "for the elephants" he'd roll his eyes or make some disparaging comment about the kind of car we'd chosen.

Thanks to my mother and her complete belief in my writing, I have this kind of armour when it comes to submitting to publishers.  For a start I submit to the biggest publishers first--and I wish more m/m writers would do the same. I know of a couple of others only that do this - and like me, they get rejected regularly.  But what have we got to lose?  It's only one rejection, and I feel that I'm just as likely to get rejected from Harper Collins as I am from Lethe Press or Ellora's Cave - and as it has been shown, with several m/m books appearing at Harper Collins and Running Press - sometimes this pays off.  Publishers may be saying "oh bah, there's no market for it," but perhaps that's because out of all the manuscripts they are getting, one out of a thousand is gay fiction - perhaps (as gina_stormgrant 's post pointed out recently) they just need to realise how much there is being written, how much is being read - and they aren't going to understand this if we never send to them.

I understand publisher loyalty, I do, and no one likes rejection, it's one of the worst things about this business - but another thing my mother used to say was "if you don't ask, you don't get" - and sometimes, a bit of cheek is all that's needed.  We won't go mainstream if we don't try to do so.

So until then, until Random House starts replying to me, I'll be over here, humming a happy tune and being disgustingly optimistic.


Erastes' Website.
Erastes' Blog.



Today's Quote:
"Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols." Thomas Mann

Today's Daft Google Searches for 'Clare London':
"Ornaments: Cuirass to Gorget? An Interpretation" I think I'd need one...:)


Follow this month with Clare (look at the goodies so far...):

Jan 08 : Jessewave shares her love of bright, shiny guys but wonders - tongue in cheek - where the less shiny ones are!
Jan 09 : Anne Cain shares her books and some of her fabulous art - and also encourages us to show and tell!
Jan 10 : My latest release Upwardly Mobile is out at Amber Quill today.
Jan 11 : Author Lee Rowan discusses why love should not be a garotte.
Jan 12 : Author Jaime Samms loves writing short stories - and asks if readers prefer short or long?

Jan 01 : The New Year is ushered in with the release of the Immortal Fire anthology IN PRINT.
Jan 02 : author Chrissy Munder wonders whether following current affairs in our writing is delightful or just dates us.
Jan 03 : author Madeleine Urban describes how her characters hijacked her brain...a willing victim!
Jan 04 : author Theda Black describes how her writing has been influenced by everything from a bionic penis to the power of Pan.
Jan 05 : author Josh Lanyon shares some exceedingly good books with us and asks about *your* recent reads.
Jan 06 : author K. Z. Snow questions what all the fuss is about authors 'making shit up'.
Jan 07 : Josie aka 1more_sickpuppy compares her life and friends online and off.

Want to grab a day to pimp, pose or pontificate? Email me at clarelondon11 @ hotmail.com and I'll happily find you a space ♥

NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2010 11:00 am (UTC)
I really like the way you think!! XD

(Side note, my family used to do that as well, when we win the lotto. Or even better we'd aruge for weeks who's bedroom was who's when it came to the Annual Hostpial Home Lotttery Give away[I don't think it mattered that they couldn't afford the tickets we still argued over it!])
Jan. 13th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
It's just as well that we never went to look at any of these houses, because we'd definitely have been arguing over rooms! :) thanks for commenting!
Jan. 13th, 2010 12:10 pm (UTC)
You and me too, kiddo. (You have to be optimistic, if you support the Sarries.)
Jan. 13th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
LOL! I can feel your pain!
Jan. 13th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
Hey Erastes
Love the post. I'm an optimist (usually until life kicks me in the teeth and I have to eat jello) :)

I, too, buy lottery tickets - not to buy a house but to buy an island. Big dreams. I have always had them and always will. Keep on keeping on E.
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! Big dreams! Who wants to earn ten quid? If I have to share the ten million, it's not worth having!

Jan. 13th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
I waffle
Sometimes I'm an optimist (I do tend to believe that things usually work out in the end) and sometimes I'm a realist (not negative necessarily). I buy the lottery tickets from time to time and imagine how I'd spend my $40 million. I know it's unlikely but someone has to win, I've as good of a chance as any of the other people buying it and people DO win. Why NOT me? :-)

"If you don't ask, they'll never say yes" is a truism. I guess you just never know when it will happen and it's worth taking the risk.
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
Re: I waffle
Exactly, - you'll never win it if you aren't in it, as they say, and I don't seriously mean the lottery - that's a pretty unrealistic optimism, but still...


I sent my manuscript to Harper Collins - even though they said "no unsolicited submissions" - I tracked down the editor of Herendeen's work, and then found his email address, sent him a polite email saying "I know you say you aren't... but...." and the man was as nice as pie and asked to see the manuscript!!

He hasn't responded since, but that's not the point, I was once further step along than just accepting them on face value.
Jan. 13th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Well ... I must admit, my motto's always been, "Don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed." That said, I fully agree with your ms. submission advice. I recently had a sub turned down, but it was picked up by another publisher within 24 hours (the fastest turnaround I've ever experienced!)

I became more or less inured to rejection many years ago. It barely fazes me anymore. And by the way, simultaneous submissions can save you a lot of time and spare you a lot of grief, too, as well as up your optimism quotient. Never allow a work to languish for months on end at one house if you can help it.
Jan. 13th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
I'm the one who looks around for a glass, can't find it, and is told, "You didn't lose a glass--we took it back! You were never supposed to have a glass in the first place...didn't you realize that?"

I'm quite capable of encouraging other people to submit and be optimistic, but I can't do it with my own stuff. As the old song from Hee Haw goes, "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."
Jan. 13th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
We'll have to change your name to Eeyore.
Jan. 13th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
That's what my teachers called me when I was a child, in fact.
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
I was born an optimist, but the last five years of living through job losses, children problems, death of parents and in-laws, and rank injustice that makes me scream to the sky led me into a period of true cynicism. I really didn't like myself, and so now I'm a more moderate optimist than I used to be, but still an optimist.

I applaud your decision to submit your work to the big publishers. Frankly, it hadn't even occurred to me to do that, but then I'm very new in this field. Jenna chews on her thumbnail. Yeah, that sounds like really great advice. Thank you for putting the idea in my head. I hope many writers follow your lead and bring our genre into greater visibility, maybe even, gasp, the mainstream. It's a dream....
Jan. 15th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear about your problems, i know myself how hard it is to remain optimistic, I know how grief can sap it - but when my mother died, I remember forcing myself to finish a story that same week, because I knew how much she believed in me - she really was - and still is - my rock!

And absolutely - you have nothing to lose by submitting - all they can say is no - and it doesn't ruin your chances for ever and ever.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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