Tag Archives: #introducing

Introducing indie author BH Lynn

This week I’d like to introduce you to fellow indie author BH Lynn. Our paths crossed through a mutual love of the same music (Yes, it involves Alter Bridge and Myles …stop rolling your eyes! LOL) and I’m delighted that she spared me some time recently to answer a few questions about both her debut Scars and Souvenirs and her new novel As It Was. So, without further ado…

Tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’m an accountant by day, and a wife and dog mom by night when I’m not trying to do this crazy thing called writing (Or watching Hockey!). I’ve always had a creative drive. I played multiple instruments and toyed around with writing poetry as a teen, but I never thought I had what it took to fully develop characters. I actually didn’t pick up reading and seriously writing until about three years ago. After graduating from college, I was looking for a new challenge, and I truly enjoy the way writing is something I can always be working at.

Your latest book As It Was is due to be released on 15th April 2022. It’s the second book in the series charting Aiden and Jason’s story. What can you tell me about it without giving away any spoilers?

As It Was picks up about 7 months after Scars and Souvenirs ends and is from Jason’s POV this time. It’s a story about how as a relationship grows, you have to learn to grow with it. Like many of us, Jason has his own scars, and though they aren’t as visible as Aiden’s, they are just as real. His own past is becoming harder to ignore, and if he doesn’t get a handle on how to address the way he views his own vulnerabilities, it’s going to cost him the future that he and Aiden are fighting for. 

Which of your characters do you like most? Why?

While I deeply love all my characters (even the one’s no one else has met) Aiden is my baby. He came to me in a time when I most needed him, and though I never set out to make him a version of myself, he helped me work through my own insecurities as he did so through book one. He’s as real to me as any friend I’ve ever had, and that might make me sound crazy, but I’ve been called worse.

What drew you to write MM romance?

MM romance offers me a world where I can relate to characters, love their love, root for them, and as a woman, not feel the urge to compare myself to them like in a traditional romance. Traditional romances I’d read portrayed women as in need of a relationship to be seen or made them into hypersexual beings which I am not. I don’t enjoy reading a book and thinking “Why aren’t I like that? Is something wrong with me?”. Also, MM romance offers a great power balance and unique issues for relationships to overcome. It just felt like home from the beginning.

Is there one particular person who inspired you to write?

I was once close friends with another Author who turned me onto the genre by asking me to BETA/ARC read for them. We unfortunately had a falling out, but they planted the seed. It was after I read the Snow and Winter Mysteries by C.S. Poe that I got the urge to write in first person, and that totally changed the game for me! I credit her with helping me find my voice.

A cruel question, but what’s your favourite book/who’s your favourite author?

This probably should be harder than it is for me to answer, but The Mystery of the Curiosities by C.S. Poe is my favourite book. Sebastian Snow is that lightning in the bottle character for me, and the vulnerabilities shown by him, and his hero love interest Calvin were just so darn genuine in that book. Even the hero needs help sometimes. I felt so seen by that series, and the mysteries are absolutely bizarre and a lot of fun to read. C.S. Poe is my favourite author, but Gregory Ashe and Josh Lanyon are right up there.

Tell me a bit about your approach to your writing. Are you a meticulous planner or do you tend towards letting your characters go with the flow?

No matter how many times I say it’s the opposite way around, my characters are the boss and I’m just along for the ride. I do very little outlining or planning. I go in with points A, H, Q, and Z. They fill in the rest.

I love to write outdoors. Where’s your favourite place to write?

I also love to write outside, but I do some of my best work at Starbucks. No idea why. I think it’s because it’s the only place where I’m not being interrupted with curiosity about what my husband is doing, or the urge to hug my really cute dog who also wants to go outside 100 times a day.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

O gosh. Pretty much anything the great Gregory Ashe has said to me. Especially when it comes to pacing and not trying to fit a chapter into a certain length etc. Just let the scenes be the scenes and the sequels be the sequels, no matter how many or how little words it takes to convey it. I got really obsessive about that at one time and since I’ve abandoned that, I’ve found my execution of my objectives has been much easier.

What advice would you give to other aspiring authors out there?

Do it for you. At the end of the day, readers, purchases, reviews…none of those things are promised. Write what you want for you, and if it happens to bring joy to someone else, that’s a nice big cherry on top.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

By reading. If I’m stuck on something, I go read something that is far from what I’m writing as a way of resetting my brain. So if I’m writing hurt comfort, I’ll go read a mystery etc. Also, I’ll sit down and write my characters doing something totally mundane and not related to the story. Sometimes I learn something about them that unclogs the mental jam.

So, what’s next creatively? Are you working on anything else just now?

While Aiden and Jason have a third story on deck, I plan to switch up and release the first story in my LEO/whodunnit series next. I think it’ll be nice to get back to two other characters I love who have wildly different stories. I don’t want to burn myself or anyone else out on one set of characters. I think it’ll light an even bigger fire in me when I’m ready to return to story three.

Then for a bit of fun:

Favourite food A big fat juicy cheeseburger!

Favourite drink Caramel Macchiato’s

Favourite band Alter Bridge. Their music saved me more times than I can count.

Favourite holiday destination Chicago, Illinois. I just love that city!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? Teleporting, because I hate driving! Also, I would love to travel but also don’t really enjoy flying. I just want to click my fingers and be somewhere else. That’d be ideal for me.

Scars and Souvenirs review

BH Lynn’s debut novel is the first MM romance to cross my radar. Within a few pages I was captivated by Aiden’s vulnerability. When Jason was introduced, my protective “momma” mode kicked in.  Would he be good enough for Aiden? No spoilers from me so if you want to know the answer to that you’ll need to read Scars And Souvenirs for yourself. Both central characters are strong characters that are each other’s Yin and Yang. The chemistry just works here. I have a clear picture of Jason in my head. Aiden less so.

There’s a sensitively handled subtlety to this tale. It drew me in. I was quickly invested in this one and am already looking forward to reading book 2 As It Was when it is released next month.

Great debut novel.

As It Was

Jason: Three fourths. Seventy five percent. It was a passing grade in school, so why wouldn’t one accept such when it came to life?

After eight years in a disastrous relationship with a controlling drug addict named Ben, I’d resigned myself to being the type of person who just wasn’t meant to find love. I’d stepped up to the plate, swung my bat more times than any umpire would allow, then finally struck out. I had a great career, great friends and family, and over three years I’d hardly found myself missing all that comes with being in a relationship. That was until I met Aiden.

Aiden made me realize I’d been swallowing down that lie for so long that I’d almost convinced myself it was true.

But even the best relationships run into issues, and when my past comes back with a vengeance to threaten my future, I discover that there’s more damage left inside of me than I ever wanted to admit. As my instincts to protect Aiden from that part of my life go astray, and the missteps and pressures add up, I realize that I have to make a decision that will greatly impact our future:

Keep trying to hold my head above water and protect the persona of strength I’d fought for years to build.

 Or risk looking like the fraud I feel like I am sometimes and admit insecurities I’ve tried to bury before they drown me.

Can I find the strength to make the right choice in the face of the type of discomfort I’d sworn away after Ben? Can Aiden and I both fight our own fights and still fight for each other? Or will it all be too much, and life will return to as it was?

UK links:

Scars and Souvenirs : Aiden and Jason #1 eBook : Lynn, B.H. : Amazon.co.uk: Books

As It Was: Aiden and Jason Part Two eBook : Lynn, B.H.: Amazon.co.uk: Books

 Amazon.co.uk: B.H. Lynn: Books, Biography, Blogs, Audiobooks, Kindle

US/rest of the world links:

Scars and Souvenirs : Aiden and Jason #1 – Kindle edition by Lynn, B.H. . Romance Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

As It Was: Aiden and Jason Part Two – Kindle edition by Lynn, B.H.. Romance Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

 Amazon.com: B.H. Lynn: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

Huge thanks to BH Lynn for her time. Please check out her books on Amazon this holiday weekend. They go great with chocolate!

Introducing landscape artist Sharon McGill

This week I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and an incredible artist, Sharon McGill.

At the risk of embarrassing us both, I first met Sharon in P2 in primary school (I’ll spare our blushes and not mention what year that was) and without a word of a lie, had “hair envy” that lasted for years! As a little girl, Sharon had gorgeous long dark brown wavy hair. I always wanted to grow my own fine straight blonde hair until it was longer than hers. She inadvertently made that easy for me in high school- she went to hairdresser and got hers cut short! Mine on the other hand has never been short since.

Ok, nostalgia over and done with.

Life took us both in different directions after school, but our paths have criss-crossed over the years.

I caught up with Sharon recently and was lucky enough to be able to put a few questions to her. Here’s what she had to say.

Tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I have wanted to be an artist from the age of about 6! I used to draw for hours every night and couldn’t wait to get my homework done so I could get to drawing and doodling!

In secondary school, I spent all my lunch breaks and free periods in the art department. I was best friends with all the art teachers.

My mum was so committed to my goal that she posed naked for me when we could not afford life drawing lessons!

You’re quite a prolific artist. Do you have a favourite among your paintings and drawings?

Like songs, favourite paintings define a moment in your life. For me, my favourites tend to be paintings I created during particularly challenging times.

Is there one particular person who inspired you to paint/draw?

Number one would have to be my deceased art teacher, Gordon Wyllie. He himself was a successful commercial landscape artist and a huge supporter of my work!

However, I suffer from bipolar disorder and my psychologist, many years later insisted that I make time to paint (even though I was then a busy full time working mum and interior design lecturer) I was in my early thirties at the time and had not found time to paint since graduating from college due to my commitments to my husband, children and my lecturing job. He told me it was an essential part of my recovery journey and that he would not treat me if I did not bring him a recently completed painting next week. I brought him a painting of my daughter which is still my favourite painting to this day! It has also won awards in a variety of portrait competitions.

Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

I will only try and paint subjects that move me emotionally. My children and my environment. I am blessed to live in a most beautiful part of Scotland. Stormy seas, ominous skies, crashing waves and huge mountains remind me that I am only a tiny part of a much bigger and stronger force. This helps to ground my emotions as I walk through these landscapes every day. Anything that soothes my soul, inspires me to create and share it with others.

A cruel question, but what’s your favourite piece of art and why?

I have a favourite portrait and a favourite landscape. My favourite portrait is of my daughter. At the time she was 10 years old and just beginning to show early symptoms of mental health problems herself. She no longer lives with me and it hangs in my lounge as a testament to her courage in dealing with deep emotional problems yet remaining a strong young woman. I will never put this painting up for sale regardless of the financial offers.

My son also played a huge part in helping Molly and I through this difficult time. He was always a little bit worried and I captured his anxiety perfectly in this portrait. Another I would never sell.

My favourite landscape is my first large scale painting entitled ‘sky and sea’. I was scared to try such a big study of our elements but I found it so cathartic. It sold immediately too, proving that others found it as memorising and dramatic to view as I did to create. There is just something so soothing about the drama and force of our environment. Its why I have chosen to become a landscape artist. I really believe the world around us can heal the soul and help us conquer so many of our day to day, modern world problems!!

What’s your favourite medium to work with?

I work only in acrylic. Fast drying, easy to manipulate and can be changed as quickly as my emotions dictate!

Tell me a bit about your approach to your art. Are you a meticulous planner or do you tend towards letting yourself go with the flow?

I would never be described as a meticulous artist!!!!

I paint only when the mood takes me (fortunately that tends to be on a nightly basis!) and I paint with my hands, scrape with my nails, use my legs as palettes and have a tendency trash the room I’m working in!! The painting itself is the only thing that matters to me in that moment.

 Painting is not a meticulous task for me but is all about capturing the raw emotion of a person or place. I move around a lot as I paint, I walk around, I dance and I am completely emerged in the creative experience. Once I start, I cannot stop. This means I can be painting all day and all night! I also often go to bed on the sofa beside my painting, covered in paint!!

I love to write outdoors. Where’s your favourite place to paint?

On the floor, surrounded by photographs, listening to music, vaping and usually in my underwear!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

I never listen to advice. (Ask my mum or husband if you don’t believe me!!) I do my life at my own pace under my own rules, and these tend to change on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to other aspiring creative souls out there?

Follow your own spirit. Make time to do your own thing. Don’t compare yourselves to anyone else. EVER!!! The world could be doing with some individuality for God’s sake!!

Writers can suffer from writer’s block from time to time and find themselves staring a blank page for hours. Does this happen to artists and if so, how do you overcome it?

Only fear gives me an artistic block so I say to myself, ‘If tonight’s painting is shit, put it in the bin and nobody need know!’   That way, I have total freedom to fuck it up!

 However, it might be wonderful. If you don’t do a painting tonight, you will never know!!  And I have binned quite a few!!

So, what’s next creatively? Are you working on anything else just now?

I’ve been writing a book for about 10 years now!!! Keeping memoirs of my life as a mum, my mental health journey and that of my daughter’s. It is funny, tragic and down to earth but I’ve no idea how to put it into any semblance of order!!  Its on the back burner for now as my art has taken off in a way I could never have imagined!

Then for a bit of fun I asked:

Favourite food     Scallops

Favourite drink     Lots of white wine

Favourite band     Skerryvore (HOME – SKERRYVORE)

Favourite holiday destination     My back garden or the beach down the road. Haven’t been on holiday for years!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?  To live forever, cause I don’t want to miss what happens next!

Huge thanks to Sharon for taking the time to answer my questions. She’s a busy lady so it really is appreciated.

If you want to check out more of Sharon’s art, please drop by her Facebook page

Sharon mcgill art | Facebook