Branching out

Branching out by Helena Maeve

Writers come in every flavour. Some of us start in self-publishing, go into more traditional methods, or delve into freelancing. Or we vow to restrict our writing to a hobby. Others define a plan and go about achieving it in a more targeted way. Naturally, neither approach comes packaged with a guarantee of success, but personally I’ve found huge fulfillment in trying new things.

My first foray into publishing, under a different pseudonym, was brief. It was in the early days of Amazon’s e-book platform and I had very little clue of what I was doing. My second attempt was to approach an online publisher and see what happened when I sent in my manuscript. As with Amazon, the experience was eye-opening and confusing at the same time. Both were rewarding in radically different ways. With one I made more profit, with the other I had more control. But both demanded a time commitment that made it easy to settle into a routine.

I’m sure there are writers out there for whom there is comfort in routine and I can definitely see the benefits of having a system already set up so one can concentrate on the writing part of the gig. But I’ve found that sooner or later comfort zones lead to atrophy. I miss the intellectual exercise of making something new work for me, even if it’s easier not to bother. I miss the challenges of new requirements, whether in genre or house rules or simple file formatting.

Comfort zones can be excruciatingly hard to leave. They lure us in under the guise of taking our minds off simple things like language use and siphon our ability to adapt. They’re a false promise of daily monotony paying dividends somewhere down the line. Most importantly, they can be a drag on the imagination.

When I started looking for anthologies I might write for, I was in a creative slump. I had just finished a series for my main publisher and I didn’t know what to do next. The Young Love, Old Hearts submission call came at just the right time. Suddenly I had characters kicking around in my head and ideas that badly wanted to be laid out on paper. I had the desire to do my research and see how I might come up with a story that would be worthy of the anthology. And then the coolest thing happened: the floodgates opened. Suddenly I was bursting with storylines I wanted to explore in different formats, in different genres, for my main publisher and others.

Part of me will always prefer sticking to what I know. It’s the comfortable thing to do. But now I have proof that sometimes a lateral step is the only way to move forward.

Twitter: @HelenaMaeve

Excerpt from The Arrangement:

The bed sheets had been stripped and replaced with clean linens, corners tucked in tidily. His clothes lay on the ottoman by the window, as he’d left them.

There was no trace of padded restraints or floggers.

As for the envelope that awaited on his folded jeans and shirt—it wasn’t a surprise.

Cyril bundled his frustration and quickly scraped the towel over his skin. His hair was still damp as he tugged on the cotton tee. Droplets flecked the white fabric, but as soon as he covered them with his plaid button-down it was as though they weren’t there.

Denial was a universal remedy.

“I’m out, then!” he said to no one in particular, dithering for a moment in the foyer. He couldn’t remember this part being so awkward when he’d first started coming here.

Of course, the buffed mahogany floors and penthouse views over the city had left him tongue-tied and a little distracted. Embarking on an arrangement to service someone with digs like these had prompted a quiver of disquiet at first, but the sentiment faded week after week, mind-blowing orgasm after orgasm.

“Would you come in a moment?”

The call came from the study.

Cyril hesitated. He’d never gone in there before.

Young Love, Old Hearts
A Supposed Crimes Anthology
Editor: C. E. Case

Stories by: A. M. Leibowitz, Adrian J. Smith, Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese, Geonn Cannon, Helena Maeve, Kassandra Lea, Lela E. Buis, Ralph Greco Jr., & Stacy O’Steen

Everyone hears “He’s too young for you.” “She’s too old for you.” Not between these pages. This anthology crosses the age gap with nine enchanting stories of cross-generational relationships. Some are sweet, some are sexy, some are heartbreaking. One is downright murderous. The protagonists are gay men or women searching for true love or trying out what’s right in front of them.


Verso and Recto by Geonn Cannon

Discovering their mutual love of reading leads a literature student and her professor to take a step neither of them expected.

A Blizzard’s Blow by Adrian J. Smith

Lollie dashes from the house in the middle of a blizzard in search of something she’s not sure she’ll find, but she hopes to never again see the same cold, blank stare Kimberley gave her.

Slice by Ralph Greco Jr.

When Germane relinquishes her more-than-slight kinky relationship with Lila to begin a new one with younger A.J., she finds a flirty, fun and wholly different “Slice” of life opening up for her.

That December by Lela E. Buis

Celia finds that older women and the politics of genetic engineering aren’t what they seem.


The Arrangement by Helena Maeve

When he is summoned into his Dom’s study after a mutually satisfying scene, Cyril knows he’s in for something worse than the play they normally get up to.

New York Minute by Stacy O’Steen

Stuck in his depressing hometown for far too long, Colton jumps at the chance to return to his beloved New York City. But when some odd coincidences click into place, he needs to find the truth hidden in the lies.

The Artist as an Old Man by A. M. Leibowitz

1985 is a big year for Kenny Anderson. Sent to interview artist Aaron Rubenstein, making a grand reappearance after a three-year absence, Kenny digs beneath the surface to understand Aaron’s life—and maybe his own.

Adjunct Hell by Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese

Phil may be in his 50s, but he’s still a student, and the fact that Carl—who’s barely 30—is dating him would bad enough even if Carl wasn’t waiting for good news from the tenure committee.

Say You Do by Kassandra Lea

Keegan Bancroft is hoping to avoid a complete meltdown before his date. But there’s something he really wants to ask Richard.

Buy Links:
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About the Publisher
Supposed Crimes, LLC publishes fiction and poetry primarily featuring lesbian characters and themes. The focus is on genre fiction–Westerns, Science Fiction, Horror, Action–rather than just romance. That’s how we set ourselves apart from our competitors. Our characters happen to love women and kick ass.

“Supposed crimes” refers to the idea that homosexuality is outlawed, and that our authors are being subversive by writing. As times change this becomes more tongue-in-cheek, but can still apply broadly to our culture. Christians writing lesbians and men writing lesbians are also subversive ideas in this industry, and we promote people bending the rules.

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About torntreasure

I'm a 32 year writer and optician. I am loud and out-spoken and I do not lie or sugar coat things. I love to write; I love to read. I like eyeballs. I want to be an artist. I want to paint the world with my words and make you glasses so you can see it! Ha ha!

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