For our June 2021 meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed A Marine Awakening by Jax Meyer. If you weren't able to make it, check out the transcript below.
A couple of notes on the transcript:
If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we're reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you'll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.
Reader 1 4:01 PM
Shall we get started? What did you all think of A Marine Awakening?
Reader 2 4:01 PM
I love A Marine Awakening :purple_heart: I love Cam & Sharon
Reader 3 4:02 PM
I read A Marine Awakening first, so by the time I got to Dal Segno I was in tears because I fell in love with Sharon
Jax 4:03 PM
Yeah… I can’t imagine reading in that order.
Reader 2 4:03 PM
Reader 1 4:03 PM
Well, now those here who haven’t read Del Segno yet have no choice :smile:
Jax 4:04 PM
I barely knew Sharon when I wrote Dal Segno and it tore me up to write. But writing Marine Awakening was like a balm for me.
Reader 2 4:04 PM
Reader 4 4:04 PM
I started with Del Segno. I've been here since the beginning of Jax's writing career here.
Jax 4:04 PM
Yes you have :-)
Reader 5 4:04 PM
I obviously had to start at official book 1 bc I’m a rules person but it dont think it changed much in terms of the emotions for me. Reading awakening was sorta sad then but still both amazing.
Reader 4 4:05 PM
I really enjoyed the book, though it took me longer to get through than it usually does with most books.
Hmmm... what questions should I ask? What inspired you to get into writing, and later on screenwriting?
Jax 31 minutes ago
Luck? Divine intervention? I had a dream on night, that turned into Dal Segno. Then I just kept writing.
Screenwriting wasn’t on my radar until I learned about the Writers Guild Foundation’s Veterans Writing Project. Once I had the opportunity I started coming up with stories that work better as a visual story than a book. And I guess I’m not half bad so I keep going. Lol
Reader 3 4:06 PM
What made you want to write a military book that tackles the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy?
Jax 4:11 PM
Personal healing and genuine curiosity about Cam and Sharon’s life. These books allowed me to reimagine that time in my life where it didn’t end in my discharge. I’m still working through that, though it’s been 20+ years.
I also had someone I crossed paths with later in my career who I should have met when I was in Pensacola, but didn’t. So this was in part a way to reimagine my life if we had met. Though it wouldn’t have gone this way either, but it was a way to play with those big ‘what if’ questions while showing people a bit about life during dadt.
Reader 6 4:07 PM
Hi, I loved AMA, is Cam you tho?
Jax 4:13 PM
I mean, Cam has a lot of my preferences and personality traits. At the same time, she’s way better at communicating. Way more sexual. So more like an alternate dimension version that is far better in a relationship than I am.
Thank you everyone for the love. Didn’t want to miss that while I hit the bigger questions. :-)
Reader 5 4:09 PM
I think a question I’ve had too is how your process differs from writing a novel versus writing a screenplay
Jax 4:16 PM
They are very different. Screenplays have no room for meandering. Every line has to be purposeful because you have anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to tell a complete story.
That means a lot more outlining, planning, cussing, reworking, editing infinitely more.
But! I can reach so many more people with movies and TV if they get made. I’ll keep doing both because I love books.
Reader 7 4:09 PM
Hey y'all I'm here ama... What a great read thank you @Jax
Reader 8 4:11 PM
Was a great book but i can imagine how tough it was in the military being gay
Jax 4:18 PM
I will show just hard in book 5 of this series. That’s the first time I’ll show how hard it was in the fleet. Pensacola was actually pretty easy, all things considered. Hell, there was a time when I never slept in my room, I was in my friend with benefits’ room.
Reader 6 4:14 PM
If the Norse God of Careers threatened to send a thunderbolt which would take out either writing books or writing screenplays which one would you save and why?
Jax 4:19 PM
Right now it’s hard to say because I haven’t sold any of my scripts. But once I get going I’d set aside books because I want to change people’s lives. That requires the reach of film or tv.
Thankfully I don’t have to choose. Lol
Reader 8 4:14 PM
On an aside note i just watched the L Word - all 6 seasons and there was a lesbian character in it that was dealing with getting booted out for being gay.
Jax 4:20 PM
Tasha. Was a very hard storyline for me to watch.
Reader 4 4:14 PM
If you could write a lesbian romance novel or series in another genre like fantasy, sci-fi, superhero, steampunk or other, which genre would be the most likely? And would there be dinosaurs? And how would the protagonist and her love interest beat said dinosaurs? Or dragons? Or aliens? Or...
Jax 4:22 PM
Grounded fantasy, which would simply be the normal stuff in my life that people don’t think is real.
And actually I bring in some dinosaur stuff in the tv show I’m writing. The love interest and the lead met years before while she was on a fossil dig. I’m writing their meeting as a short story to give away next month.
I’m also looking for a good sci fi type adventure for younger people but haven’t thought of it yet
Reader 6 4:20 PM
Later in your Marine’s Heart series you co-wrote with an unheard of author that had written nothing more than twitter posts. How much of a risk was it to agree to write a book with her not knowing whether she could write or spell her own name even?
Jax 4:24 PM
I mean, she could put together a whole sentence on slack, so not too much a risk. That UK spelling though… lol
Reader 1 4:23 PM
You definitely have a lot of pokers in the fire at all times - it’s a testament to how much you can get accomplished if you’re dedicated
Jax 4:25 PM
I do look forward to have less demands on my time so I can get things out more quickly. But these early months in my screenwriting career are critical so I need to get more writing samples done before I can shift to novels again. I want to start Phoenix and Ash book 2 by September.
Reader 8 4:24 PM
Do you also have a day job?
Jax 4:26 PM
I co-own a solar company so am trying to get that profitable enough to hire people and become a part time ceo. Without that on my time I can be a full time writer.
Reader 7 4:27 PM
Yesssa more of ash n pheonix
Reader 3 4:27 PM
Phoenix and Ash is how we met, tht book holds a special place in my heart because it touches a subject I need it to read in lesfic
Jax 4:28 PM
Yes, I need to write their short story, then will dive into book 2
Reader 4 4:28 PM
What has been the hardest part about writing for you?
Jax 4:30 PM
Knowing that I’m learning as I go, so reading back makes me cringe. I’m very critical of myself, but thankfully have a good sense for when I’ve reached the limit of my current abilities.
This fall I’ll release an anthology that checks in on each of my couples. Cam and Sharon’s is a Thanksgiving story that happens a few months after book 3 and 4.
Reader 2 4:29 PM
The one I read?? It's so good!!
Reader 1 4:29 PM
Awesome, I love catching up with ‘old’ characters
Reader 6 4:30 PM
What are Lane and Mags doing? Should I dust off my novella for them?
Reader 3 4:30 PM
I love that,, I want to catch up with all of them
Reader 4 4:30 PM
What do you most enjoy about writing? What parts do you find the most fun?
Jax 4:32 PM
It’s the first truly creative thing I’ve done. Music was more following what I was told to do. Here I’m discovering these stories that haven’t been told. It’s fascinating and so good for me. To have people like them still blows me away.
Reader 6 4:33 PM
Can you list all your current projects. It’s 27 mins till 10pm here in the UK, so you might not have time
Jax 4:37 PM
Oh lord. Lol sure.
Film: 1. romcom which reincarnates Cam and Sharon. Also will be a book that will match pretty close but with extra stuff.
2. A lesbian top gun, but with the blue angels.
3. A tv show set in rural colorado.
Books: 1. The short story anthology.
2. The short story promo that ties into the tv show above.
3. Phoenix and Ash book 2
4. Book 5 in Marine’s Heart.
5. Cade and Reyna (Cam and Sharon’s reincarnation)
I think that’s it for now?
Reader 1 4:35 PM
Also, you’ve been talking about your screenwriting process here along the way but I’d love to hear more - what’s it like working with a mentor, how hard is it to find people to develop your screenplay, what’s the next step after crowd funding?
Jax 4:40 PM
Good mentors are invaluable because your story has to be spot on to sell. And there are a million ways to tell the same story.
Writing a script is easy compared to after. I just pitched mine to 8 people from a couple companies. So far the animation guys requested to read my script, though it isn’t animated. They are looking for unique voices that might work in future projects though.
It’s all networking. A ton of hurry up and wait.
Oh yeah, I forgot a project. Lol so when I pitched my movie I also shared how it related to my experience in the Marine Corps and I had a request from a producer to write that. So I’m adapting my idea for book 5 into a screenplay as well.
Reader 6 4:37 PM
Will you still remember us when you’re a famous movie screenwriter?
Jax 4:41 PM
Will you get sick of me talking about my projects? Lol
Reader 3 4:38 PM
You have your hands full with that list
Reader 2 4:38 PM
How do you block time for all your projects on top of everything else you have going on?
Jax 4:42 PM
Hahahahahahahahahahaha I just write whenever I can. I try to get a minimum of an hour a night. Preferably two. My family doesn’t often see me.
Reader 3 4:38 PM
If that happens, I'll be "remember when we were gonna go on a road trip that covid cancelled? It says so on your books" lol
Jax 4:43 PM
Lol seriously I am not the type to forget friends. I will need them more than ever because it’s going to be challenging. The world is not kind to people who tell positive stories about trans kids.
Reader 6 4:40 PM
What are your fave scenes to write in books or screen and which do you dislike?
Jax 4:44 PM
Love cute scenes. The banter and feels. Hate fights. I am really bad at conflict and usually need three or four attempts before I finally make it a big enough conflict.
Also, sex scenes are so difficult. Like Cam, I am never going to say the word orgasm out loud. Lol
Reader 1 4:46 PM
And yet you wrote so many of them for Cam and Sharon :smile: Was that planned or were they just way thirstier than expected?
Jax 4:49 PM
Oh my god those two!!! It took so much work to make them wait as long as they did. And that first kiss, definitely didn’t see that coming. But the sex scenes showed Cam’s growth throughout so I’m pretty proud of them. And grateful for an editor to tweak them.
Reader 4 4:41 PM
Would you ever write for an animation?
Jax 4:45 PM
Absolutely. If I have the right idea and someone will make it, I don’t care what the format is.
It would be a different type of story for sure. Animation, tv, movies, all are different stories
Reader 5 4:43 PM
So, sort tagging on with @Reader 2 question do you have multiple things you write at one time? How do you keep it all sorted?
Jax 4:46 PM
I try not to because I am subconsciously working on the story when not at the computer. But sometimes I can shift gears like this past year writing Cade and Reyna and my movie Linking Turns.
Reader 6 4:48 PM
How’s Linking Turns being received. How did you research this film
Jax 4:49 PM
A lot of people love it. The trick is finding the right people to make it. Finding a manager. All of that requires connections. Lots of patience.
Reader 1 4:52 PM
Okay, here’s a Reader 4-style question. 10 years from now, your screenplays have hit the silver screen and become blockbuster hits. Do you want to be a household name, or just quietly take the money and be proud of what you’ve accomplished sans celebrity?
Jax 4:56 PM
People rarely know writers. I want to be known in our community, and in Hollywood because that means I keep getting work. But I don’t want to be recognized walking down the street.
Reader 1 4:57 PM
Do you think you would have to/want to relocate to keep pursuing film?
Jax 4:59 PM
Currently you can avoid living in LA if you write films. If you write tv and want to stay in the writer’s room, which I would, that almost always requires living in LA. Realistically, I’ll be in LA frequently in the future, but prefer to spend most of our time in Colorado.
Reader 8 4:55 PM
Would you want to direct your films or leave that to someone else?
Jax 4:57 PM
I’m not a director. I don’t have a visual imagination. I do want to be involved as far as actor performance and stuff like that, but otherwise I just want to watch stuff come together. Though, if I get a waiver for my GI Bill, I’m going to take some classes and then my answer might change.
Reader 6 4:59 PM
So would you rather be a well known author and an ok screenwriter or the other way round
Jax 5:01 PM
Not possible to be just okay and get films made as a queer person. I’d rather be a great screenwriter because there are so many great authors. Very few screenwriters making what I want to watch.
Reader 6 5:03 PM
Who is your favourite author and why?
Reader 5 5:03 PM
Oh I was going with the favorite book and why! Lol
Jax 5:05 PM
My favorite list is the only way I answer, and the reason is always that these people write things I can't, that are always well written and crafted so I become a better writer while also being entertained.
Lee Winter, EJ Noyes, Jae are usually my top 3. I can't wait to see what Emily Noon does next so she might end up right up there. But i have a ton of favorites.
I have a big list on goodreads for this reason. But, if I had to make a short list I'd include Lee Winter's Brutal Truth (to write in two different styles blows me away), Shattered, EJ Noyes Ask, Tell series, Alone, and Gold. Rachel Spangler's Edge of Glory (which kicked off my snowboarding obsession and lead to me writing Linking Turns), Elle Spencer's Casting Lacey, Emily Noon's Aurora's Angel, so many more.
Reader 4 5:07 PM
What stories would you really love to see told that aren't being written about at present?
Jax 5:09 PM
I don't know because they don't exist yet! lol Usually if I see something doesn't exist, it's because it's a story I'm meant to tell.
For instance, the tv series will tell a lot of stories about the changing landscape of smaller towns. The people who resist change, the people pushing to make it more accepting. Lots of queer characters. But my goal is to increase understanding across many groups of people while also getting to showcase Colorado. And have a lesbian main character who gets a real romance and isn't all drama like the L word.
The TV series is going to be a long process. Honestly, without having a manager who can really put together an amazing writing room and show runner, it won't sell because I'm an unknown. But I have faith that it will come together because it will appeal to a lot of audiences.
Reader 6 5:16 PM
Thanks Jax, I love all your books and scripts etc etc. Proper fan girl here. bye
Jax 5:17 PM
So does anyone have questions about Grace Note since that's the thing that's definitely being made this summer?
Reader 2 5:17 PM
How did the idea come about??
Jax 5:19 PM
There was a listing calling for queer short films. I had never written one and didn't know where to start. My writing buddy Anthony gave me a prompt that involved a mystery, a first date, and something else. From there I had a rough idea within a few minutes. Refined it as I played around with it. And now that we're filming it independently, I've turned it into a serialized group of shorts so this is just part one.
it can be really hard to start with an idea. For some reason, the prompts from my writing buddies work really well. Lesbian blue angels (it has a title, Flying Colors) was a writing prompt as well from my other buddy Travis.
Reader 1 5:19 PM
Here’s the crowdfunding page if Jax isn’t going to post it :smile: https://seedandspark.com/fund/...
Reader 5 5:19 PM
I wondered if the title came about as a play on the musical note and if that figures in some how.
Reader 4 5:20 PM
Writers and musicians both use notes so the title is very appropriate.
Also, I think the actress on the left is super cute. Don't tell her I said that though.
Jax 5:21 PM
That's Emily, and I tell her pretty much every day to stop being so photogenic. It's ridiculous.
If people don't ship Erin and Emily as much as they ship Mik and Amara I'll be disappointed. lol
By the way, if anyone is on Tiktok, I'm trying to post promo videos there as well. So please follow and try to boost since that's a totally different audience. :slightly_smiling_face: @butchjax
I posted a bunch of notes to Goodreads to share behind the scenes info for Marine Awakening.