Transcript: 10. R.M. Neill

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Full episode transcript

Lee: Welcome to episode number 10 of the Low Angst library podcast. Today, we have an interview with R.M. Neill.

I’m your resident librarian Lee Blair. This library is your stop for all things light, fluffy, funny, sweet, spicy, and everything in between.

I not only publish low angst, queer romances, but I’m a voracious reader of them too. I created this podcast because I wanted to talk to other authors who write romances with main characters on the LGBTQIA2S+ spectrum to learn what draws them to the lighter side of angst, more about their books and their writing processes.

Y’all the last two weeks have been a fever dream. I caught a cold that turned into a nasty sinus infection, which meant I ended up missing all of my birthday shenanigans and several of the classes I’m signed up for. It was such a bummer. And I also missed the one-year celebration, like anniversary celebration of Pitcher Perfect, which is book one in my Tap That Brewery series. I released it on my birthday last year, because I thought it would be a fun way to mark the milestone of when I turned 40.

But man time passes so oddly when you feel like shit and are losing track of days on your couch. I’m so grateful to be feeling better now. Yay for modern medicine!

I’m also stoked to share that the pre-order is now live for a charity anthology that I’m participating in. It’s called Midnight at the Renaissance elevator. It was inspired at the Gay Romance Lit Retreat last year with the hotel having a very temperamental elevator. And all of the participating authors attended GRL last year and we have short stories in this anthology that involve the elevator. I’ll post the link to the pre-order in the show notes. Proceeds will support the Trevor Project, which is so awesome.

And likely by the next episode, I’ll be able to share info about another rad project that I’m participating in. I can’t wait to share that with you.

I’m thrilled to share my interview with R.M. Neill. We talked about her first experience developing an audiobook, pulling book inspiration from real life, and supporting newer authors.

R.M. Neill is a wife, mom, animal lover, and a hopeless romantic. She wants her stories to make you smile, swoon and snort laugh. But not necessarily in that order. She hopes she can be the author you turn to when you need a story to make you laugh or add light to an otherwise dark day. Coffee always wins. You can’t change her mind.

All right. Onto the interview.

R.M. Neill, thank you so much for hanging out with me in the Low Angst Library. I’m happy you’re here.

R.M.: Thanks for having me. This is gonna be fun.

Lee: It is. I’m so excited. And I just love to just jump right in and find out what got you into writing books and specifically romance.

R.M.: Ooh, the hard questions right away. Um, what got me into writing books? It’s kind of a long process, but I always liked creative writing. When I was a kid, I used to just dabble with poetry and that sort of thing, but the biggest thing that made me think maybe I should put it in books was I used to just tell stories. So, you’re just sitting around and you’re making up stories and I’d tell stories and my friends would be like, that’s really funny, you should write that down. And I’m like, whatever, right? And I just never did.

Where the romance part came in, I don’t know. I think that was just fluky because I just happened to be reading a lot of romance at the time. So I’m like, yeah, I’m gonna try to write romance. And there you go.

Lee: It’s funny how that happens. How we can be readers our whole lives and then just happen to start reading something and then, you’re like a different part of your brain clicks in, like the creative brain and you’re like, oh, oh, this might work for me.

R.M.: I think that’s kind of what happened. Cuz it was like, cuz I’m just like a naturally kind of, I don’t know, like a, I won’t say I’m funny, but I’m just like a, a slapstick person. I’m like, you know what would be funny? And then, and then, and then they fall in love. Yeah, I like that. So then, yeah, it was just kind of natural to put that together to come to romance because I didn’t picture myself writing some convoluted mystery and having all these things.

I was like, I don’t think I could do that. So yeah, I’ll keep it to romance ’cause everybody knows romance, right?

Lee: Yeah, and it worked out. You’ve got great books.

R.M.: I hope so.

Lee: Well, what drew you to low angst stories? Because that’s not quite as common as writing romance. Kind of move into the lighter side.

R.M.: Yeah. Um, I’m a very empathetic person and anything that’s like, high angst, rip your heart out. Tears is just not for me because it sticks to me. Like it really does. Like it’s a totally made up story, fictional characters, and if I read that, it’s just like, ugh. It brings me down. It just sits with me.

And people like that and that’s great, but I know personally, I just, I can’t, I can’t do that. And that’s where the low angst comes in. ‘Cause I’m like, there’s so much stuff in the world to bring you down, you know, reading the news or whatever. You hear these stories and I’m like, I don’t wanna bring, I want people to be happy. I’m like, I want to make people happy. I wanna make people smile, I wanna make them laugh. I wanna give them a little bit of that escape. So that’s why low angst is where I’m at. I kind of tried to up the angst at one point and I’m like bawling in my keyboard and I’m like, I can’t do this. I’m like, I can’t do this. So I was like, ok.

Lee: That is so relatable. I’m the same. That high empathy, like it just, you just can’t shake it. That it just, it becomes real. It affects, like- If I read something that’s super angsty and I just can’t shake it, like it brings me down all day in my real life. Like I just, yeah.

R.M.: It’s, it’s like I actually knew them and I’m upset because something happened to them, and it’s, it sounds so ridiculous. But that’s, yeah. And like, and, and I don’t, and I don’t read it just because I know that’ll happen. You know, I’ve tried it a few times and I’m just like, oh my God. You know, my husband’s like, what is wrong? And I’m like, this is good. And, you know, and he’s just like, it’s a book. I’m like, I don’t, but I just, yeah, we’re done.

Lee: Yeah, ’cause you like become the characters in a different way, I swear. High empathy people as readers and writers. It’s like you just embody them in a way that’s, I don’t know if it’s more visceral or just becoming them or it’s just, it’s just so much harder to separate, I think.

R.M.: It is very visceral. Like yeah. It’s just like in there and I can’t just close the book and go, so lovely. No, I just can’t. So when you say it’s a book hangover, that usually means I, I am like getting out the ice cream, right? And like just, ugh.

Lee: It’s like a book flu. Yeah.

R.M.: way

Lee: Days. Yeah.

R.M.: I know.

Lee: Well, one of my favorite questions to ask guests so far is what does low angst mean to you? Because it is all over the board.

R.M.: It is, you know, because low- I think it’s what we were talking about. It’s like you don’t purposely make me cry because those characters have been put through hell to get to their happy ending. Low angst is just like, do, do, do, we’re walking along, you know, we’re just, we’re oh, tiny little bump in the road and oh, we’re kind of upset. And then, oh, okay, we’re happy again. It’s just like a nice little road and it’s not these ripped out emotions and feelings. Like, yes, I want some emotion, but I don’t wanna go eat the tub of ice cream after.

And, and like, that’s usually how I kind of say, that’s like the high angst to me is like, it’s tragic and I’m gonna spend every single page crying and wondering why I’m reading it. Whereas low angst, I’m gonna be smiling more and laughing more and just feel happy. That’s kind of what it means to me.

I don’t- I don’t want to be- Yeah. Like I just, to me it’s always like, I, I happy is my goal. Happy, happy, happy. And I don’t want happy with missing limbs and stuff like that. I just want you happy. Is it real? Eh, no, but I like to escape from reality. Which I guess is another thing onto that because some people don’t have those good personal lives, or they haven’t experienced those good relationships. And if you are gonna go to a book to escape, I would like you to escape someplace where it’s almost idealistic and you can believe that it’s out there.

Lee: Yeah, that’s a great way to think about it.

R.M.: Yeah. That, that’s why I like to read. I like to, I don’t wanna read to be feeling sad. I wanna read to see the hope that’s out there and, and what happens. So.

Lee: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I would really like to know more about your reading habits too. So we know that you prefer to read low angst and writing it. I know some people are like, yeah, I like to write low angst because I live in the books longer, but I can read high angst. I’m like, you, it’s, it’s low angst all the time. But I’m curious, do you read while you’re actively drafting a book, and do you read like in the areas you write, or do you have to have some kind of separation while you’re drafting?

R.M.: It kind of depends on the story and where it’s at. Like sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. So like right now I haven’t, like, we’re writing cowboys and ranches and stuff and I haven’t read a lot. And I was like, well, I wanna see what other people write their cowboys at. So I’ve been reading a lot of that kind of stuff now, but, you know, I could go for a week and not open a book if words are flowing, but if, if the words aren’t flowing, I sometimes just need a little bump. So maybe it’s reading a chapter from somebody else and getting an idea. It all depends.

But if I didn’t read while I was writing, I would literally never read because I’ve always got something on the go, right? I would never open a book. So it just kind of depends. I know if it’s like a day that I’m like, oh my God, it was like a 3000 word day and I have this awesome chapter and this is great. Well then it’s fine. I’ll go pick up a book. But sometimes when I struggle, I don’t. Or sometimes it’s the opposite. It’s just, it’s really random. I’m random. Everything about me is random.

Lee: That’s great. Random’s great.

What about tropes? Do you have favorite tropes that you really love to read? And are those similar to what you like to write?

R.M.: Um, mostly. I mean, I, I’m like so terrible. Like, I don’t think tropey. I just like look at a story. But I do really like grumpy/sunshine. It’s like a huge, becoming a favorite the more I read and I’m like, oh, that was like one of those grumpy/sunshine things. Huh. I like that. So, so I mean, no. Yes and no. I like that one, but I’ll pick up anything as long as it’s a low angst book. If it sounds good to me, I’ll probably read it. And I was a fan of the bisexual awakening for a while, but it’s kind of waning on me. But, um, yeah. So again, I’m all over the map and random, but I don’t really have a favorite. I just pick ’em all up.

Lee: That’s all right. Keeps things interesting.

R.M.: It does, it does. Like I used to actually, when I found an author and I loved that book, I would binge, right? I’d read everything they have and I wouldn’t go anywhere. But now that I find, now that I write and I see all these new authors and how it’s always hard to get out there and you’re trying to get noticed. And I’m like, no, I’m not gonna binge. Even if I loved that book, I’m not gonna binge your backlist right now because there’s like so many new authors clamoring and I’m like, I’m gonna read that one. So I find a lot of new people that way ’cause I’m just like, oh, oh, caught my eye today. I’m gonna pick that up. I’m gonna read that.

Lee: I like that. That’s a good way do it.

R.M.: Yeah, just, it just keeps you all over. And then when people are like, hey, what have you read? Have you heard of so-and-so? Right? Or have you read this? And then you just, off you go.

Lee: Yeah, that’s really great.

Well, since you are so well-read and read from so many authors, do you have any low angst book recommendations?

R.M.: Well read. Um, well, I’ve finished recently. It’s called Third Time Lucky by Aurora Crane, and it’s a spinoff. She writes some poly stuff and she has the best characters. I just love them all. Like I wish they were all in my living room. So that’s a favorite. And I also read Ava Olsen’s latest, um, what the heck’s it called now. It’s about boats.

Lee: Oh yeah, there’s like, Oh Buoy, I think.

R.M.: Yeah, Oh Buoy was the first one, and I can’t the, but I, I really like those. They, they were, they were so sweet. And I was like, I like these. So I’m following that series. I’m following Aurora’s series, which is poly and I really, really like it because all the characters are just like so fantastic. They just draw you in. Those are two that are sticking to me lately, anyway.

Oh, and then there’s another one that I got to beta read, which I was quite, um, what’s the word? Flattered that she asked me. Um, Dani Lakey, Lakely has a book called Cam Fan coming out soon and I freaking adored it. It’s super hot for one thing. Lots of dirty talk. But again, I just love the two characters. I’m just like, oh, I just wanted to put them in a big hug. And I think she has a good future ahead of her. So I’m like, you need to write more of these. But that’s like my last two weeks of reading, so not a lot of books in there, but. So it hasn’t been a good reading week, but there’s tons that I’m waiting for. But, uh, yeah, those are the three that I’ve read recently that I loved.

Lee: Nice. There’s a lot of good ones coming out too. I feel like every time I check my Amazon book wishlist and I just keep checking, I’m like, oh, that one’s out in late April, early May, late April, early May. Like, it’s gonna be a great month the-

R.M.: And I’m like, did I pre-order that already? Mm-hmm. It says I did. Okay, great. You know, and it’s like those are the great days when you wake up and your email’s like, bing, bing, bing. You’re like, oh. So, and then I will clear schedules to do that ’cause I know I have some that I’m looking forward to too, coming out soon. So I’ll-

Lee: Exciting. Those are great recs. Thank you.

I would love to start talking about your writing. So we’ve understanding you as a reader, which is really good. Now let’s get into the writing juiciness. Can you tell us about your writing process?

R.M.: My process is controlled chaos. I think I described it before as improv on paper. From beginning to end, it’s just such a loose concept. I tried being a plotter. I really, really did. And it just kept handcuffing me and I couldn’t follow it. So my process is usually some sort of idea. I get whatever it is. It could be a character, it could be a situation, it could be anything. And then I just kind of go, okay, so what if I made this guy do that and I did this guy do that? And then like, I literally just make like 10 points on a sheet of paper and then I start writing. That’s it. And then I just let it go. And whatever happens, happens.

Now, you know, you get into trouble with that because when you get stuck. How do you get unstuck when you didn’t know where you’re going? Usually I have an ending that I’m working towards, but sometimes I get stuck in the middle like everybody does, and you’re like, oh my God, how do I get them there? But that’s what works best for me. It is literally improv. Like, not even, not even. It’s improv. Yeah. I make it up I go in.

Lee: Improv on paper. I like that better than like discovery writing. I wanna start using that too. That’s- I’m the same way. Like, I tried plotting and it took me like 10 years to finish a book because I kept thinking, well, writers plot. That’s what you have to do. And the story was told. I didn’t wanna write it. Once I plotted it, I was like, okay, and? I’m ready for the next one. I couldn’t force myself to write it. It’s that like, when you don’t know so much and you just let the fun unfold. Oh gosh. That’s where the magic happens. I love that process.

R.M.: Yeah, and that’s kind of my thing too. I was like, I can’t plot a whole book. If I plot it, I’m never gonna write it. And I’m like, and then, and then in my head, my head would say, well, you said they were gonna go to the fair. You cannot change that. You have to make them go. And like my head would be like, yeah, but you can change it. I’m like, no, and I would just get so hung up on that. I thought, you know, no. We’re gonna stop that. So. And it worked out so far.

And it is discovery writing because yeah, I like to discover the character as I go along. And I just had this with the book I just finished. I’m thinking they’re gonna be one way, and I’m trying to make them one way. And I’m like, you know, you gotta, and then it’s not working. And I’m like, why is it not working? Oh, he’s not like that. That’s why it’s not working. So then I have to go back. And then we do something else and I’m like, okay, this is why he does this, or this is why. So I often start a book like three or four times before it actually flows because I’m just getting to know the characters and it gets like Franken book where I keep pieces and throw pieces and yeah. It’s kind of how it goes. And yeah, it’s discovery writing, but I like to call it improv. It sounds better.

Lee: It does sound better. Definitely more whimsical.

R.M.: Yes.

Lee: It’s so true though. I’m the same way. Once I get into the book, I start to get to know the characters and so then it feels like the first chunk of the book is what needs the most work, because I didn’t know them yet. And so I have to like go back and be like, okay, now that I know them, I gotta change all of this and-

R.M.: Exactly. Yeah, it’s a pain in the butt and like, maybe if you were a plotter, that would be easier, but it’s just not. Like, it’s just, it’s just really not. Not for this brain anyway. We’ll just kind of just keep on trucking on and we’ll do it that way. And, and that’s just the first draft, right? And then after that, it’s like, depending on the book, sometimes you just kind of have to like, let it sit and just walk away from it for a couple of days before you get back into it.

Or sometimes I’m like just so immersed I need to start editing it right away. I wanna get back in there and just do it. Like, and it’ll, it all depends. So. And that’s like my chaotic experience. I have friends who are like, how do you do that? And I’m like, I don’t know. How do you do it where you make like all these points? I’m like, I can’t do that. So, but what if you get stuck? I’m like, well, we won’t go there. Like, we’ll just, I’m like, then I just wander around aimlessly and then I’ll write a different story and hopefully get unstuck and come back. But that is the process.

Lee: First rule of improv writing. You don’t talk about getting stuck.

R.M.: That’s right. It doesn’t happen. Right. It’s fiction, it’s gonna be perfect.

Lee: Well since you’re, you know, doing this improv writing, I’m sure ideas and inspiration comes from all over the place. Where do you usually get your ideas and inspiration?

R.M.: Literally everywhere. So. I’ll give you an example, which is weird. A friend of mine has a son that just started curling and he’s going up high level curling. And we went to watch him in a bonspiel. Actually, it wasn’t even a bonspiel, it was like kind of a qualifying event. Anyhow, so I’m there watching these bunch of 20 year old kids doing their thing, and the one kid was like, I’m like, is that, how old is that kid? And he’s like, he’s 21. I’m like, are you serious? The guy was built like a truck. Like he was huge. I was like, he looks like he’s like 25 maybe close to thir, like he’s just this mammoth kid.

So anyhow, um, he’s in the middle of the ice talking to one of the other members on his team who was at least a foot and a half shorter from him. Tiny, tiny little thing. And I was like, oh, hmm. I’m like, I have an idea, and my friend’s like, what? And I’m taking out my phone and I’m writing down these little notes and these things that are going in my mind, and I’m like, I have an idea. Just gimme a minute. And, and he is like, well, don’t use my kid’s name. And I’m like, I’ll change the name. I’m like, it’s just an idea.

So it literally comes from everywhere, like everywhere. I couldn’t even tell you where some of my book ideas came from right now. It’s just, that’s what I’m working on. And that’s what happened. Another one, another one was like, I might read an article in the news. Actually I did, that was one of the books. I, I read something in the news and I was like, oh, so terrible. What if? And then off you go and you just make an alternate story to go with that. So it’s like everywhere. That’s the best part of it I love. My husband thinks I’m crazy ’cause on my phone I have all of these documents, little notes of like things and ideas.

And we went to a boat show about a month or so ago, and I’m wandering around this show bored as all hell. And there’s like these guys in this little fishing area with all this camping gear and I was like, that’s a really cool setup. Huh? Wonder if, and I’m like, I get, I’m taking pictures of it and I’m writing notes and the guy’s like, oh, you’re interested in buying? I’m like, no, I might just put it in a book. Like, you know, so like it’s just, it’s everywhere. It’s everywhere.

And that’s the fun part to me. But then there’s too many ideas. I don’t even know how many ideas I have on the go right now, but that’s where I get some ideas from. It’s just being out and about or I meet somebody. I’ve met some random person and I’m like, I really like his eyes. Wow. Does he ever have nice eyes? You know, he’d make a good insert character here and then off you go. People don’t trust me now ’cause I do that, but yeah.

Lee: Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s part of the job.

R.M.: You do. You do. That’s right. I’m like, don’t worry, I won’t like identify you. I’m just gonna say, you know, blah.

Lee: Out of all the fun characters where you’ve gotten lots of ideas from in all of your books, have you had a favorite character or book that you’ve written so far?

R.M.: That is such an unfair question. Everybody hates that question. Um, yes, of course I do, but I don’t like to tell them that. Right? Because then I think that the others are jealous, which is so silly. I know. But, um, I do. Well my favorite book is a reader favorite and it’s Jake’s book, Take Shelter With Me. Because he was somebody that readers had been following since he was a teenager, basically, and asking is he gonna get a story? Is he gonna get a story? And he literally percolated and grew in my brain for a year before he finally materialized, and I knew who he was. And he is very close and he is my favorite. Well, he’s my favorite. And Matt’s is obviously, so that, that book is definitely my favorite book for that reason.

But they all have their different reasons for being a favorite, you know? I love The Perfect Pass because that was like my first MM book and it just poured outta me, and I loved those guys. Maybe the story wasn’t executed as best as it could be, but I was still getting my feet wet. But I absolutely loved that story and I loved those two. I could keep writing just them probably. But I don’t, because I don’t know. I just don’t, I just make them show up all over the place, which is what I love to do. Which is why they are still in the Sheltered Connection series because I just love these two. They have to keep coming around. They have to keep showing their face. So that’s how I keep them alive.

Lee: I love that you did that, that you have this spinoff series. So is that what made you want to spin off and do Sheltered Connections from your Nickel City Bandits was because you felt really drawn to those characters? Or was there something else that kind of spurred you wanting to connect a couple of series together?

R.M.: A little bit of both. So Jake was initially supposed to just be a throwaway character. He was just Austin’s little brother. And when I wrote that, and then people were like, we wanna know what happened to him. We wanna know his story. I’d already introduced the idea about an animal shelter, so that kind of got me thinking and I was like, you know what?

And then all these characters and things kept coming in. I was like, I can make this series. I’m like, I can keep these guys going in this series. Keep Jake, have new people, and away you go. And I’ve discovered I love doing that because even the new series is connected and like the new series is gonna go back to Austin and Logan eventually. Like there’s gonna be another connection, right? So there’s gonna be a whole lot of weaving, but unless you’ve read them all, you’re probably not gonna pick up on it. It was just an idea and it just kind of went, and I’m like, this, this is where Jake needs to go. Oh my, oh my God, Jake’s gonna do this and he is gonna do this, and then he is gonna do this. And then by the time he got his story, I was like, it’s done. Right? Like, but then you don’t wanna let go because you love all these characters that you create and you love this town. You’re like, I don’t, I don’t wanna like say goodbye. I just wanna say, see you later. And then, you know, then you, you do, you do spin off.

Lee: And that’s what keeps it engaging as the author too. Like we have to figure out ways to just make this so fun for us because each book take so much time and effort and if doing those little connections, even if it’s light and if readers don’t read everything and pick it up, like if it’s fun for us, that’s so important I think.

R.M.: It is, and, you know, um, where does the ideas come from? Going back to that. I was literally trying to fall asleep one night and I was trying to think of- So I just finished the first draft yesterday of book two in the Broken Horn. And I was, I know, right? Because that book was hard. So I was laying in bed and I’m like, what can I do? They needed this date and blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, so there’s this whole scene where they have a date at the fundraiser Jake organizes for the shelter and the previous thing. And I’m like, this is awesome. It’s probably my most favorite part of that book is when they’re there and there’s a couple little just off cameos of some, because they’re at the fundraiser. And I was like, oh, it just made my heart happy because I had all these guys around that, you know, I love. And I was like, this is so cute.

Lee: Aw.

R.M.: Yeah. So I like that. I really like that.

Lee: I do too. That’s really sweet.

R.M.: Although, you know it’s gonna be lost on people if they didn’t read it and know, but the people who did read it are gonna be like, oh my God.

Lee: Yeah.

R.M.: Like there they are, yeah.

Lee: With your Sheltered Connection series, which I love. I love the characters and the town and everything, and the buildup to the fundraiser and everything. They’re just such sweet and lovable characters, and they also had some complicated backstories or difficult circumstances to face, or things that could have gone really heavy and high angst, but you were able to balance those elements like the emotional depth, but keeping it lighter. How do you manage to do that as a creator?

R.M.: You know, I wish I had some kind of really profound answer to that, but I don’t really. Most of their backstories are based on people I know or things that I have read. They’re all based on something true. It’s a hurt/comfort series because I guess that’s one of my favorite things is hurt/comfort. And sometimes people don’t go down those roads of like, oh, whoa is me. And have that really shitty outcome that I guess leads you maybe into the high angst stuff because you know they’re getting suicidal and all that stuff.

And I was like, you know what? Life sucks sometimes, but my go-to is humor and that’s just, it just happens. It wasn’t any conscious effort on my, well actually, you know, I guess it was because I didn’t want it to go into these deep, heavy things. Like Travis’s story did because he’s me and that’s my journey in depression. But he still comes out happy. That’s always the goal. It’s like, yes, these people had shitty things happen to them, but it was just, you know, sometimes things don’t have to end badly. Like it can end well and it’s just what I did to make you attached to them and care and root and be like, oh my God. Like I, this has to be okay. And then, oh yeah, of course it’s okay here hahaha laugh because he just had an allergic reaction. Stuff like that. I wish I could tell you I had some deep, profound thing, but I just don’t.

Lee: But it works. It really works.

R.M.: It does. Maybe that’s part of the fact that I do do the improv on paper, but I will also actually, I will make a conscious note if things get. When everything starts to nose dive, like in Blaze’s story, there’s kind of a, ugh, it’s just cry and he starts going down. But it has to be said because part of who he is, and then like it’s, oh, you know, we’re gonna, you have to flip this around. You flip it around and here’s how you’re gonna do it. So that’s kind of, you have to have an emotional investment at to some point. Right?

Lee: Yeah.

R.M.: But, um, yeah, I just, no magic formula. I guess I’m just good at it.

Lee: Yes. Absolutely.

R.M.: Which if I gotta be good at something, I’ll take it. Right?

Lee: Yes. Own it.

R.M.: Well, yeah, I’m not good at that. I’m not good at that at all. But yes, that’s what I told my friend I was telling him about today and I’m like, oh my God, this question she’s asking me, I’m like, I dunno what to say. And he was like, just, just tell it. Just say what you just said. I’m like, really? They wanna know about you? I’m like, okay, well here we go.

Lee: You’re doing great so far. I love it.

R.M.: Meanwhile, I’m like shaking and like, oh my God, I sound like an idiot.

Lee: I think everyone worries about that. Imposter syndrome is so high in our industry.

R.M.: It’s a daily thing. It is really a daily thing. It’s funny that there’s not more mental health rep in books by authors, because I think we all struggle with something on that on a daily basis. Whether you’re looking at your page reads for the day, or you just happen to see a crappy review or something. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that it’s like 600 other people love it. And say great things, right? You see that one bad thing and you’re like, oh my God, I suck. And it’s just such a human reaction, ugh. Like, how do you, you gotta, you gotta kick yourself in the ass and get out of it is what, what you have to do. And, and that is bloody hard.

We all talk about raising each other up and stuff, but there are some of those things where, you know, an imposter syndrome, when it strikes it really affects your writing. Like, you, you, you can’t get a hundred words out some days because you’re like, nobody wants to hear this. I, it is, it sucks. Like, you know, but you just. I’ll read a book when that happens. I’ll read a book that I love to be like, okay, I can do this, I can do, I can do this. They wrote a good story. I’m gonna write a good story and then, you know, pull yourself up that way. But.

Lee: Yeah.

R.M.: I wish we didn’t have to do that because, you know, when you write a book that’s freaking achievement. Like it doesn’t, not everybody can do that.

Lee: Damn right.

R.M.: We, we need to celebrate it. Whether you’re an orange banner or number one, or you’re like number 1 million in the Kindle store. Like you wrote a freaking book from beginning to end, edited it, got a cover, put it up there on Amazon and said, hey, everybody read what I made.

That’s, that’s amazing. My very first book was an MF book and is totally done really crappy, but it was a story that I loved and I didn’t know what I was doing and I fumbled my way through it. And when I pressed publish, and I’d already told everybody I wrote this book, I was like, oh my God. It’s like a switch. You go from being so freaking excited that you wrote this book to what if everybody hates it? Right? Like it’s just ugh, and it doesn’t get- Well for me, it gets a little easier, but you go through it every single time.

Lee: Yep.

R.M.: We’re a strange breed.

Lee: We really are. We just keep coming back for it.

R.M.: Right? I know, right? Like, you’re just like, okay. I mean, and I’m stubborn, so I’m not gonna quit. I’m not gonna give up. I’m just gonna be like, okay, I’ll just do better on the next one. Okay, I’m gonna do this on the next one. And you just keep going because if you wanna be an author and you wanna write, that’s what you have to do. It’s hard. It is hard.

Lee: That’s a great perspective.

Well, one of your recent releases is a paranormal romance in the Haunted Love shared world that was with a number of other authors. I think it was 10 books overall, somewhere around there, right?

R.M.: I think there was 10, yeah.

Lee: Okay. And your book, Baking with a Ghost had a ghost as one of the main characters, which I love. Have you always been interested in ghostly things or paranormal things? Or is that something that you just, you got an idea for and kind of dug into for this book?

R.M.: Ghosts always fascinate me. Ghost stories. Like, I’m like, that’s haunted. Why, what happened? But I’ve read hardly any paranormal romance. That’s a new thing to me. I didn’t even know it existed until I started getting into actually indie romance. I didn’t even know it was a thing. So I’ve read, I’ve read two paranormals, I think. One was shifter and one was like a witch or something. Uh, and I liked both of them, but I was like, okay, whatever.

And the ghost thing just kind of came on. I actually, I just finished writing Jake’s book and I literally wasn’t starting anything. I had just finished it. Somebody had dropped out and it was like a last minute, hey, would you wanna write a ghost book? And I was like, I don’t know, would I, and what’s, what’s the deal? And you know, it, it wasn’t like a shared world, so that made it easier. You just had to have a ghost and a human, you know, you had to follow a title like this and they had to have a happily ever after. And I was like, okay, cool. I’ll try it.

And I’m like, give me a day ’cause I need to think of an idea. And I was like, oh my God. Like, what can you do with the ghost? And so it was really, it was just really weird because to me a ghost is, you can’t see it. Right? It doesn’t talk to you. It’s invisible. So that was in my head and it was great to read, um, I didn’t read everybody’s stories, but I read some of them and how they portrayed a ghost was so different. Everybody had such different ideas. I’m like, okay. So that book was actually like a huge experiment for me ’cause you know, I wrote paranormal. I wrote in first person, uh, first person singular, which I had never done and I won’t do it again ’cause I didn’t like it.

So it was a whole lot of experiment for me. And, um, it was fun. Like, it was just a way to try something different and you had these other authors to support you and, you know, kind of be like, I’d be like, well, I don’t like, I don’t know, like, what are you guys doing? Yeah. What happens to your ghost? Oh, my guy does this. And I’m like, oh. I’m like, okay, well, mine doesn’t. I guess that’s all right.

And I thought baking would be kind of cool. Well, actually I originally wanted gardening, but somebody already had that one. I’m like, oh, I have an idea. Oh crap, somebody’s already doing that. And I’m like, okay, what can be a cute, fun thing that still, which it was important to me to make sure it was still like R.M.’s brand, right? Like it still had to be cute and fluffy and low angst and everything. And I was like, how do I get a ghost low angst and still be like funny and, and all this stuff? And I’m like, baking is really cute. And somebody was like, you already wrote a baking book. I’m like, no, but.

Lee: That’s okay.

R.M.: So yeah. And I flew through it because um, a friend of mine is, uh, what the heck? Pagan, pagan, pre I, he does something like that. And I’m like, you know, how do people talk to ghosts? I’m like, is this, you know, I watched this show. Do they do seances? Do they do this? Do they do that? And we had this conversation, I’m like, okay, I have an idea. Let’s do it. And then I just wrote it. So it was a lot of fun though. Like it’s a lot of fun. I do like paranormal. I will do it again.

Lee: I love that. That’s great.

R.M.: I wouldn’t be a full-time paranormal person though, I don’t think. But I love being able to just kind of have a book that’s a little bit of ways from your normal every year to just kind of like test the waters. To just do something fun and different. ‘Cause I am working on another one right now that’s just something fun and different. And it’s great because when you are in these other stories that you’re stuck, you have this something complete and different and I think it does help free the mind a little bit. Right?

Lee: Absolutely.

R.M.: But it, it was, it was a good experience.

Lee: Good. And you mentioned, since this is new to you writing paranormal and earlier you mentioned the ranch setting in your newest series is new. It seems like you like branching out and trying new things. And this new series, so Colby and the Broken Horn Ranch series, I would just love to know what made you want to go into a ranch set series and how did this book and series idea come about?

R.M.: That’s actually a funny story. So I live in rural Ontario and there’s literally a giant cornfield across from my house and there’s cute guys on tractors driving by all the time. And last summer, I got a flat tire just outside my house. I had literally drove like two minutes down and I pulled over and I’m like, oh crap. It was like 35 degrees celsius. This is hot as hell. And I’m like, I was going golfing. And I’m like, well, I guess I’m not making my lesson. And I was all pissy.

So I called CAA, even though my house is literally like right there, but I had to get my tire changed. I’m like, I’m not gonna change my tire. It’ll probably take me three hours because I’m just, I’m that kind of girl. I know how, but I don’t wanna do myself. Right? I’m like, I pay roadside assistance. So anyhow, while I was waiting, um, uh, fellow went by on his tractor and he was like the whole shirtless, sweaty, suntan guy. And, and I was like, oh, he’s kind of cute.

And I didn’t notice, he actually stopped a little ways up the road and came back to offer help to me. And as he was walking back, like I’m on my phone, like, ah, you know, just doing this stuff on my phone. And I look at, he’s almost at my car. He puts his shirt on and he is like all smiley and shy. And I’m like, oh my God.

And, and you know, he was just the sweetest thing. I don’t, I don’t know, he was just, I don’t know, maybe 25 tops. Definitely too young for me. But he was so nice and he was on this tractor and he just, he had all the little shy boy thing, you know, like aw shucks and just a country boy. And I’m like, I just got an idea, which I did. I had an idea.

I literally came home as soon as my tire was on, opened my laptop and started writing the free prequel to Broken Horn Ranch called, Rescued by a Rancher. And that’s how the two guys meet is he gets a flat tire on the side of the road and the handsome man who owns the Broken Horn Ranch stops to help him. It ends a lot differently. Right?

Uh, but that’s where it came from. It was just, you know, I was the grump and I was pissy ’cause my tire was off. And this guy was all like, sunshiney cute and offering help and oh, you know, will you save money if you cancel your order? Then I’ll help you. And I’m like, oh, aren’t you just so sweet? I’m like, no, it’s okay. The call is in. Like, thank you.

And that’s where the Broken Horn Ranch came from. The whole thing. Uh, just a chance thing. The prequel’s only, I think it’s only like 15,000 words, so it’s relatively short. But I probably could have kept going and made that into a whole book ’cause it’s, Dan owns the ranch, so it’s Dan meeting Martin. And then I was like, and then there’s gonna be a ranch and then this guy’s gonna do this and this guy’s gonna, and like, it just like, and I had this whole three book series planned and everything in like couple hours. So.

Lee: Wow. That’s incredible.

R.M.: I need those to happen more though, right? That’s where inspiration comes from. It’s not hard to be inspired when they outside all the time. And some of the things in the ranch are people I’ve met when I lived in Alberta, which is a big ranching province. So I bring that in too, but that’s where it came from. And it was just the funniest story. And I was just like, I have to write a book about this.

Lee: Well, it sounds like it worked out great. And you mentioned you finished the second book in the series, the draft of it yesterday, right?

R.M.: I did. Uh, yeah. You know, and it was funny because like this year I was like, okay, I’m gonna write ahead more. I’m gonna plan things more ’cause I want that book to be done and out and I’m gonna be like halfway through the next one. So there’s not as big of a gap. Oh, I had it all planned out. Right? Biggest plans and everything.

And then like, life just went sideways and it didn’t happen. Things happened. I wasn’t writing and it just got bunged up. It was a real fight for the last month to finish it. So I finished it and. Yeah. So, but, but you know, it’s a, it’s a yay because it’s done. But, we’ll, hopefully it’s not that bad when I read through it. ‘Cause you know how you read through your first draft and I’m a really messy first drafter. Like, I don’t even correct my spelling mistakes as I go. I just boo, I just vomit it all out and then I fix it later. Later. So sometimes you can’t make out a sentence ’cause you’re like, what is that word? What, what was today?

But yeah, hopefully when I read it back, I’ll still be as happy with it. But I know I was happy with it up to the part before it got difficult. So I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that’s what good beta readers are for. ‘Cause they’re like, oh, you know, this isn’t- Which is funny because when I wrote the ghost book and everything was all brand new, and I put it out to my beta readers and all three of them were like, hmm. You know, and I’m like, what is, I’m like, I think it’s missing something. What is it missing? You know, when they all made the same comment, I’m like, okay. I have something to work with now, so I appreciate that ’cause you know, don’t tell me it’s great when it’s not really great.

But, we didn’t have that problem with any other book, just the ghost. So I’m fingers crossed Blaze will be just as good and we’re not gonna have a, you know, uh mm Beth there’s just me. What, what did I miss? But it, it’s a relief. It’s a relief cuz then we’ll get it edited and we’ll, we’ll go back to book three that I had also started.

That’s another thing I do. I’m like a multitasker. I don’t know if I’m undiagnosed ADHD. I have no idea. But sometimes I feel like it ’cause I will literally be writing a story, get an idea for the other story, flip out of that, go write something in the other story and then go, oh, I have another idea. Then make like another note somewhere else then come back. It’s just, oh yeah, I have so many. Oh my God. It’s just crazy.

Like, but if you don’t write it down, you forget it. So yeah. So here’s hoping whatever I wrote down makes sense on the next book, because I did that a lot. I’m like, oh, you know what? He should do this here. Oh, but if this guy does this here, what if, okay, I’m gonna here. Oh, and I have an idea for this scene. And it’s like 12 sentences of dialogue. And I’ll be like, yeah, yeah, he’d say that. Just put it aside. I know. Weird.

Lee: It works. I, I do a lot of the same stuff. Yep, for sure.

R.M.: Well that’s like validating. I don’t feel so bad now.

Lee: I, I juggle, I write a few, like two to three books at the same time. I go back and forth and then my brain is thinking of the future ones in this series. And so then in the middle of drafting the current book I’m working on, I’ll write something and then it triggers like, oh, I could do this in book four and book five, and then I, you know, have to go write it down and then I can spend a few minutes with that. And then I come back to this one. Yeah, same.

R.M.: Okay, good.

Lee: Yeah.

R.M.: It’s, it’s maddening, but you know, I envy those who can be so 1, 2, 3. I’m like, I don’t know how you can do that. I’m like, I can’t do that. Hmm. Oh, well, which is.

Lee: It works.

R.M.: It does, it works for me anyway, and I.

Lee: Well, in addition to Blaze coming out soon, you also have your first audiobook coming out, which is super exciting. What’s that process been like for you to create? Because I think a lot of readers don’t understand what all goes in to creating an audiobook.

R.M.: You know, uh, that makes you know me too because I, I kind of, um. It was very overwhelming and I thought it would always be out of my reach, let’s put it that way. But there are options through ACX and, you know, and I’m not gonna be able to have it on other platforms and all that stuff, but it’s a good way to get into it to see if it’s something you still wanna continue. I’m not an audiobook person, so I never thought of it, but then I’m like noticing all these people talking about audiobooks and like all these audiobook groups and I’m like, okay, so it is a big thing. And I thought, okay, I’m gonna have to look into this.

So, you know, I figured out how to throw up an audition call because I didn’t wanna just, I couldn’t hire the big names that are out there. I was like, I’m gonna have to get somebody smaller to start this. So I did an audition call and I think I got eight auditions, which I was like, oh, this is amazing. Like, ’cause who wants to narrate this book by little old me, right? And two of them, I loved. I absolutely loved two of them and it was really hard to decide.

So I picked a script and they read it and you know, you listened to their audition reading it. And what I think, well, me as a listener, I don’t want you reading my book. I want you acting my book. I want you bringing my book to life. Like if I wanted to read it, I’m pretty sure doesn’t Kindle have an option where it’ll read it to you? Yeah. I’m like, if I wanted a monotone voice reading my book out, I would just do that. And I’m like, no, I want somebody who’s gonna verbally illustrate the book.

So, the fellow I ended up picking, I actually sent him a second audition and he’s actually a standup comedian. He does that and he’s also an actor and he’s also taking classes on narration. So he’s very proactive and he wants to do this. And I will be his very first romance book.

Lee: Wow!

R.M.: Yes, so, which is, you know, I was researching the two that I was trying to choose between, and the one fellow has done a lot of romance books and he did have a nice voice, but he was just missing something that I wanted.

And so this guy is new, but I’m like, you know what? I’m new too, and we have to start somewhere. And I just adored his audition. It was just, I’m like, I love the characterization you’re putting to these guys. So then I made him an offer and he accepted it and then it was like, okay, game on.

I was so excited. I’m like, okay, here’s what the book is about. And I wrote him probably like this two page email. I’m like, and this character’s like this and he should talk like this and blah, blah, blah. I’m like, I gave him all these details and I thought, oh crap, he’s probably gonna think I’m a fucking nut job and he’s not gonna wanna work with me.

No. He said he loved it because as an actor, it gives him more, uh, background to like how I want people to sound and how they’ll act. And he puts little, like, instead of saying he cleared his throat he’s actually cleared his throat. Like he’s adding that. I don’t know if that’s common or not with audiobooks and I appreciated that he’s putting tone into these different characters. Because I described them like, um, Zane is in Colby and he was in the fourth book of Sheltered Connections. And he, I, he’s like Owen Wilson. Okay. He’s just goofy. And that’s why I told him, I said, I’m like, you’re gonna come across a little bit of this character. He doesn’t show up much in Colby, but he’s there. I’m like, think Owen Wilson. And he did. Oh my God. I just proofed that part the other day. I was like, this is so great.

So that’s a process though because maybe like your podcast set up, I don’t know, but you know, this is all something that he’s set up in his home. I’m a thinking, I didn’t really ask him about that, that he does. Plus he masters all the files and he puts it together and it has to be in a certain format and blah, blah blah. And you have to go over and listen to that. Oh, you said they instead of them like, can you fix that? And, oh, there’s this, there’s that and, and you know, we, we go through, I don’t know if other narrators do it, but he sends them to me a chapter at a time so I can listen to a chapter at a time, which is great ’cause they’re like 15, 20 minute chapters and you know, when you’re trying to do all the other stuff.

So then I send it back to him and then he corrects it and all that stuff. So we’re getting really close to the end and I’m very excited ’cause I think he will do well. Like, yes, I’m his first and no, it’s not perfect, but I like it. And he’s just, he has a lot of personality in his voice and I really like him, so I’m excited for it.

We’re hoping, I think early May. Just depends, right? ‘Cause once you press the submit and I’ll have to do the final read through, but we’re hoping early May it’ll be out there and people can listen to Colby on audio.

Lee: Oh, that’s so wonderful.

R.M.: It’s crazy. It’s, it’s, yeah. I, I don’t know. I never thought I’d have an audio book, but here we are.

Lee: Yay. That’s really great. I like the idea of just trying to make things as accessible as possible and trying different formats, and I love that.

R.M.: Well, and, and you know, that’s, I’m guilty of not thinking about that. I just take that for granted. I’m like, there’s a lot of people with vision problems who still like books and I was thinking of looking into how to do the big print or whatever it’s called, but then I thought, wouldn’t audio be easier?

So we’re going this route for now. Maybe we’ll go the other one too. But, uh, for now we’ll do this. And I, I just hope it’s a good start for him and that he just keeps getting better and he gets a good career out of it. ‘Cause I do think he’ll do a good job. I can see him doing well.

Lee: Good. Oh, I’m so happy for you. This is great.

R.M.: I think so. And I know people want it, so I’m like, hey, there’s a dozen people who are gonna listen to it right away. Ah. Cause I don’t, yeah. And actually, and promoting audio is a little bit harder than promoting e-books because you have your e-book, right? You can give away copies, but it’s not like that with your audio.

You only get codes and you can only do so many. So it’s hard to put it out there. Unless there’s a way, I don’t know yet. There’s rules to give away codes and that kind of sucks ’cause I would give away more. But it is what it is.

Lee: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a good thing to try.

R.M.: It’s out there.

Lee: Yeah.

R.M.: That’s right. Exactly. I think he’s taking a bigger risk on me though, because at least I make money selling the book already. Like I’ve already wrote it. It’s already out, like, you know, well what if nobody wants the audio? You know? Like he’s not gonna get his name out there and all that kinda stuff. So, yeah. We’ll, uh, we’ll do our best anyway.

Lee: Nice. One of the things you shared with me when we were connecting before the interview is that you have had a wide range of jobs that you know, in talking about where you get your inspiration. So can you tell us about your wide range of jobs in your employment history and how you’ve chosen to weave those into your stories and characters?

R.M.: Well, I think the animal one is obvious. I was a vet assistant for at least 10 years and a lot of my animal stories, they come from patients or my coworkers pets or whatnot. And even the setup of Micah’s grooming shop and the vet clinic is based on a place I used to work. So it’s, I, there’s just so many the doctors, any anybody animal related in any of my books is based on somebody I have had interactions with or something that’s happened. So that’s quite helpful when you’re doing animal things.

I know business stuff ’cause I used to be a financial advisor. So when you’re talking about markets and all that kinda thing, which I have in a couple of books, like it’s just. It’s information that I don’t have to go look up, which to me, I hate doing research, so if I already know it, you save that time, right? Like I totally hate it when I come up with an idea and I’m like, oh, I’m gonna have to research that. Cause I’m not sure what’s the proper term. How should I say that? I hate that. I just hate it ’cause I’ll put like a little note in there, like I’ll look up what this is called. Like I’ll actually put it in brackets, but I’d rather just have it from the top of my head ’cause I don’t like doing research. So I do that.

What else have I done? I was a dental assistant, but I don’t think I’ve wrote about dentists. Nobody likes dentists, so I’ll probably leave that out. I am also have a degree in psychology, so that comes in handy no matter what I write. Yeah. And that kind of lends itself quite well to some difficult things. I think if you live a different life, like if you live, uh, a very varied existence, you can draw ideas for stories easily.

And I used to be a small business owner and I owned a craft store and there was actually this gay couple that used to come in about twice a year from Montreal and had a really thick French accent. And they were so fun to talk to because, um, I wish I had saved his contact info because we did chat on Facebook a few times. He was such an amazing artist. And he would get excited because I carried this brand of paint that nobody else did and it was hard to find. That’s why he stopped at my store all the time.

So we’d have this stilted conversation in broken French and English and he was just lovely. And he actually is in my idea bank floating off, and he may come into something someday. But it’s just stuff like that you can get an idea from, because I’ve done, I’ve done all this stuff, you know. I met all these people. I met all these interesting characters that could be in a book.

So it’s kind of fun, you know, some of them aren’t nice, but I leave the not nice people out, but ones that you remember, you can use that. So yeah, I’m, uh, what I like to say, you know, I’m jack of all trades, master of none. So it’s like, my friends like, well, you’re an author. Like, isn’t that like your ultimate thing? And I’m like, it was never on my radar. Mind you, none of the stuff I did was ever on my radar. I just fell into it. But, um, I was like, well, I don’t know. I do like it. So who knows? Maybe this is it and we’ll stay here and we won’t go off.

When you work for yourself it is very hard to go back to working for somebody else after is so hard. Which made the decision for me to actually channel more time into writing was because I had to close my store when Covid happened. And that sucked a lot because, you know, you’ve run this business for five years and you’ve met these people and you have all these connections and you absolutely love what you do. And now you have to quit and you’re like, okay.

And at the time I had already started fiddling around with writing and I just hadn’t really, I hadn’t devoted the time to it. It was like, oh, you open it, you do a little bit here. You do a lot, like a lot of authors do because they do work full-time jobs and they do do it on the side. And I was just kind of at that point. And then it just kind of happened and it was like, well, what do I do with my days now? What do I do? And I’m like, okay, well maybe I’ll try this. Maybe this is my, maybe this is the universe saying now is the time to give yourself your time and write these stories that you’ve been thinking about.

This is how weird I am as a kid. Totally random. Um, I used to go fishing with my dad a lot, and every time we’d get this fish out, I would make up a story about the fish. And he, yeah, like I would just be like, I wonder if his friends are missing him. And my dad’s like, oh, like, what’s wrong with you? And I would just randomly come up with names and his little school family and everything and my dad just looked at me and be like, oh my gosh. Like, you’re just wacko. And then I’d be like, okay, bye. I’d let it go.

And it was just like, I don’t know, like those kinds of stories, not with fish, but with people, they just, they just pop out. They just do like, they’re just, they’re just always there. And um, I’m just odd that way. Sometimes they make it to paper, sometimes they don’t. Even, my husband looks at me like that. He’s like, what? I’m like, yeah. Don’t you ever wonder where that chipmunk came from? Like, he probably has a family. Maybe it’s girl. I don’t know. Is it a boy? Is it a girl? I, do you ever wonder that? No. Like, just me. Okay. Nevermind. Carry on.

Lee: I think it’s the high empathy, ’cause I do the same thing. Like if there’s like a spider in my path, I’m like, I can’t kill you because you’ve got friends and family. Like I, who am I to make that decision? All in my head about it. Same.

R.M.: Bugs, I can look over, but if it’s a fuzzy animal, I could probably spin a story outta it. But yeah, it is, I’m, I’m just bizarre that way, I think. But it does help in the long run, let tell you.

Lee: Well, in addition to naming fish, what can people expect from an R.M. Neill story?

R.M.: Other than random oddness, uh, I, I like, well, how I brand myself is I will make you smile, I’ll make you laugh, and I will make you swoon. And those are three things, no matter what the story is, that’s gonna happen to you. If I’m writing about a ghost or if I’m writing about some hockey guy, or if I’m writing about a small town coffee shop owner, those are gonna happen. So, I’m all about the swoon. I love the swoon and sometimes it gets cheesy, but you know what though? I think deep down we just want that somebody to give us that, you know, the pink flamingos in the yard over the top celebration. The Love Actually proposal on the ice in front of thousands of people.

Even if you are that shy person and you don’t like the attention, I think those over the top kind of like ridiculous moments we all like to a degree. Aww, like that’s what I like. You have to say that at least once or twice in my books. That’s my goal and that’s what you’d expect from me. And animals apparently. I did poll my reader group. I said, what do you expect from a story from me? And almost everybody was like cute animals. I’m like, okay, all right. Uh, not wrong, but I’ll try to make cute animals in every story.

Lee: It’s a reader expectation now.

R.M.: It is, it is. It’s not a bad thing. And you know, they did kind of say the same thing. So I was like, okay, well I guess I’m doing a pretty good job sticking to that, that you’ve all said similar things and that you’re getting that across. Yeah. Which is awesome.

Lee: That’s validating. Yeah.

R.M.: It is. So I like that.

Lee: Nice. Where can readers learn more about you and your stories and get in touch?

R.M.: Well, um, I’m always in my Facebook group, so that’s where we do a lot of banter. We share a lot of dad jokes and other jokes, and we just generally, I, I do most of my time there, but, um, to interact, if you just wanna know me, that’s the best place to be. Sometimes I’m on TikTok, not as much as I used to be, but, uh, if you wanna see how bizarre I can be, just go watch my old TikToks cause that was fun. But then I just kind of got away with them.

But, um, Facebook group, email. I share stories in my email, my newsletter, so with pictures and things like that too. So I’ll let people know what’s going on in my life, in my newsletter a lot so they don’t unsubscribe. So I guess they like it. But that’s, that’s where you can learn about me. I mean, if you, if you just don’t wanna know about me and you just wanna know about my books, so then you can follow me on Amazon or BookBub I’m there too. I’m everywhere.

I try to be on Instagram, but oh my God, I’m just, I suck at social media. I’m terrible at it. Like, absolutely terrible at it. There’s not enough hours in the day, so that’s why I’m like, I always devote time to my Facebook group because, you know, they’re my peeps. So that’s where the energy goes and everything else just kinda gets scattered around. Yeah.

Lee: Thank you. I’ll make sure those links are in the show notes so that anyone listening can find them.

R.M.: I’m really not that, that’s strange. A little bit. A little bit, but I’m a, I’m actually quite nice. Oh, and you know, I’m gonna, I think you’re in the group. I’m gonna do a mention that, you know, if, if any listener does wanna know where to find some up and coming MM authors and even other authors is to go to the Small but Mighty MM Author Romance Group, which is created by my friend Janice. And I help her admin and it’s grown to over 3000 people, which is insane ’cause she was like, oh, I’m not even gonna get 200 people. I said, oh, you watch. I’m like, this is gra And, and that’s where I actually find a lot of new authors.

So, because, you know, that’s what we’re there for, to support new authors. So if you’re listening to this and you’re aspiring to be an author, come to that group. You’ll get some support, you meet some wonderful people and, uh, we’ll always boost you up there. So I’m there, but I’m not there as much as I was. I need to get back there. But we’ll always try to get your name out there and do what we can for you. So I hang out there just not as much.

Lee: Perfect. Thank you so much for being here. It’s been so great to talk to you.

R.M.: This was fun. I hope I, I didn’t ramble on like an idiot. But, uh.

Lee: Not at all.

R.M.: I probably write a lot like I talk, just total randomness. Maybe not total randomness, but yes, the ideas just kind of go off in all different directions.

Lee: I love it. Thank you so much.

R.M.: Thanks for having me.

Lee: I had so much fun chatting with R.M. today.

Thanks for joining me in the Low Angst Library. I hope you enjoyed this interview.

Is there an author of low angst queer romance that you’d like me to interview? There’s a link in the show notes and on with a guest suggestion form.

And if you’re an author writing low angst queer romance, there’s a self-suggestion form in the show notes and on the website as well.

A major goal of mine with this podcast is to have guests writing main characters in romance novels that represent identities all over the queer spectrum. So your suggestions will really help me with that.

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