Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Reviewing the Reviews of your Reviews

As a new author, you've probably considered the issue of how you'll feel if you get a bad review. You can't know what your reaction will amount to until you get one, but it can be hard to remain unruffled by negativity towards your work.
Some notable authors have actually embraced less than glowing opinion. The most caustic critic of playwright and novelist, Joe Orton, was a woman called Edna Welthorpe. She frequently wrote to the press slating Orton’s plays but did Mr Orton care? No, because he was actually penning the letters himself.
Orton knew the value of publicity of all kinds. The, Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches, attitude of Andy Warhol.
I once heard the phrase, "If you have no bad reviews, no one is reading your work."  If one takes this summary as being true, the day you get that, "these characters suck," you're on your way.
After the friends and family opinions, when you will be given 5 stars by those around you in the understandable desire to support your work, your hard crafted words will be out there with people who have no clue who you are and so will be saying honestly what they felt after reading your book. Some will love it and and some will hate it. But take comfort that they are reading it.
This can be easier said than done, and brings me to real point of my blog —the issue of answering your reviews.
I can't stress enough how potentially career ruining it can be to comment on a bad review. I understand you will feel that some of the criticism thrown at you is unwarranted, but you would be very unwise to retaliate.
People are at perfect liberty to hate your book, just as you are in being hurt or annoyed by this. But better to reserve your griping for the family and friends I mentioned before, who will tell you why the reviewer is wrong and remind you of what a genius you are.
In my opinion, the advice not to comment on reviews should extend even to those filled with praise. Of course, you are going to tweet about your lovely four and five stars and so you should! You can even click the like button...folk love a chance for some fingertip action on that wee beauty! (I’m sorry, I write porn. Force of habit.)
What I do think is unwise, is going down your reviews and answering every one of them, addressing all the points made, saying how much you agree and expressing gratitude for what you’ve learned from the reviewer's words.
Why? Because to me, it puts unfair pressure on the reader. Anyone coming along to review your work can't fail to notice that you're reading them all and putting in your two penneth. For some, this can be intimidating and perhaps encourages people to be less than honest. I'd probably not want to say, "bloody hell, I've seen better prose written on a toilet wall!" if the author was sitting there watching me. I'd likely rearrange it slightly to, "Bravo! The Man Booker Prize is in the bag, baby!"
Not all will be put off by the fact you're going to review their review but some certainly will.
Again, I'm not saying don't tweet, quote or put up a big happy status because you got five stars. Just refrain from commenting on the actual review page. Or worse still, going on to comment on the comments on the review page. I have seen this done. It's not your personal forum, so just don't.
Debate over opinion on your work can quickly turn nasty. Folk who've ended up as the lone voice defending themselves on a page full of insults have been flamed. Seriously, it's never a good idea. A professional attitude is the key to dealing with reviews of all kinds. If you are mortally hurt by criticism, perhaps being an author is not for you. Obviously, no one likes to read bad things said about them. You'll feel shit for a few days, but that will pass. Irate rants by you will remain in screen caps forever — as will the big dent in your reputation.
Katsura (aka P.M Leckie) can be found on twitter @tabathathorn
The works of P.M. Leckie are here:
The work of Katsura and Yuramei, can be found at

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Big Deal Collector's Edition Yaoi Box Set by Katsura and Yuramei

An Introduction by Katsura (from the collector's edition of The Big Deal Series.)


The beauty of being a writer is if you feel the world in which you live is not rising to meet your expectations, you simply write one which will. That's exactly what Yuramei and I did with Big Deal. Real life, and I put that in italics because the world an author creates is often far more real to the reader, can be a huge let down. The guy you love sleeps around, swears, drinks and smokes too much and dresses like a pimp—this is unlikely to amuse you. But we often hear from readers who've fallen in love with such a man—our very own irreverent rogue, Judas MacGregor.

This compassion for our selfish and good looking chancer never ceases to delight me. I'm honoured that people have made a space for him, and all of his failings, not only in their heads, but in their hearts.

When Yuramei designed the character of Mikhail Majewski, I was stunned when she presented me with his profile. He's a real challenge to bring to life in a way which does him justice, but I couldn't wait to begin. Here we have a man whose appearance is outwardly feminine and who exhibits such strength of character as well as a keen eye for business. But why wouldn't he? In a line from his own scene, women aren't weak, so why did some people assume a feminine appearance made a man weak?

A lot of Mikhail's dialogue—and few people are aware of this—is written by Yuramei. Her style is a delicious contrast in scenes where he is faced with characters I’ve written. The first meeting between Mikhail and Fergus Campbell is something we are both proud of. The thug meeting the sophisticate is one of my favourite moments in the whole series. The characters are poles apart in personality yet there's still an instant attraction.

A more humorous result of Yuramei’s writing Mikhail and my writing another character—in this instance, Judas MacGregor—can be found at the end of volume two. Mikhail, after being through quite an ordeal, gives a touching and heartfelt speech...and Judas gives him a typically flippant response. I totally loved the comedy of it and it could never have happened without our collaboration. It's organic way of writing and I adore it.

Some of our prose appears in an experimental way. Similarly, combining yaoi with British black comedy is not something I've ever seen done before. For us, the blend works. Again I find the merging of the two genre a joy, as well as a challenge, to write. Our readers tell us the sex scenes are hot and that they laughed out loud at the humour. I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful feeling that gives me. We set out to create something unique, and we have it confirmed that we succeeded, by the comments of those who enjoy our work. I worried people wouldn't know what to make of us, but it seems they just dive right in with our boys and enjoy themselves.

Our setting is also quite untypical for yaoi. We chose not to place our characters in either modern day or ancient Japan...but in a fictitious blot on the landscape in the west coast of Scotland. The small town of Glory surrounds the village of Everdirge—like a fancy napkin over some spoiled food—and provides a great clash between the have and have-nots. Judas clearly began his life as the latter but sees himself as having risen to be the former. But social inequality, specifically in relation to class, can be difficult to surmount. You might think you're successfully upwardly mobile, but you'll always be Judas from the block to those privileged enough to be born into good fortune.

Such places breed envy and envy leads to crime, and this is where the work becomes a tad self-indulgent. If you want to write a British black comedy, as I wanted to with all of my heart, there’s no better backdrop than organised crime. This world offers a plethora of situations just waiting to be put down on paper where the ridiculous notion of a whole gang of hoodlums thrust together and having to rely on each other is a gift for the creator of comedic chaos.

I hope I've made you keen to see what happens when worlds collide, as it were. Yuramei's brothel filled with delightfully attractive and meaningful characters, and my village load of, in their own words, great wanking dickheads.

With much love, and a huge amount of gratitude,

Katsura and Yuramei.

Get your copy now. Three full novels, two short stories and one exclusive art book by Yuramei.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Orton and the Romcom...

Business is booming in the field of romantic literature...and by that I mean steamy stories which contain a whole lot of toe tingling sex! (At this point I will freely acknowledge that men both read and write these volumes too, but the reality is, the books are predominantly written for women by women.)
I'm not going to mention that series, you all know the one I mean. I've never read it so wouldn't want to be unfair and make comment, but largely due to it’s phenomenal success, the world has woken up to the earth-shattering notion that women like to read dirty books.
I'm in danger of going off on a rant here. When I first saw the term Mummy Porn used to describe a book about BDSM, I just about spat out my pipe. I mean, how bloody patronising is that? That men read smut has been generally accepted for centuries but when a woman reads it, society has to dress it up as somehow twee and light. Airy fairy fuckery to wile away the hours between feeding the kids and doing the dishes.
I write Yaoi. Explicit sex between men. And you know what? I am happy to admit that it's filthy. There's nothing sweet or touching about Judas MacGregor getting it on with some horny Japanese twins. My readers tell me those scenes are hot and that's exactly what I intend them to be. If anyone dared to call my work Mummy Porn, I'd send the boys round--and not in a good way.
Seemingly acceptable for women to like a wee bit of the old hearts and flowers routine, but not detailed debauchery, books aimed at the fairer sex, that have a high level of erotic content, are labelled as romance.
To me, this is simply another way of putting a skirt around the fact that some women enjoy pornography. So women’s reading habits are something to be ashamed of? A dirty little secret that should be hidden behind a chintz screen?
Granted, a lot of erotica has a romantic plotline, and don't get me wrong, I am not criticising those works at all. I'm also certain that a lot of authors are happy to have their books so titled, and good luck to them. More power to your talented elbow, I say!
I'm merely wondering why books which contain no, or very little romance, but a lot of raunchy action, are also placed in this section
Is the reason for this solely because the target audience is largely female?
Well we can't have the little lady rooting around amongst the lads' mags now, can we?
Occasionally people lament the lack of love in the stories I produce with my partner in crime, Yuramei. Fair enough. If they found the books in the romance section perhaps an assumption concerning the content is understandable. But frankly, more often than not, that's where you will find them. With few retailers having a designated spot for Yaoi, books by Katsura and Yuramei, and many other predominantly female writers of that genre, will be placed under "Graphic Novels/ Romance".
The fact that we're not strictly a graphic novel, but illustrated prose, doesn’t worry me much. It's the romance handle which I find most difficult to sit with.
I’m probably not alone in being a woman who doesn’t require a prince charming between the pages to help me enjoy a good story. I’m more likely to go for two big thugs, hard at it with not so much as a need for a cursory introduction
The relationship between my anti-hero, Judas--and the guy he rescued from addiction and prostitution, Vinny--is probably as close to sentimental as you'll get from me. Similarly, the bond between Mikhail Majewski and Fergus Campbell, albeit based on mutual attraction, is not the focus of the entire story. The series is a black comedy set in the world of organised crime, generously interspersed here and there, with graphic scenes of gay sex.
If you’ve ever read the play, Entertaining Mr Sloane by Joe Orton, you’ll find that a goodly amount of the plot revolves around Kath and her brother Ed, competing for the attentions of the eponymous young chancer who’s ensconced himself in their family home. That both Kath and Ed are after Mr Sloane for sex is no secret. Orton cleverly conveys, through dialogue laced with innuendo, just exactly what's going on the minds of these middle aged siblings
The play still packs theatres almost half a century after it was written and thankfully, you'll never see it advertised as a “romcom”.
But maybe if it was penned today--with far more sex as our censors are not as strict as those in the nineteen-sixties--and by Josephine Orton, you would.
Katsura and Yuramei's unromantic work can be found at:

Friday, 8 March 2013

So What's the Big Deal About Writing Smut?

This Is something that probably hasn't just happened to me. I bet there's a few female authors out there who've encountered the same issue.

I'm having a regular conversation with a man who doesn't know me very well. The fact that he's talking to me illustrates this point perfectly, I'm completely anti-social and he'll be barking up the wrong tree, as it were. He asks me what I do and I tell him I'm an author. All seems fine. I might even get a few compliments and words of praise--that does happen as people imagine the life of an author to be a glamorous the conversation shifts when it's revealed that my novels contain...smut.

Gasp. Shock horror. No, that was just from my sister, (ha ha sorry, love you xx).

What normally happens then, is that a once fairly civilised conversation instantly plummets to the gutter and I'm treated to a wealth of filthy comments and suggestions. It doesn't seem to matter that my brand of smut is Yaoi--or men getting it on with each other, to the uninitiated.

Yes! Suddenly it's okay to hit on me and drop all pretence of respect for me being a woman--and a mother, I might add. Okay, granted, being a woman or a mother doesn't automatically give you respect but there you go. My experience as a female author of smut is that I'm treated as somehow less deserving of normal courtesy by some, when it’s discovered what I do.

Why is that, I wonder? I also write a web novel about a serial killer. No one inches away from me when they find out that wee gem.  Neither is it assumed that I'll want to know, in gory detail, methods I may not yet have considered in which to bump someone off.

When I sat down to write my first sex scene I barely knew where to begin. I'm going to blame my partner in crime, Yuramei, for the fact that there was a sex scene to be written at all. She suggested we make the book a Yaoi. I'd seen the tame sort of Yaoi and really couldn't work that with the kind of characters I write and so we agreed, explicit Yaoi it had to be.

I didn't read or watch a lot of gay porn to prepare myself for the task ahead. I did what most writers do. I invited the characters from the scene into my head, gave them a rough idea of their motivation and left them to it. I simply took notes, like a furtive voyeur who couldn't afford, or had neglected to bring, a decent camera. I wrote it all down and was actually pretty pleased with the result. Sadly, when that scene was later published, it was pointed out by the very first reviewer that the main character had used both Vaseline and a condom. Gah! Big mistake. But as the main character is Judas MacGregor, I forgave myself the lapse. He's not exactly mastermind and hadn't expected to use the Vaseline in the first place, having made his first attempt at penetration, “with spit alone”. He just went a bit overboard after his sexual partner complained about his technique--the cheek of him.

The scene still reads the same now and I'm not ashamed of it, despite Judas's sexual faux pas and the completely graphic content. Art imitates life. In life, occasionally, or so I'm led to believe, people have sex. They also eat, sleep and go to the toilet. I'd be lying if I said that there were highly detailed flushing scenes in my books but there are a lot of toilets mentioned. Judas is an incorrigible cottager.

I refuse to hang my head in shame for writing what some would describe as gay porn. The sex is not the focus of the story but the genre requires that sex is included in the content.

So some men talk dirty to me when they find out what I do. Hilariously, people often ask me, but how can you know what it's like?

My answer to that is usually, did George Lucas ever fly an intergalactic spacecraft?

That's flippant, I know. But the reality is that both male and female authors of heterosexual sex are always writing half the scene from a male point of view and half from a female. (And authors/ editors, you know what I mean. Don't get me started on POV glitches here.)

To sum all of this up, I am Katsura and I write smut. If you read it, just enjoy it. Like real sex, it's messy, funny and may contain well as the odd mistake.

Katsura and Yuramei's work can be seen here:
Their first novel, Big Deal: vol 1: Lust for Vengeance, can be purchased here:

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Writing The Bad Guy

Brutal men exist, and so do those who love them.

This is a quote from our third novel, Despite Them, and the phrase which we used to promote the book. Seems like a nice little tag line, but the words were actually inspired by the conflicts I sometimes encounter as the creator of...the bad guy.

I hope you heard ominous music in your head at the sight of those words. Okay, so I don't just create one bad guy, but a whole effing mob of them. A big bunch of thugs who some people love and others seem to hate. And on a, don't try this at home kids note, none of these crooks are intended to be role models.

Fergus Campbell. Now there's a name that tends to promote the most visceral reaction. He is, without a doubt, an utter swine of a man. A brutal criminal who thumps first then asks questions later. The reader is meant to fear for anyone whom he encounters, but I won't tell people that they're meant to hate him, or love him for that matter. It's entirely up to whoever is holding the book at the time. Personally? I'd cross the street if I saw him. Shout from a healthy distance about what a big jerk he is and of how some day, someone will kick him up and down the street in the way he so easily does to others.

In real life I'd have no time for him, but I've encountered people like him and used some of the traits I found in those people to create my bad guy.

He's charming, for one. On a first meeting one might be sapped in by that. And of course, he's extremely handsome. Being a bastard doesn't make a guy's face ugly...well not until someone socks him one for it, I guess.

So there he is. Nice suit, neatly trimmed goatee, dripping elegant compliments on unsuspecting admirers. Just like a good few of the brutes I've had the misfortune to encounter. He also has endearing qualities. He’s generous and even tender, with the man he loves. Sometimes, but not always, he’s capable of acknowledging when he’s in the wrong and making amends for that fact. With himself, at least, he is completely candid about his fails but still manages to justify his more reprehensible ones. But again only to himself. His honestly doesn’t extend to those around him.

The better qualities that he displays are perhaps what cause most conflict. Because I write him as a good-looking charmer, does that mean I condone his actions?

Hannibal Lecter is suave, intelligent and very easy on the eye. An utterly perfect bad guy, in my opinion. At some points he appears kind and thoughtful to the young FBI agent, Clarice Starling. So Thomas Harris is an advocate of murder and cannibalism? Okay, a bit extreme, but you see my point?

All people, even the most vicious, are capable of good. Even for only a fleeting moment in an otherwise savage existence.

One scene, in Despite Them, finds loveable reprobate, Judas MacGregor, lamenting that as he's the good guy—in the fictional showdown he's having with his arch enemy, Owen MacIsaac—by default, he'd have the white Stetson. In his own fashion challenged way, he considers that the black hat would look better.

If only sorting the jerks and heartbreakers from Mr Wonderful was as easy as having a quick look at their choice of head apparel.

MacIsaac, being the villain in that scene, is described as shaven headed and scarred. Perhaps more like what people expect as a typical yobbish nut-job. When I wrote him, the ex-footballer turned actor, Vinnie Jones, kept popping into my head. For me, I find that look way more attractive than Fergus's dark hair and chiselled features. But I digress, their physical appearances were not influenced by their personalities. They’re both bastards.

Brutal men do exist. The people who love them are often fully aware of their true nature. In real life, this can be hard to swallow. Especially if one is close to a victim of one of these swines.

Why does he/she keep going back to him/her?

It's a complex query which I'm not about to go into in this blog. Suffice to say, I have experience of this question.

In fiction, and in particular, my own comedic accounts of a group of self-titled hard men, I've tried to represent my characters as realistically as possible, albeit that they sometimes land in some very unrealistic situations. But I'm writing a Yaoi fantasy, and one which I hope can carry the reader away from their woes for a while.

In writing Fergus, who describes himself as a "coward", I hope I managed to create the turmoil of emotions that one often feels when dealing with the prick in our own real lives.

Katsura and Yuramei’s good, and bad, guys can be found here:


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

FREE short story Download on Goodreads

A special Christmas Present from Katsura and Yuramei.
Our FREE short story can be downloaded as a PDF from Goodreads, so get it here and have some holiday cheer on us!
Merry Christmas, Mr MacGregor (Big Deal Shorts) by Katsura and Yuramei

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Reading on a Budget

Having just spent a fortune on Christmas presents for the family, probably the last thing you want to do is splurge on yourself.
But you want to read, right?
so here are some ways to keep up your Yaoi or M/M fix over the festive season.
Check out the free reads section at your favourite publisher or Author page.
Here is the the Free section from Katsura and Yuramei:
We also have and ongoing free yaoi Webnovel/thriller, with each chapter between 1000-2000 words long.
And if you like your yaoi in comic form, we have a free Yaoi webcomic, No Deal, which is usually updated weekly.
The publisher of our novels, Ai Press, also has a free read section:
and by joining the Ai Press Newsletter, you will always get a discount off books purchased on site:
And right now, you will get a whopping 30% off all titles, right through to New Years if you use the code XMAS at checkout.
If amazon is your thing, check out the the 100 top selling books there....I maybe can't afford them? well right next to that list is the top 100 free downloads, which spans all genres. You just need to have a good look about.
Finally, try joining a group on Goodreads and you are sure to find a wealth of free or reduced titles from some truly awesome authors!
I am a member of the M/M Romance group and they have a brilliant selection of links to all things free! Also some awesome suggestions for keeping yourself well stocked with books, without breaking the bank.
Happy Holidays, and happy reading!
Katsura xxx