I'd like to welcome Shannon Frost today to share her gambit of going from short to long works.
It’s such a pleasure to be here and to celebrate with everyone on this beautiful day of October 7th, because you see, it’s a very special date in my new novel, Conquest. It’s the birthday of main character, singer extraordinaire, Jesse Alexander! To be able to share this day makes it that much more wonderful. But I’m sure some are wondering, who is this Jesse Alexander? Well, as with many good stories, let me begin at the beginning.
I’ve been writing for years, ever since I penned down what I thought would be my greatest piece in the 4th grade, “Forest Fire, the Littlest Racehorse”. While it was a fun tale filled with action and excitement, I believe, and hope, I’ve surpassed that fine story, and let’s just say my work has taken on a more mature aspect. For the past few years, I’ve written mainly m/m erotic romance. I’ve had two m/f short pieces published, but I simply don’t hold the same passion when writing boy meets girl as I do when writing boy meets boy.
I first got rolling into writing m/m back in 2005 when I was still in college. Now, saying that makes me sound younger than I am, so I’ll admit it took me seven years to finish a BA. Hey, it wasn’t all my fault. I had to eat, so that meant working full-time. While I was in school studying writing, I was still trying to uncover my author’s voice and waiting for my muse to find me. Then an assignment came through for writing dialogue, which made me huff in agitation since it couldn’t be taken from any piece already worked on in class and I didn’t know what to write, but it was then my muse came to me. After pondering for less than five minutes on the assignment, Jesse Alexander burst into my mind larger than life. He had a compelling story to tell, and how could I deny him and his partner, Evan Arden, from taking the stage?
While I worked on Conquest, I came to the conclusion for the first time that I wanted to be a published writer, I wanted to share my work with readers with the hope of bringing entertainment and happiness. But to get a novel published with nothing in your portfolio can be a tricky task, so I started researching what I could do to get my name out there and present myself as a serious author. Some authors find themselves an agent, others may go to self-publishing. I took the route of writing short stories as a way of proving I could be marketable to a publisher.
I submitted my first short story in 2006 to the Cleis Press anthology, Best Gay Romance 2007 edition, and to my astonishment, it got accepted. The story, “No More Mirages”, was actually a spin-off of Conquest using one of the secondary characters, Brandon Alexander, Jesse’s older brother. Encouraged by this success, I wrote more short stories, though rather sporadically. I actually find it quite challenging to develop two or more characters and establish a relationship in 5,000 words or less. Though I certainly won’t complain, because I’ve had the good fortune of being featured in some wonderful anthologies, the most recent being Surfer Boys edited by Neil Plakcy and published by Cleis Press. I’ll also be in an upcoming anthology from Ravenous Romance titled Bedknobs and Beanstalks edited by E.M. Lynley, which is a collection of fairytales with a gay erotic spin.
So for me, I went from writing long works, to short, back to long, and now I do both. The short stories were a means to establish myself in the field with the hope of bringing recognition to Conquest, and it looks like it worked. Conquest will soon be joining the ranks of the many other outstanding titles at MLR Press, an honor beyond any dream I could’ve had for it. And so with that, Happy Birthday Jesse!
To keep up on the latest with my writing, please feel welcomed to visit me at www.sjfrost.com.
As the vocally gifted lead singer of his band, Conquest, Jesse Alexander refuses to let anything hold him back from achieving his dream of becoming one of the greatest performers to ever hit a stage. Evan Arden was thought of as a musical genius when at the height of his career, he vanished from the spotlight. Together, their relationship is just as intense as their music careers, but with the pressures of success and fame pushing down on them, Jesse must decide what's more important to him, his life of music, or his life with Evan.
Thanks again for joining us, Shannon and Happy Birthday, Jesse!