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Theo Fenraven
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message 1: by Dreamspinner (new)

Dreamspinner Press (dreamspinnerpress) | 2637 comments Mod
Theo Fenraven, author of the newly released Numbers, joins us today from 1-6 EST to answer questions, share excerpts, and more!


message 2: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Thanks for inviting me, Ariel.

Hello, everyone. This is my first time doing something like this, so be gentle. :)


message 3: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments Hello Theo! How are you today? :)


message 4: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments I'm good. :) I just realized I have to hit refresh or I won't see new comments. Heh.


message 5: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments Usually Goodreads also sends an email and notifications when a new comment appears, but sometimes they're delayed and sometimes they don't come at all. :(

So, my first question. Can you tell us a bit about Numbers and how did you get the inspiration for it? :)


message 6: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Maybe I should post an excerpt, so everyone knows which ebook we're talking about today.


message 7: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments I WAS sitting in the dressing room, doing my eyes, when JD (short for John David) Conroy walked in, looking much too cheerful considering we were due on stage in less than two hours for our first performance of the umpteenth revival of Grease. His thick, sun-streaked hair stuck up in unruly clumps where he’d been poking it with his fingers, and his blue eyes seemed to absorb light from the bank of bulbs bracketing the mirror as he approached.

Glancing around, he smiled wider. “Perfect timing. No one’s around.” He swung into the chair next to me and leaned forward. “Let’s get together tonight, Kel. Get drunk and fool around.”

I couldn’t help laughing. Since the first day of rehearsal, he’d been flirting with me outrageously but I kept holding him off. He was too damned attractive, too fucking sexy, and I had to put the play first. “There are one hundred reasons why we should never get together.”

“Yeah?” He looked interested. “You cared enough to make a list?”

And too smart by half. “I’ve got a list.”

“What’s number two?”

“A personal relationship could adversely affect our working relationship.”

"That’s number two, huh?”

I nodded and at that moment, Nomi Marcus entered the room. She played a bountiful, effervescent Sandy in our production. “Hi, guys. I threw up twice already. That usually means the play’s gonna be a hit.”

“You have your personal vomit-o-meter?” Giving me a sidelong humorous look, he said for my ears only, “Can’t wait to hear the others.” Standing, he goosed Nomi with a sharp laugh and headed for the coffee pot.

I watched him in the mirror, noting the quick, graceful way he moved, and felt my mouth go dry. I can’t, I just can’t let him get close to me. It would fuck up everything.

Nomi stepped up behind me, resting her hands on my shoulders. “More kohl around the eyes, babe.”

Nodding, I added more shadow, going to my happy place.


message 8: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Rose *waves* Hi Theo.


message 9: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments I have no idea where the inspiration for this came from. I sat down one day and wrote it in about an hour, believe it or not!

Numbers is about two actors appearing in a stage production of Grease. They find themselves unaccountably drawn toward one another, but Kellan doesn't want to take the chance of messing up the play by getting involved with JD. So he holds him off.


message 10: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments *waves back* Hi, AJ. Thanks for stopping by. :)


message 11: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments This may be the funniest thing I've ever written, and as you are probably aware, writing humor is difficult. I think I pulled it off though. This still makes me smile when I read it.


message 12: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments *just realized the reply button is there for a reason*

Bear with me. Just figuring all this out. :)


message 13: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments Awesome! I would never be able to write anything in an hour; I'm too much of a slowpoke.

And yes, I agree with you with the humor part. What's funny to the author may not necessarily be funny to the reader, and so it's pretty hard to gauge whether or not a joke would be effective.

Thank you for the excerpt! I can't wait to know all the other reasons as well. ;)


message 14: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Rose The list of reasons Kellan kept giving JD made me actually laugh out loud. How did you come up with all those reasons? (The paper airplane was genius, too.)


message 15: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice wrote: "Awesome! I would never be able to write anything in an hour; I'm too much of a slowpoke.

And yes, I agree with you with the humor part. What's funny to the author may not necessarily be funny to t..."


I'm usually a slowpoke writer myself. Only on select occasions have the words flowed like water and been worth anything in the end. :)


message 16: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments AJ wrote: "The list of reasons Kellan kept giving JD made me actually laugh out loud. How did you come up with all those reasons? (The paper airplane was genius, too.)"

No idea. Maybe I was on crack that day.

J/K! Sometimes, synapses will fire beautifully, and the words just fall into place. Other days, I could beat my head against a wall and not write anything inspired.


message 17: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice, are you a writer or do you stick with reading?


message 18: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments I'm a frustrated writer, actually. I'm not out of academia yet, though, so the idea of writing five-page papers is not lost on me. I stick with reading most of the time, but I think my greatest joy is actually in editing.


message 19: by Lou (new)

Lou Sylvre | 360 comments Hey, Theo, I can't stick around but I wanted to let you know that—even though I rarely buy short fiction—I went right away and got Numbers. Now I just have to squeeze in a little time to read it. I'm really looking forward to it! Very best to you for this release, and whatever you've got coming up!


message 20: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice wrote: "I'm a frustrated writer, actually. I'm not out of academia yet, though, so the idea of writing five-page papers is not lost on me. I stick with reading most of the time, but I think my greatest joy..."

Editing is not one of my favorite joys, but I'm pretty good at it. AJ and I actually beta for each other. It's funny how you can see things in someone else's manuscript and miss them entirely in your own.


message 21: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Lou wrote: "Hey, Theo, I can't stick around but I wanted to let you know that—even though I rarely buy short fiction—I went right away and got Numbers. Now I just have to squeeze in a little time to read it. I..."

Aw, thanks! That's great! I think you will enjoy it, I really do. It's definitely one of my favorites. Thanks for stopping by!


message 22: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments I like being able to help out other people improve their product. As for me revising my own stuff? Heh, it's a good day if I manage to edit about a page of my paper. Sometimes, also, you get a nagging feeling that something is wrong, but can't manage to pinpoint them. Usually that's how it is for me.


message 23: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments I'm giving away two copies of Numbers today, your choice of format, and all you have to do is answer a trivia question. I'll pull one person's name from everyone that gets it right, and send it to them. Just email me: fenravenxx@gmail.com (remove the XXs first!). Remember to include your choice of format!

#1. What major league baseball team was forced to endure a 20-day road trip in 1996

My WIP revolves around major league baseball, so I kind of have it on my brain lately. :)


message 24: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice wrote: "I like being able to help out other people improve their product. As for me revising my own stuff? Heh, it's a good day if I manage to edit about a page of my paper. Sometimes, also, you get a nagg..."

I usually know what's wrong right off the bat, whether it's my work or someone else's. I miss the little things, like repetitive use of a favorite word ('just' is one I constantly nag myself about) or losing track of the physical action and leaving something out. Re-reading helps but doesn't always catch it.

It really is important to have other eyes look at what you write. They can be far more objective than the writer about what they see.


message 25: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments Yes, finding those are tricky, too! I absolutely hate reading over my work once it's done, because I feel like it's going to remind me how bad my paper is, but usually I force myself to do it just so I can find mistakes. A few friends of mine also said that reading out loud helps because that way, you can see which phrases or sentences don't sound right.


message 26: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice wrote: "Yes, finding those are tricky, too! I absolutely hate reading over my work once it's done, because I feel like it's going to remind me how bad my paper is, but usually I force myself to do it just ..."

Someone with a long commute recently mention that he uses text-to-speech on his stuff. He chose a woman with an English accent. :) This way, he can 'hear' if something doesn't sound right. I thought that was one clever idea!


message 27: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments What makes you decide to buy or not buy a book, whether online or at a store? As an author, the answer to this interests me.


message 28: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments That's cool, Theo! I usually consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but alas, these text-to-speech stuff still pretty much boggles my mind. I did find, however, the AT&T page. Maybe I can start having fun with it... :D


message 29: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice wrote: "That's cool, Theo! I usually consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but alas, these text-to-speech stuff still pretty much boggles my mind. I did find, however, the AT&T page. Maybe I can start having ..."

The AT&T page? Does it read text to you?


message 30: by Beatrice (last edited Nov 12, 2011 10:53AM) (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments Hmmm, if it's not a newly published book - like, say, about more than a month old - I usually check the reviews first. I prioritize the reviews of my friends, meaning that if my Goodreads friends like the book, I will most likely choose to buy it even if the other reviews are pretty bad.

But if it's a coming soon book, I just read the blurb and if it really, really interests me, I can pre-order it (or buy it the day it comes out if pre-ordering is not an option).

Another factor is favorite authors. Some authors, for me, are "auto-buy" authors. No matter what they publish in whatever genre from whatever publisher, I'll buy it. I'll follow them even to hell. There was this one author whom I told that I will buy her books even if she decides to write about anthropomorphic cheese. LOL.


message 31: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice wrote: "Hmmm, if it's not a newly published book - like, say, about more than a month old - I usually check the reviews first. I prioritize the reviews of my friends, meaning that if my Goodreads friends l..."

I have favorite authors, too. John Sanford immediately comes to mind. I used to feel that way about Janet Evanovich, but lately, I'm tiring of the retreaded humor.

New authors don't usually get reviewed much, so that makes it difficult to find their stuff.

What about cover art? Does that influence your decision?


message 32: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments Theo wrote: "Beatrice wrote: "That's cool, Theo! I usually consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but alas, these text-to-speech stuff still pretty much boggles my mind. I did find, however, the AT&T page. Maybe I ..."

Yes, here is the link: http://www2.research.att.com/~ttsweb/...

It's a demo, I believe, and I found it when I ran a Google search for the word "text-to-speech".


message 33: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice wrote: "Theo wrote: "Beatrice wrote: "That's cool, Theo! I usually consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but alas, these text-to-speech stuff still pretty much boggles my mind. I did find, however, the AT&T p..."

Oh, excellent! I'll give this a try. Maybe it will help me if I hear what I write. Thanks.


message 34: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments Theo wrote: "Beatrice wrote: "Hmmm, if it's not a newly published book - like, say, about more than a month old - I usually check the reviews first. I prioritize the reviews of my friends, meaning that if my Go..."

Usually it does in terms of just clicking on the book to find out more. More often than not I'll pass over the covers that don't appeal to me, but I'll click on those that catch my eye. But if I see that it has good reviews and a lot of people like it, I don't care if it has a good cover or not.

Sad to say but sometimes, readers really do judge books by their covers.


message 35: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice | 70 comments Go to go accompany my mother to the grocery store to help her out with carrying the bags. Hopefully I'll be back in two hours if she doesn't drag me anywhere else. Thank you for the chat, Theo! I'll try to come back. :)


message 36: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice wrote: "Theo wrote: "Beatrice wrote: "Hmmm, if it's not a newly published book - like, say, about more than a month old - I usually check the reviews first. I prioritize the reviews of my friends, meaning ..."

I judge books by their covers. Usually, when I'm shopping, I'm in a hurry and a good cover will catch my eye long enough for me to read the blurb. If that interests me, I'll usually buy it. Humans are visual creatures after all. As for me? I am definitely someone distracted by shiny things. :)


message 37: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Beatrice wrote: "Go to go accompany my mother to the grocery store to help her out with carrying the bags. Hopefully I'll be back in two hours if she doesn't drag me anywhere else. Thank you for the chat, Theo! I'l..."

You're welcome, and thank you!


message 38: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments *currently watching a film about Banksy*

Fascinating stuff. It's giving me a whole new perspective on graffiti.

Is it art or is it defacement? Some of his stuff was definitely art.


message 39: by Theo (last edited Nov 12, 2011 11:22AM) (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments I could be sitting here naked and no one would know.

As it happens, I visited a gated nudist resort a few times when I lived in Florida. Maybe it was my mindset, but from the moment I parked and stripped off my clothes, I felt entirely at home. Everyone walks around with their little white towels (you sit on them, if you sit anywhere) and it's just not odd at all to view people without clothes on.

I might have to put this experience in a story soon. :)


message 40: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Rose What do you think makes a good M/M story?


message 41: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments One good thing about living a long time and being slightly crazy is that you get to experience stuff others don't.


message 42: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Rose Theo wrote: "I could be sitting here naked and no one would know.

As it happens, I visited a gated nudist resort a few times when I lived in Florida. Maybe it was my mindset, but from the moment I parked and ..."


Are you sitting there naked? *chuckles*

A nudist colony story would be fascinating. Intriguing dynamics. What from your experiences do you think would make it into the story?


message 43: by Theo (last edited Nov 12, 2011 11:33AM) (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments AJ wrote: "What do you think makes a good M/M story?"

Characters, first. While you may think this automatically means they have to be young, hot, and sexy, that's not always the case. I recently read a Rick Reed book entitled Dignity Takes a Holiday. It starred an older, overweight, not at all cool man whose self image did not match reality.

Story next. I read Dignity because the story kept me interested. One part made me hoot aloud with laughter and almost throw the book in the air.

Not everyone would like this book, as it's farcical in the extreme, but I enjoyed it.

Hot sex. Is it necessary? I've had six stories accepted, and two of them had no graphic sex at all. One of these just got a couple of five-star reviews. So no, I don't think graphic sex is required. But I generally enjoy the story more if it's there. :)

What about you? What do you like in an m/m story?


message 44: by Theo (last edited Nov 12, 2011 11:42AM) (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments AJ wrote: "Theo wrote: "I could be sitting here naked and no one would know.

I'm not, actually. It's getting colder where I am, though the sun is out today. :)

As it happens, I visited a gated nudist resort a few times when I lived in Florida. Maybe it was my mindset, but from the moment ..."

What would make it into the story? The first thing that springs to mind is the absolute acceptance of everyone's body, no matter what it looked like. There were some very gorgeous people there, but most of them were average and many were less than palatable, but judgment was not part of the experience. It was refreshing to be in this atmosphere for hours at a time and observe how people interacted. Lose the clothes, lose a lot of our social training, but not in a bad way. Simply, you are stripped to your elemental self when the clothes are removed.


message 45: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Rose Theo wrote: "What do you like in an m/m story?"

I tend to like more character driven stories rather than a lot of intense action, but both is even better. I'm sort of a slut for unresolved sexual tension. I agree that the sex doesn't have to be graphic, but I do tend to look forward to those scenes.

Personally, I like the m/m genre better than mainstream because the boundaries are pushed, and not just sexually but the characters are dynamic and the situations they find themselves in are almost always more intense or ... I don't know, just feel bigger, fatser, more. Closer to the surface and it's almost always a wild ride.


message 46: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments "Theo wrote: "What do you like in an m/m story?"

I tend to like more character driven stories rather than a lot of intense action, but both is even better. I'm sort of a slut for unresolved sexual ..."


I know what you mean. Since I started writing every spare minute, I've had little time to read, and then I automatically reach for something in the m/m genre. It's nice we live in a time when such books are readily and instantly available.


message 47: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments I remember dial phones. I remember TVs with no remote control.

And here I am, sitting on the couch with a laptop on my knees, a cell phone beside me, streaming a movie from Netflix on the flat panel TV.

It is truly an age of miracles.


message 48: by Bella (new)

Bella  (ellectric) Hi Fen. I read the excerpt. Great work. :)


message 49: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Rose Theo wrote: "AJ wrote: "Theo wrote: "I could be sitting here naked and no one would know.

I'm not, actually. It's getting colder where I am, though the sun is out today. :)

As it happens, I visited a gated nu..."


Theo wrote: "AJ wrote: "Theo wrote: "I could be sitting here naked and no one would know.

I'm not, actually. It's getting colder where I am, though the sun is out today. :)

As it happens, I visited a gated nu..."


See, now you have to write about it, because I still can't fathom it, so you need to put it on the page. :) Sounds freeing, but I still can't imagine there being zero embarrassment. But that's just me...


message 50: by Theo (new)

Theo Fenraven | 74 comments Elle wrote: "Hi Fen. I read the excerpt. Great work. :)"

Thanks. Now answer the Trivia question upstream to maybe win a copy. :)


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