Scotty Cade Chats About Knobs – Interview + Excerpt

April 22, 2016

 

“Knobs” by Scotty Cade

Two cadets from very different worlds. One forbidden love.

 

Hi All,

Scotty Cade here. First I’d like to thank Hayley at the Dreamspinner Press Blog for allowing me to tell you a little bit about “Knobs,” my newest release and let you meet Gus and Sam and get a glimpse into their daily life at the Citadel. Later in the posts you can read an excerpt and I will be telling you how you can win a book from my backlist.

So when I was asked to write these blog spots, I posted on Facebook and asked my fans what in particular they would like to know about Knobs, besides the premise of course. The answers came in fast and furious and included a history of the Citadel and what all this “Hell Week” stuff is all about, The inspiration for the book, Character interviews with each main character, as well as a little about cadet life. I have six blog posts to do so I can cover all these requests with one or two to spare. So here goes. I hope you enjoy.

 

Before we get started, here is the blurb for Knobs.

Angus Conrad (Gus) McRae is a privileged Charlestonian following family tradition and attending the Citadel, harboring big dreams of a military career. With the infamous hell week behind him, he quickly realizes being a Knob (a freshman cadet) is just as tough—especially for a man like Gus who must keep his sexuality a secret. Then a sudden dorm reassignment places him in a room with one of the football team’s top players: working-class jock Stewart Adam (Sam) Morley—and life gets increasingly complicated.

Gus can’t imagine a man like Sam as gay, yet there’s something between them—exchanged glances, the occasional innuendo. Sexual tensions rise, leaving them more than friends but less than lovers. Gus and Sam know there’s too much to lose and they must keep their attraction hidden. If they fail, they risk destroying their hopes and dreams for a prosperous future in a military world that’s not yet ready to accommodate masculine gay men.

***

Sam sitting comfortably on his bunk in his dorm room waiting for Gus, looking a little nervous.

Q- While we wait for Gus why don’t you tell us about yourself Sam. And remember this is off the record. Nothing you say here can ever be used against you. I want the real story.

Sam sighed and seemed to relax just a bit.

A – Hey ya’ll. Sam teases drawing out the word like the Southerners do with much amusement.

I am Cadet Stewart Adam Morley and I am a freshman or a Knob at The Citadel, a conservative military academy located in Charleston, South Carolina. A ‘Knob’ is a freshman and during our first year attending the Citadel, we are pushed to our mental and physical limits day in and day out. So next time you’re feeling down, rejected, insulted, made fun of, or generally upset, just remember: it could be worse. You could be a Knob.

Each time I see an upperclassman, I have to tuck in my chin and shaved head until it becomes one with my neck, push out my hips, and arch my back with my hands at my sides. I must always know my next three meals by heart, and can be interrupted at any time in the non-existent privacy of our tiny rooms in the barracks. A room I share with Gus. I mean Cadet Angus Conrad McRae III. A mouthful huh? And speaking of, Sam looks at his watch.  I have no idea where he is. He was supposed to be here five minutes ago. He is normally very prompt. We all are. We have to be.

Life as a ‘Knob,’ makes me realize I am not as tough as I thought I was, but that I can do better, more than I ever thought I could.”

Q – Give us a little more about your personal life.

A – A little more about me? Well, I hail from Southfield, Michigan, just outside of Detroit and it wasn’t always what I’d call comfortable. While some of the areas were nice, the block I grew up on wasn’t the safest. But I knew the streets, knew what areas to avoid, and once I was behind the multiple locks on my front door, I always enjoyed a sense of security only home could provide.

When I’d finally decided to accept the football scholarship I was offered to the Citadel, the anxiety over leaving home wasn’t the only thing weighing heavily on me. I mean…I was twenty, and it was time, but the thought of my mom having to care for my younger siblings and herself without me around was daunting. I was the man of the house. I’d taken on that role at twelve when my stepdad had followed in the shoes of my real dad and split. No note, no forwarding address, just gone. Well, back then we hadn’t needed the lazy bastard. My mom and siblings had me. But now I was also leaving. Not like my father and stepdad had, but I was leaving all the same. It didn’t matter how many times Mom had tried to convince me otherwise, I’d felt like I was abandoning my family, my responsibilities, and it sucked.

When I left for the Citadel, I’d never been away from home. I knew nothing about Charleston, South Carolina. The people were all strangers, the streets unfamiliar. Yet it was going to be my home for the next four years.

I thought I was prepared, but that’s what I get for thinking so highly of myself. The entire Citadel system is designed to strip us of our individuality, ‘Knob year’ aims to make me a seamless part of the greater group. I must know the name of every upperclassman, or risk punishments, which includes running around the perimeter of the four story fortress in my underwear, so inside the barracks and outside the confines of my room, a word from me is rarely heard.

I’ve had the door to my room kicked open at all hours of the night, been berated for a single article of clothing out of place and then had all my articles of clothing pulled from my drawers and locker and tossed onto the floor. Once I was able to complete the pushups I was forced to do, again in my underwear, I might add, then and only then was I able to go back to my room and put everything away and prepare for another inspection.

Duty. Honor. Respect. Is my motto. And for the next four years I will eat, sleep, breathe and live it. Along with Sam of course. I can do anything if Sam is by my side.

The door opens and a handsome cadet walks in.

There you are. Sam says. Finally, this is my roommate Gus.

Gus is out of breath. Sorry. My class ran a little late.

No problem. Sam said. I covered the Knob stuff.

Q – He did. So just start by telling a little about yourself Gus.

A – Okay. Well, I guess I’ll start by telling you I come from what southerners might call a fine Charleston Family. Other non Charlestonian’s might simply call it a privileged upbringing, but either way I’m grateful for everything I had growing and everything I have now,” Gus says looking at Sam and winking.

Sam beams with pride. He leans over and squeezes Gus’ knee playfully.

Let’s see. My father is a Charleston attorney and he along with my grandfather are both graduates of the Citadel. It was a given that I would attend the Citadel, but what I was to major in? Now that was a different story. Since I was young, I always wanted a career in the military, but my family wants me to join the family law practice and this has been a very touchy subject and the source of many arguments between us since I was fifteen years old.”

Q – Were you groomed for the Citadel from a young age and were you prepared when you arrived?

A – Let’s just say I was groomed. In fact, by the time I was twelve, I had every book about the Citadel ever written and had even memorized the The Guidon.”

Q – The Guidon?

A – It’s the Knob bible, so to speak.

Q – I see.

A – So was I prepared? I thought I was. Or at least acted like I was. But let’s just say, the day before I was to report, in the solitude of my bedroom, with no prying eyes and no pretenses to keep up, I lowered my defenses and allowed myself a rare moment to doubt that I could really pull this off.

I mean…I stared at my bed and looked at the few things I was allowed to bring. And I thought. This stuff is going to be my life for the next four years. But that wasn’t completely true. The stuff on my bed along with grueling physical training and an impossible academics schedule—that was going to be my life. I think I’d just been determined to be strong. But then I remember thinking about Hell Week and breaking into a cold sweat, my stomach starting to churn. I had to get through hell week or nothing else mattered.

So outwardly, yeah I thought I was prepared. But to be honest, even my worst nightmares didn’t compare to the real thing.

But everything changed when I saw Sam across a room on matriculation day. He’d already been through Hell Week because the Corps Squad, I mean the athletes, have matriculation day one week ahead of the rest of the Knobs. We locked eyes and although we hadn’t met, I felt a connection to him. And right then and there I knew if he could do it, so could I. And I did.

Q – Is that when you two met?

A – Not really. No.

Q – Then when?”

A – On second day of hell week, my roommate quit and I was left without a roommate. And then Sam came through the door carrying his duffle bags. That the first time we officially met.

We’d locked eyes across a couple crowded rooms but we’d never even said hello. The funny thing is that when we did meet, we didn’t really hit it off.

Q – You didn’t?

A – No. Sam thought I was a privileged asshole, and maybe I was a little, but I tried not to be.

Q – Its obvious you two care about each other now. When did that happen?

A – Care doesn’t begin to capture what we have.

Q- Okay sorry. So how do you maintain a relationship with so many restrictions?

A – Let’s just say we make do.

Gus and Sam both looked at the back of their dorm room door.

A – We spend a lot of time there.

Q – At the back of the door?

A – Yep. It’s the only place we can be intimate. And by intimate, I mean steal a kiss every now and then.

Q – Just a kiss? No sex?

A – No sex. We could get expelled for that, but we manage. I can wait for this man as long as it takes. But I don’t want to sacrifice our educations for something that we can wait for.

Q – Okay Cadets. I think I get the idea. Thanks for you time.

A – Our pleasure.

In closing, I hope this gives you a good understanding of the discipline required to attend the Citadel and just a sneak peak into Gus and Sam’s world. The fact that they were able to find unexpected love in such a demanding environment and make it work shows the depth of their commitment. If you’ve ever been pushed to your limits, I’d like to hear about it. Please posts and each entry will be eligible for a free copy of “The Royal Street Heist.” Book one in the Bissonet & Cruz Investigations series.

Check out Knobs today!

 

Here’s where you can find me and “Knobs”, as well as my other stories.

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Dreamspinner Author Arcade

Amazon Author Page

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Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years.   He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication.  When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side.  Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, most of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there.  He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.

Excerpt:

“Are you gonna come in and close the door behind you?” Gus asked sarcastically. “Or are all the cadets going to get to see me in my underwear?”

Sam was sort of standing there more for effect than anything, but his eyes were glued to Gus’s body. His stomach was ripped, and the muscles in his thighs were visible through the legs of his boxer briefs.

“Okay,” Sam said. “If I close the door, will you at least talk to me?”

Gus shook his head. “I really don’t think you want to hear what I have to say right now.”

“I think you’re wrong about that,” Sam said, stepping in and allowing the door to close behind him.

Sam removed his cover and tossed it onto his bunk. He was tired of this cat-and-mouse game. Instead of untying his shoes, he brought his left foot up and tugged at his shoe until it came off. He tossed the shoe into the bottom of his locker, making quite the thud, and removed the right one much the same way.

He turned and rested his hands on his hips. “Are you gonna talk to me now?”

Gus didn’t respond. He went to his closet, removed his toiletries bag, and headed for the door. Sam took two steps forward, put both hands on Gus’s shoulders, spun him around, and backed him up against the door.

Their faces were so close Sam could feel Gus’s warm breath against his cheek.

Sam slammed one hand against the back of the door while leaving the other one on Gus’s shoulder. “Fuck, Gus! Yell at me. Curse me out. Do something. Don’t just give me the silent treatment. You’re not leaving this room until you talk to me.”

Gus smiled incredulously. “So, what? You’re gonna hold me hostage now?”

“If that’s what it takes,” Sam said.

“Fine! You want me to talk? Here goes. You are the most selfish bastard I’ve ever met. You’ve treated me like shit since the first day we met, and I’m not going to be your punching bag anymore. Please go to the Academic Officer and ask for a transfer. Tell him we’re incompatible. I’ll back you up on that one.”

“I don’t want a transfer,” Sam said, his lips now inches away from Gus’s.

“Why not?” Gus said quietly through clenched teeth, just in case there were any stray cadets roaming around in the hall. “You’ve done everything possible to offend me and my family. Why not move on to another cadet? Go ahead, man, share the charms of Stewart Adam Morley with the entire Citadel, one cadet at a time.”

Gus glared at him, the normal bright silver-gray of his eyes now a dark, gloomy gray. “Furthermore, you can fuck with me all you want, but leave my crazy family out—”

Sam had heard enough. Before Gus could finish his sentence, Sam covered Gus’s lips in a crushing kiss.

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