Robyn Nyx

Words for Women who Love Women

The power of words…

Brey and I attended an evening with Philippa Gregory last month. She’s the author of amazing female-driven books such as The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen. She was touring her most recent book, Order of Darkness, the fourth in The Dark Tracks series, and talking about writing “the unspeakable.” Almost everything she said resonated deeply with me. I write about the darker side of life because I think it’s easy to live in a bubble and forget about the hardships and horrors of everyday life. During the Second World War, we felt it in England. Men were gone. Women were working in their place. Everyone was on rations. But what about now? What about during the Iraq war? Did you feel it? Unless you had a loved one or you yourself were deployed, I think it’s fair to say you probably didn’t. There are conflicts all over the world; drug wars; civil wars; and yet we go about our lives more or less untouched by them all.

It’s easy to forget what darkness human kind is capable of. It’s easy to forget the atrocities of history. In a recent poll, something like 70% of young people didn’t know whose side Hitler was on in WWII. I don’t believe we should sit idly by and allow that history to fade. The first in my Extractor trilogy, Escape in Time, is set partly in the only women’s concentration camp that existed. I’ve had some negative feedback about the level of violence and malevolent detail in the book. And it got me wondering whether it was necessary. I was sure it was as I was writing it, and after listening to Philippa Gregory speak, I’m even more convinced it was, as she put it, my responsibility as a writer to “write the unspeakable.”

The final book of the trilogy, Death in Time, will be released in June (but you can get copies early by coming to the BSB UK event on May 5/6). As I finished my proofing a few nights ago, I finally decided I was proud of the trilogy. I’m glad that I didn’t shy away from the darker elements of the story, and I don’t think there’s a gratuitous violent moment in any of the 260,000 words. The capacity for humans to undertake “inhumane” action is bottomless. But so is our capacity for love and light. And that’s always what my main characters strive toward.

So don’t read my words if you don’t want to be challenged. Don’t read them if you like the sand in your eyes and ears. Phillipa Gregory looked me in the eye and told me, “It’s your responsibility to write the unspeakable.”

Who am I to argue with such a great woman, historian, and author?


For the Love of it

Going last on a blog tour when the topic is, “What does Christmas mean to me?” equals almost everything important has already been said. Family. Love. Friends. Quiet time. Remembering loved ones. Consequently, I’m unable to break new ground and give you anything spectacularly fresh. What I will give is my experience and my truth.

I loved Christmas as a kid. My brother and I would wake at three or four in the morning, have a “fuddle” (a picnic of chocolatey badness), and then go and wake mum and dad—usually with party poppers (I know, it’s surprising we weren’t smothered with pillows, but instead, one year, they rose earlier than us and returned the obnoxiously loud favour). I don’t remember much else, certainly not because memories were bad, but because I seem to have a pretty terrible memory period regarding much of my childhood. But I remember love, cuddles, and presents. We weren’t a religious family. Mum believed but also believed that you didn’t have to go to church to pray. God would hear you wherever you spoke to him. Apparently.

In 1998, Christmas became all about my little pup, Kev.

Kev was a bundle of brindle bounciness who came into my life by happenstance. I was on an all-inclusive holiday in Fuerte Ventura when I found him tied to a pole at the end of a half-made road in the middle of the desert. He was so thirsty that he drank the only thing I had to offer him: 7-Up. What followed was a love story. One that lasted fourteen years until 2012, when I lost him to a stroke. At some point, when I’m strong enough, I’ll return to writing his story, but I fear that may be some years ahead yet.

But I digress. Christmas became all about Mr. Kev.

I’d shop for him from around August, and I’d lovingly wrap every single present (and there were a lot of presents every year). I’d put all of those presents in a box and wrap the box. The first two hours of Christmas morning featured Mr. Kev carefully removing the wrapping paper, biting into the box, and then carefully unwrapping each present with a dexterous combination of teeth and claws. I’m so glad that I captured this phenomenon on video several times. As memories fade, as the years pass, and his furry little princeness becomes fuzzier to me, I’ll always have those videos (and many, many others of his wild and wonderful escapades, from beating up Labradors to climbing castle walls).

After 3:15pm on the 25th April, 2012, the heart of Christmas stopped beating for me. No longer did I love to buy gifts or rustle them up all pretty, with ribbon and bows, and the best wrapping Paperchase had to offer. In truth, it affected more than Christmas for a long, long time. It’s only since I met my now-wife, and fellow author, Brey Willows, that Christmas has recaptured its original magic. For reasons that it’s not for me to share, family is super important to Brey. And she treasures mine as if it were her own. I have a better relationship with my mum and dad now because of Brey. Don’t get me wrong, we had a good relationship before, but now it’s great. They’re not just my parents, they’re my friends, and Brey and I love doing cool stuff with them (like picking and carving pumpkins, making gingerbread houses, and having movie nights in our PJs). This Christmas, they’re coming over on Christmas Day and staying through to Boxing Day (despite living just a mile away), and I can’t wait.

My point, through this long-winded and slightly depressing blog, is that Christmas is about love. All kinds of love. Friends. Family. Wifey. It’s about cherishing what we have rather than focusing on what we don’t. It’s about making the most of the time with loved ones because, spoiler alert, neither they nor you are going to be around forever. And when they’re gone, you might well regret that you didn’t find the time for them.

I hate regrets. I always have. “I don’t have regrets” has always been my tagline. Anything I’ve done or said or experienced in my life has built me, in one way or another, even if they knocked me down first. So this Christmas, my first as a wife and with a wife, I’ll be thinking about that love and how damned lucky I am to have it. Because there are so many people in the world that don’t.

I’ll treasure it. I’ll protect it. I’ll remember it.

Happy Christmas, lovely readers 🤗

A little romance and music

I’m working on a new manuscript, and it’s quite a departure from my previous four novels. It’s a…wait for it…pure romance. There’ll be no skinning, no hate fucking, and no one gets beaten up. Like I said, quite the departure. The main character for this little tale originated in Change in Time, the second in the Extractor trilogy (Death in Time is released in May 2018, just in time for the amazing Bold Strokes Books UK Festival, where our regular UK authors will be joined by nearly thirty US authors, including the amazing Carsen Taite, VK Powell, and, drum roll please, the inimitable Radclyffe). I needed a bit part player for a Landry scene, and in popped Louie. Later in the book, Landry was in a gang-run bar, and Louie popped up again, moonlighting as entertainment for the patrons. She helps Landry out of a sticky situation. A few chapters on, and Louie made her final appearance, with Landry asking her about her dreams. Why was she stuck in Chicago? What was her ambition?

It turns out, she wants to move to Nashville to be a song writer. She’s scraping together every dollar she can, working two jobs, to make it happen. Landry makes it happen with one visit to the Bank of America, and Music City Dreamers was born. I’ve taken Louie Francis, pulled her back to modern day, and began to tell her story. She’s a gentle soul, burned by an ex-love, but she’s got the drive to change her future. See if she does late in 2018/early 2019:

Barista by day and hustler by night, Louie Francis wants out. She has a dream, but she’s never had a chance to follow it. Until, that is, a stranger’s generosity provides the means for her to head to Nashville to become a song writer. She grabs her stuff and doesn’t look back.

Heather King had dreams of being the next Country superstar. Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people with the same dream, she became the beleaguered assistant to the label head of Rocky Top Country Music instead. She has an eye for discovering new talent, but her boss takes credit for all her hard work.

When the two women meet at the Bluebird Café, there’s an immediate attraction, but blinkered by self-doubts and ambition, they’re blind to their potential future with each other. Thrust together to work with Country royalty, they must find a way past their ambitions and their desire for each other, or their song will remain unfinished.

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