S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated 2-3 times a month.

Year: 2015

Being more sociable on social media

Lately I’ve been thinking about my social media use (kind of thanks to my wife, who accuses me of spending more time with my phone than with her – which I guess is sometimes true) and I realised I’ve been spreading myself too thin.

This morning I read a post on Jane Friedman’s blog called “Beware of One-Size-Fits-All Advice for Social Media” and it made me take some long-overdue action.

The general idea of that post was to really think about the advice you’re taking on board with regards to social media and whether certain platforms fit what you do and what you want to achieve.

So I did sit down and think about it. I took stock of all the platforms I’m on and what I use them for and how often.

I currently have accounts for facebook (both a personal page as well as an author page), twitter, tumblr, instagram, wattpad, google+, linkedin and goodreads. (I think that’s all). On top of that, I have a mailing list I’m trying to grow (though not currently – those guys haven’t heard from me in a few months – sorry guys!).

When I really thought about what I used most often and why, it turned out that facebook is my absolute favourite place to be, and that’s not surprising considering it was my first foray into social media. I have more friends there than all of my other social media accounts combined and I love the interactions I have with people on there.

I’m on twitter infrequently, and even then, only really to get news about publishing and writing and sports. I don’t often tweet anything of my own on there – I tend to retweet things from other users, which is fine I guess.

Instagram is my other favourite thing, because I love posting random pictures and checking out hashtags to check out other user photos. I also post to twitter and facebook from there which is a great time-saver.

As for the other platforms (tumblr and google+ in particular), though I spent some time on them in the beginning, I’ve not made any real connections.

And therein lies the key for me I think. Readers and other authors have found me through facebook, which has allowed us to become friends over time. I don’t feel like I’m yelling into a void on facebook like I do with some of the other platforms.

So after much deliberation and thought, I’m going to make facebook my platform of choice. I’m going to close my author page there (I feel like I’m doubling up on posts when I cross-post) and I still have plenty more room for friends before I hit my personal limit.

I’ve also discovered that there’s a ‘follow’ feature that allows people to follow me rather than friend me, which is essentially the same as what they’d be doing on my author page anyway.

I’ll also be maintaining my instagram and twitter accounts, but I will eventually close my profiles on tumblr and google+. I’ll also not be signing up to any new fandangled platform that happens to pop up.

So if you want to catch me on social media, head on over to facebook and ‘follow’ me or hit me up with a friend request (be sure to add a message to your request though, as I don’t tend to accept requests from people who don’t have any mutual friends with me).

 

Five ways my lesbian relationship differs to your heterosexual one

(And one way it’s the same)

So the marriage equality debate has risen again here in Australia, and it looks like it may finally be the time that our Parliament catches up with the majority of people and changes the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples.

There’s been a rush from both sides to assert their positions and make their arguments, and I wanted to do the same. I wanted to write a post on how my love is no different from anyone else’s, because one of the major arguments from those who are against marriage equality is that our love is fundamentally different and therefore not worthy of the term ‘marriage’.

When I got to thinking about it though, I realised that my relationship with my wife (still non-legal though we hope that changes soon enough) is different from a heterosexual relationship/marriage. Here, then, are five points of difference:

  1. Terminology – currently, I call my wife my wife because that’s what she is to me. It’s a non-legal term, and most of our friends and family refer to her as my wife. I have, however, on various occasions been referred to as my wife’s ‘mate’, her ‘partner’, her ‘friend’ and sometimes not at all. In those cases, I was introduced in name only with no hint to my relationship with her, even though it was plainly clear to most people what our relationship to each other is. I have never, at any stage, heard my heterosexual friends have their better halves (married or not) referred to as mate, or friend, or not at all, even when they had only been together a short time.
  2. Sexual innuendos and questions – Let me ask you this. When you (if you are in a heterosexual relationship) have gone out with your wife or girlfriend, have you ever been asked who is the top? Or whether you want a three-some? Have you ever had anyone (someone you’ve never met before) tell you that you’ve just not met the right [insert opposite sex here] yet? As a lesbian, it seems like everyone wants to stick their noses into what happens in my bedroom. Something that doesn’t happen when you’re in a heterosexual relationship.
  3. “The Phase” – After over 11 years together, it is still assumed by some people that my relationship with my wife is a ‘phase’, and that we will each find a man eventually when we grow tired of each other. This is something never questioned in a heterosexual relationship. The length and strength of my relationship with my wife means nothing to people who just can’t get past the myth that gay and lesbian relationships don’t last as long as heterosexual ones. We’re certainly going to prove that myth wrong.
  4. Being ogled in public – When was the last time you were ogled in public for holding your wife’s/husband’s hand? Or showing any type of affection at all? While it happens less and less, it still happens. It happens when my wife and I are out for dinner and I lean in a little too close. It happens when I take her hand as we walk down the street or cross a road. It happens when we’re sitting on a park bench and I lay my head on her shoulder. Again, they don’t bother me anymore, but sometimes, when I can feel someone’s eyes on us, it feels like we’re living in a fish bowl. There’s also the whispered comments from people nearby who think you can’t hear what they’re saying, trying to work out (a) if I’m a man or a woman (probably because of my preference to dress in jeans and t-shirts and keep my hair cut short) and (b) whether we are, in fact, lesbians. It’s no longer all that uncomfortable for me, but my wife sometimes picks up on it. We’ve even had times where we’ve dropped each others’ hands and walked just a little further apart because we’ve felt uncomfortable in public. Bet you never have to do that with your wife or husband huh? And finally,
  5. Constantly deciding whether you should ‘come out’ – Being a lesbian (or gay), I find myself constantly making judgement calls on the people I meet, and whether I can refer to my wife as my wife or not. I am proud of our relationship, but sometimes, it’s far easier to just not say anything. Ever gone to work on Monday morning and been asked what you did over the weekend? You reply with something about taking your wife and kids to the beach, or your husband taking you out for a quiet dinner to celebrate your anniversary. For some of us gays and lesbians, especially those who aren’t out at work, that simple conversation is one fraught with anxiety. Even just being asked, when meeting someone new, if you have a husband (if you’re a woman) or wife (if you’re a man) isn’t a simple answer for some of us. We don’t just come out of the closet once. We do it all the time. And it can be exhausting.

So yes, my relationship with my wife does differ to that of someone in a heterosexual relationship. I do hope though, that one day it doesn’t matter.

And just to finish on a happier note, here’s one reason my relationship is the same as heterosexual relationships.

I love my wife immensely. For me, she’s it. The One. We make each other laugh; we comfort each other when we cry. We share the same morals and values and we’re travelling in the same direction in life. She has my back and I have hers. We support each other in our chosen careers and we share the housework (although my wife would argue it’s a 70/30 split with her doing the most). We have our differences, sure. But the reason why being able to marry my wife is so important to me is because I want everyone to know that she is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, to the exclusion of all others. I want the automatic legal kinship that is afforded to married couples.

And we had so much fun at our Big C commitment ceremony 6 years ago, that we’d love to do it all again. Only this time, it’ll be for real.

Crush paperback unboxing and pre-order

When I was just starting out on my self-publishing and writing journey, I discovered an author who has become one of my all time favourites. When I was feeling down about my writing, watching his first unboxing video used to give me a great pick-me-up. I still watch every now and then to remind me how exciting this big adventure can be, and how far I have yet to go.

(You can see Hugh Howey’s unboxing of Molly Fyde on youtube here.)

Since Crush is my very first novel, I wanted to share the excitement of opening the box and seeing it in print for the first time. You can see that video below. You can also scroll down to the video below that to hear the details of when the paperback copy will be available and where.

For the initial launch through until the end of July, you’ll be able to get Crush for $12 plus postage. After that, the price will go up to $15 (plus postage).

 

See the video below for details on when the paperback will be released.

Don’t forget, the pre-order page will go up on Monday the 25th May.

Release Day is here!

CrushIt’s release day for Crush, and I thought I’d share some cool facts about the story to celebrate. These are a little spoilerish, but they’re mostly about settings, so no real plot spoilers.

If you don’t like spoilers full stop, then stop reading this post now and go read the book. You can get it here. I’ll wait.

Still here? Fantastic! Here, then, are five cool facts about Crush:

1. Chesterfield is based on the small town I was born in. (Bonus points if you don’t know me personally and can work out where that is – there are clues in the book!)
2. Piggies was a real cafe in that small town.
3. Pop and Gran’s farm is based on the farm my grandparents owned when I was younger. It’s still in my family, though I don’t get to visit it anymore.
4. There really is a Crush Festival, but I didn’t know that until after I started writing the book and was doing some research. It’s nothing like the festival in the book though.
5. And finally, ‘Chitty’ the old VW beetle really exists. In fact, here’s a picture:

Chitty on the farm

Chitty on the farm

You can find out where to buy Crush from here.

Introducing The Girls of Summer series

So, remember those sweet romances we read as teenagers in the 1980s an 1990s? The ones with lesbian main characters who fell for other girls and had fun adventures and happily-ever-after endings? No? Me neither.

I do, however, remember those sweet teen romances from Silhouette First Love, Dolly Fiction, Sweet Valley High… The list goes on. I remember hiding in the stacks in the library at high school reading those books, never checking them out lest they appear on my borrowing record. Though I loved sci-fi and fantasy (Day of the Triffids and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are still two of my all-time favourite books), when I hit 14 or 15, I started being very interested in the way relationships worked. Because I was a voracious reader, the way I discovered those things was mostly via fiction.

I’ll go into my personal story in a future post, but as I read those short romance books, I quickly learned that it wasn’t the female main characters I identified with the most. It was the male characters that the girls lusted after. I wanted to be those boys that the girls chased after, had fun adventures with and fell in love with by the end of the book.

I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I knew it meant I was different.

I’m not sure whether reading a book with a girl who fell in love with another girl and nothing bad happened and they got to be together in the end would have made me realise back then that I was lesbian, but who knows?

What I do know is that we’re in an exciting time in the publishing industry, when there are more and more books with diverse main characters making their way into the world. A good number of them, however, deal with the ‘bad’ side of being different – the bullying, homophopbia, unhappy endings, coming out etc. While those stories are needed and valid, we also need stories where sexuality isn’t the main plot point.

I think we need more happy endings, more sweet romances, more girls-who-love-girls and that’s okay stories.

And that’s why I’ve been working on a series of sweet teen romances that will feature lesbian main characters, whose problems are just like any other teen, and whose sexuality is not a major plot point.

I touched on the series in this post back in August last year, but since then, I’ve refined the series idea and decided on a direction for it.

The books in The Girls of Summer series, beginning with Crush, are intended to be short and fun reads. Lighthearted sweet teen romances where the girl might struggle to get the girl sometimes, but she’ll never be dealing with bullying or homophobia as the major plot point.

Though they will be linked by taking place in summer (my favourite season of the year), they will be stand-alones that can be read in any order.

And most importantly, the girl will get the girl in the end.

 

Wattpad Edition

Wattpad Edition

Crush is due for release on the 1st May 2015. You can get it for free before it’s released to the general public by signing up to the mailing list here. You can read the first five chapters and synopsis here.

 

 

 

I’ve gone visiting

I’m visiting author and photographer Laurie Salzler over at her blog this weekend. You can check out what cheeky questions she asked me by clicking through the link here.  While you’re there, you should check out the photos of her dogs. So cute!

You can check out her books on amazon here. And I have it on good authority that her latest book “In the Stillness of Dawn” will be out very soon. You can read about that one here – can’t wait.

Pop over and say hi!

On ‘Saving Francesca’ by Melina Marchetta and the Aussie voice

After finishing a massive rewrite of a manuscript, I wanted to crawl up in a hole and not do too much at all. The experience of having to more than double the word count of a finished story, while exhilarating when I was done, was also exhausting. I felt like I was out of words. And a writer needs words in order to be able to fashion them into coherent sentences. Which I couldn’t even do while talking out loud for awhile.

During the couple of months I was outlining and rewriting and throwing wads of crap ideas in the bin, I neglected my reading. That was a conscious decision for two reasons. The first is because when I read, I like to be able to devote hours and hours to a book without having my own unfinished work churning in the back of my mind interrupting my reading flow. The second is because I can’t focus on both reading fiction and writing fiction at the same time, and I didn’t want my choices of reading material to sneak into the re-planning of the novel I was working on.

So I neglected my reading.

My reward after finishing that manuscript was to spend a voucher I got for Christmas on books. Real paper books, rather than ebooks, which was also a conscious decision. I love ebooks. I love the immediacy of buying them and having them appear on my kindle to devour instantly, but there’s still something for me about holding a paper book in my hand and turning each page as I read. I also love having those books on my shelves in my study/office, and being able to look at them and try to remember if I liked them, or what they were about. There’s something tangible there, and when I’m recommending a book to friends or my niece, if I can see one on my shelf, it’s easier to remember than looking through my kindle. And it’s easier to pick a book off the shelf and just give it away, which I love to do.

2015-01-10 10.22.48

The books I bought as a reward for finishing my manuscript: Tomorrow, When the Ware Began, Eleanor & Park, Paper Towns and Saving Francesca.

Anyway, I wanted to try a mix of books  and read for both research and enjoyment, and I made a long list of the ones I wanted to read from a few online recommendations lists and then whittled it down to these four. I deliberately made sure to have two Aussie books on there, because I’ve been reading a lot of American authors lately, and while that’s perfectly fine, my own works have very Australian characters in them and I wanted to see how other authors dealt with our unique Aussie language and settings. I haven’t read a lot of Aussie books since I was at high school, which is something I am now in the process of rectifying.

I read Paper Towns first, because I hadn’t read anything by John Green (I know. A YA author not having read John Green. Shock! Horror!) and he’s on everyone’s lips right now. Paper Towns had been recommended to me by a teacher I met awhile ago as the John Green book I should read first, and I loved it. Having watched John and Hank Green on youtube, I could hear John’s voice telling me the story of Q and his quest to solve the mystery of the disappearing Margo Roth Spiegelman. I read it in three sittings, and that was only because I had other stuff to do in between (like spend time with my wife, eating and sleeping). I’ve seen The Fault in Our Stars, but not yet read the book, and I’m looking forward to reading Looking for Alaska.

Today, though, I finished Saving Francesca, by Melina Marchetta, who is a popular YA author here in Australia. I have to say that in the beginning, the book frustrated the hell out of me, and though I’m still not entirely sure why that is, I have a theory. I almost made the decision to just put it down and go onto the next one. I’m one of those people who hates not finishing a book though, so I put it down for a couple of weeks and came back to it when I had more time to focus on reading without interruption. I finished it over the course of three days. I loved the book, and while the story seemed simple enough – teenager in her second last year of high school, navigating her way through an all-boy school that has just started accepting girls, a depressed mother and everything that comes with it – it was the characters who enthralled me the most. By the end I, along with Frankie, the viewpoint character, was surprised at how she’d ended up with so many good friends after resisting so early on. We definitely have a very unique way of writing coming-of-age stories here in Australia.

Saving Francesca is definitely a book I’ll be rereading in the future, and it’ll be one I’ll be giving to my niece to read.

And after thinking on it this morning, I realised that the reason I struggled with the book in the beginning is because I’ve not been reading enough Australian books, and I’ve grown unaccustomed to our unique voice. It was almost like I’d been overseas for a long time and came home to our laconic Australian accent and cringed at it. Which, incidentally, actually happened to me a few years ago when I was in Europe for two months with my wife.

I think that’s also why I’ve struggled with voice in my own writing as well lately, and I’m determined to fix that by trying to focus on more Australian books and authors than I have in the past.

My next read will be Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden which has been on my radar for a long time.

If you have any recommendations on Australian authors and books I should read, particularly in the YA genre, let me know and I’d be happy to add them to my To Be Read list.

 

Flat rate shipping on all books: $3/book for Australian purchases, and $5/book for anywhere else in the world. Dismiss