Welcome to author Barbara Bell and the tour for her new novella, Cutie Pies! Barbara is here to share some things she learned in the process of writing the book, and there’s also a chance to win a free eCopy of the book, so be sure to check out those details at the end.
Five Things I Learnt While Writing Cutie Pies
I honestly don’t have an introduction for this blog, so I’m just going to dive right in. I hope you don’t mind!
Here are five things I learnt while writing my debut novella Cutie Pies.
- There Are A Lot of Sex Toys Out There
And when I saw a lot I mean a lot.
But before I delve into this I would just like to say that I’m no ‘innocent’ when it comes to sex toys. I have my box of goodies tucked under my bed just like anyone else. However, when I first sat down and wrote the first chapter of Cutie Pies I distinctly remember thinking ‘I’m going to run out of sex toys to joke about’. After all, in the first chapter alone I’d already touched on vibrators, dildos, knickers, and lube. Sure, there was still some bases left to cover but there was still also a lot of story left to write.
Fortunately, a quick trip to Lovehoney.com cured me of this fear. Not only did I realise I’d barely scratched the surface when it came to what I had already covered… but I also came face to face with a massive selection of other toys just waiting to be explored. Truthfully, I didn’t even get to include most of them in Cutie Pies. There just wasn’t enough room.
Perhaps one day I will create a sequel and come back to this world… just so I can write penis pumps and pulsators.
- Writing What You Know is Liberating, Not Restrictive
It’s an old adage, ‘write what you know’.
It’s also one of the most hated pieces of writing advice. I have read more than one essay online by people who hate the idea of writing what they know. It’s restrictive, they say. It disregards and destroys creativity.
No, strawman, it doesn’t, and let me tell you why.
Writing what you know means you cut out one of the biggest time drains on writing. That is, research. In the past when I’ve written stories set in places or incorporating themes I don’t know I have had to do a huge amount of research in order to make my story even marginally believable. But, Cutie Pies was another story. Cutie Pies is set in my current hometown, on a street I visit regularly, during an event which I myself attended.
Also, unlike other stories I’ve written, I don’t have to hide my ‘Australian-isms’. In fact, I can embrace them because all the characters are Australian.
Writing Cutie pies was fun because I could put aside worrying about ‘getting something right’ and just embrace what I already knew.
- There Is More I Could Be Doing To Support Aboriginal Australians
Mick, one of the two heroes of Cutie Pies, is an Australian Aboriginal. While writing I based him very strongly on my Aboriginal friends and what I knew of their life and their culture. However, during the edits I realised how much there was still to expand in regards to his ethnicity. I met with more local Aboriginal people to discuss the book and in doing so learnt in detail about the struggle of being black and indigenous in a country which tried (and still tries) to assimilate and eliminate that culture.
I won’t get into the politics as I want this to be a fun blog post, but the truth is while I have always supported Aboriginal Australians I never realised all the extra things I could do. It’s an odd thing to learn, but Cutie Pies definitely opened my eyes in regards to some racial injustices happening in my country.
Aboriginal Australians marched with queer people in 2017 during the marriage equality debate. I can march with them now.
- Mardi Gras is Apparently Not Pride
Mardi Gras is Sydney’s pride festival. At least, that is what I’ve always believed. However, when I submitted my manuscript one of the first thing my editors pointed out was, when they Googled ‘Australian Pride Month’ the first answer they got wasn’t Marid Gras’ awkward mid-Feburary to early March dates… but June.
June? How crazy is that? It’s the middle of winter! Nobody ever does anything in June. This couldn’t be right, I thought. But, when I Googled it I too got the same answer.
Sydney may celebrate Mardi Gras as pride… but it is June when the official festival takes place. A festival neither me nor any of the other queer people I asked were aware of. But, the good news is, I now have two pride festivals to attend this year. Heck yeah! Thank you Cutie Pies.
- Publishing Is A Lot of Work… But It’s Worth It
And finally a sappy one.
Cutie Pies has been a lot of work. I have never re-written a story more in my life. However, I do believe it is the best thing I have ever written and it has taught me a lot not just about publishing but about what I can create with a little bit of help from an editor or two. I am very grateful for that and excited to be able to finish my next story so I can go through the whole process all over again.
That’s my list of five things I learnt while writing Cutie Pies. I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know what you think in the comments below and (as always) don’t forget to include your contact info to go into the draw to win an ecopy of the book. Thanks for reading!
About the Book
Joey works at Cutie Pies, the smallest adult store in Sydney. After his parents kicked him out years ago, the haphazard shop became his home away from home and is the only place where he can embrace his queer, quirky, and—okay—sometimes a little awkward self.
When Mick, a new-to-town customer, walks in asking for a dildo, Joey thinks it’s all a part of the day’s work. Except Mick’s large dark eyes, shy smile, and kissable lips—along with the ten-inch dildo he bought—quickly win him a starring role in Joey’s nightly fantasies.
Joey can’t stop thinking about him, and Mick’s continued visits to the store make him even harder to forget. Mick is shy and sweet, but also secretive and uncertain. As the two grow closer together, Joey starts to wonder what Mick really wants from him, and whether he can risk falling in love with someone who might not be free to love him back.
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About the Author
Barbara Bell grew up on a sheep farm in rural Australia, moved to Brisbane when she was nineteen to study film, and now lives in Sydney with an ever changing cast of housemates and a colony of bees.
She is an avid traveller, a proud geek, and loves telling stories about human relationships and how strange and silly (but also beautiful) they can be. She began writing when she was eleven years old and believes it’s probably too late to break the habit now.
To celebrate this release, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Cutie Pies! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 24, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. And don’t forget to leave your contact information in you comment!
4 thoughts on “Guest Post and Giveaway: Cutie Pies by Barbara Bell”
thank you for the interesting post, Barbara. I am sure the story is worth it, despite all that publishing work!
Thank you for the post Barbara. Interesting things to know for sure especially the Pride festival in winter.
humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com
I’d love to win this book, but I’ll buy if I don’t!
jlshannon74 at gmail.com
We don’t have Cutie Pies here in Texas, but we do have Moon Pies! Isn’t it strange how our minds work sometimes!
These two guys sound like a cute couple for sure!
Since Sydney is on my bucket list maybe I’ll have a chance to meet their doppelgängers someday!