At the age of 50, I thought my career was probably going to hobble along at the same pace until I retired, but I decided to take a risk and return to the world of freelance writing after 12 years as a full-time journo on a magazine. I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough. But I haven’t wasted the free time that has suddenly become available while I wait for all those editors to whom I’ve pitched ideas to come back to me. Instead, I decided to take a stab at writing some erotic gay romance. Why not?
I wrote the first draft of The Black Mask in a few days, then spent a few more editing it. I finally bit the bullet and submitted my 10,000-word story to Pride Publishing. I didn’t expect anything other than another standard rejection. Instead I received an encouraging email from one of their editors, suggesting some changes that would make it more suitable. It was all good, constructive feedback, and I was more than happy to take it on board. It was just nice to have someone actually take the effort to respond!
The whole experience of working with the company has been positive. The editing process was great fun. Never before have I been asked to consider swapping the word ‘boner’ for ‘raging hard-on’. I also learned a lot about my own bad habits as a writer, something that I will take with me when I continue to write in other genres.
The upshot is that The Black Mask, a tale of love, lust and superheroes will be available to pre-order from the Pride Publishing website from 14 May and will go on general release on 25 June.
I have no idea how many copies the now 13,000-word story will sell, but writing it has certainly pepped up this middle-aged gay. You can buy your very own copy here.