Character Spotlight: Ruth

June 1, 2015

Ruth is a relatively minor character in the book, but she’s a major influence in Clay’s life. She’s definitely a mother figure to him, and really to all of the boys who frequent her establishment. She’s a woman ahead of her time, and she came by it honestly–through a life full of experiences and heartbreaks of her own.

Excerpt:

It wasn’t just the connection to Clay’s business that was putting her at risk, either. Every Wednesday night for the past two years, she’d closed the bar for “private parties.” Everyone who wanted to come paid five dollars to become a “member of the club” for that evening only, and of course no one was forced to give a real name. Clay’s boys were welcome to come, but no one conducted business on those evenings. These were social events, open to men and women, though the majority of the attendees were male. Clay wished they could get more women, and had been thinking of how he might be better able to get the word out to the dykes. A more mixed crowd might seem less suspicious.

She’d started up these parties after a late-night conversation with Clay, a few months after he’d gotten involved with Silas. They had been sitting in the bar, and she’d come around to sit by him on a stool, sipping a large glass of gin.

You seem different these days,” she said. “Used to be, sometimes I felt like I was talking to a block of wood, you were so damn stoic. And when you weren’t being stoic, you were dour.”

Clay nodded, running his thumb through the condensation on the side of his glass. “I feel different,” he said. “It’s the first time I feel like maybe nothing is really wrong with me. I know I—I always said that, before. It’s not wrong, it’s not bad, just different. That was what I said, and what I believed in my mind to be true. But I never really… felt like it was true, because it had never made me happy before. Even with David, when I thought I was so in love with him, it was always sad. But now,” he said, looking up at her, unable to stop a grin from spreading all across his face, “now I have something that feels real, and good, and I’m so happy. Even if it doesn’t work out, and we eventually split up or something, now I know that this is possible.”

Ruth turned away, and amazingly, Clay saw her surreptitiously swipe at her eyes. She’d told him once that she had a soft spot for “boys like you,” but he didn’t know why. Not being one to pry, he’d never asked her, but he wanted to now. “How come most people hate us, but you don’t?” he asked.

She shrugged and gave him a wry smile. He caught a glimpse of the sexy woman she must have been once. He thought she must have been intimidating. “Honey, I’ve seen a lot of life. Been divorced once and widowed twice, and had my share of lovers in between. I’ve seen some good things, but a hell of a lot more bad. I’ve seen death and cruelty and poverty. I’ve seen a great many things worse than two men who want to screw each other, or two women. Good Lord, why should anyone care about that? They say all kinds of nonsense about it, like it leads to depravity, right? Well, anyone with any life experience knows that desperation is what leads to depravity—desperation, fear, deprivation. And that’s not your fault, it’s theirs.”

Clay had never hugged Ruth before, wasn’t inclined to hug anyone, ever, except Silas, but the impulse was sudden and irresistible. He put his drink down and lunged forward, grabbing her in a hug and making her splash a little gin down the front of her dress. “Sorry,” he said, sniffing back tears.

Ruth was laughing, and crying a little more herself. “That’s all right, son,” she said, and their eyes met briefly. “Gin don’t stain.” She gazed at him some more like she was thinking through something, then said, “I got an idea. Tell me what you think….”

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Available in Paperback and E-book

 

My I’ll Still Be There Soundrack

June 1, 2015

I made a playlist on Spotify. Some of these are songs I think my characters would like, and others are just ones that came to mind for me. Most of it’s classy, but there is a “one of these things does not belong” moment, which no one will get until the sequel comes out. :) What’s your favorite love song? If I get enough responses, I’ll make a fan playlist!

Follow me on Spotify and we can talk music!

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I’ll Still Be There, available at Dreamspinner Press

 

Custom Fiction For YOU! Make me write something!

June 1, 2015

Ever wish you could read a story that’s exactly what YOU want? Now’s your chance! Post a prompt in the comments, and I will pick one winner to receive an original ficlet from me. M/M or MMM+ is preferable, but you could talk me into writing MMF if the prompt appeals to me. :D The prompt can be anything: a line of dialogue, a situation, a trope, whatever you want to read about. It’s your story!

allabout you

Buy I’ll Still Be There, by Keelan Ellis at Dreamspinner Press

Character Spotlight: Clay

June 1, 2015

Clay is probably my favorite character in I’ll Still Be There. He has a pretty healthy outlook on life love, and he’s just a real sweetheart. I hope you like him as much as I do. Here’s a short bio and an excerpt from the book.

Clay Bailey was born in 1922. The son of two leftist intellectuals, he grew up with a strong sense of social justice and equality, but he always knew that his parents’ egalitarian beliefs had their limits. As a teenager, Clay confirmed the desires he’d been feeling for years when he began an affair with a college student and protege of Clay’s father. After the inevitable discovery, Clay finds himself on his own and must do whatever he can to survive. Clay struggles not only to survive, but to find self-acceptance and even love in a world that he feels would prefer to close its eyes to the truth.

 

***These are just some dudes from the 30s that I found on Pinterest, but that one on the right could look a little bit like Clay. :)

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Excerpt:

 Clay’s parents were out of the house on a Friday night the next time Christopher came around. Clay was confused when he opened the door, thinking Christopher must have gotten mixed up.

 

“The meeting is at the Walkers’ house tonight,” Clay said.

 

“I—yes. Yes, I know. I, ah, wanted to speak with you, actually. Could I come in for a few minutes?”

 

Clay stood aside and held the door. Christopher walked into the parlor and stood nervously in the middle of the room. “Do you suppose I could have a drink?”

 

Though Christopher seemed incredibly nervous, Clay felt strangely calm. He could see everything, all at once, as clearly as if he were watching a film. He knew exactly what was going to happen, and he realized he wanted it to happen. He walked to the bar and poured the man a double, then brought it over to him and sat down on the sofa. Christopher stood awkwardly and looked at Clay, then sat down on the sofa too, leaving about two feet in between them.

“I’m—I wanted to apologize to you. I fear I behaved quite inappropriately when I was here a couple weeks back. I should never have disturbed you in your room. I just—I think you’re—I wanted to talk to you, but it’s difficult to do it when everyone is here. But it was out of line, and I’m so sorry….” He was beet red, and turned away from Clay as he took a large gulp of his drink.

 

“You only asked about my book,” Clay said, smiling at him. “Did you want to ask me about something else?”

 

Christopher looked sharply at him, though Clay was speaking mildly. Clay held his gaze, and Christopher downed the rest of his drink. “Sometimes I think you—you look at me,” he said, his voice hushed and halting.

 

Clay did nothing for a long time as the silence crackled all around him, then finally nodded. He would have spoken, but he didn’t know what to say. He licked his lips, and then Christopher was leaning toward him, closing the distance with jerky, hesitant movements. Clay had never kissed anyone, but he was ready to do it now. He moved forward to meet the young man, and their lips pressed together softly. He could smell the whiskey on Christopher’s breath. Christopher backed away quickly, looking everywhere but at Clay’s face.

 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I should go. I—this is not right. You’re just a kid, I’m so sorry.” He pushed his tumbler into Clay’s hand and stood up.

 

“I’m seventeen,” Clay said quickly, “not such a kid. I already know what I am. It wasn’t you.” He felt foolish now, as if the whole thing had been his fault. He was close to tears, but he didn’t want to cry in front of Christopher. Then he really would seem like a child.

 

“It was wrong. I should go. Please—oh God, please don’t tell your parents.”

Clay could only shake his head, but Christopher was already heading for the door. Clay got up and went after him, catching him by the arm on the front porch. They stared at each other in the porch light’s dim yellow glow, and every detail was vivid to Clay in that moment. Moths flitted about, banging up against the screen, and a fine sheen of sweat coated Christopher’s pale face. They kissed, not hesitantly like they had on the couch, but deeply, their bodies pressed close together. Clay felt as if he were in a dream and a nightmare all at once, both lost and found, and he knew he’d never stop wanting this. There was just nothing for it.

I’ll Still Be There Blog Release Party

June 1, 2015

Hi! I’m Keelan Ellis, and today is the release of my new book, I’ll Still Be There. I’ll be around for the next few hours, and I have some really great giveaways for today only, plus lots of other great stuff planned for today including character bios, excerpts and more. First up: Gift Basket Giveaway! To be entered to win this beautiful gift basket, all you have to do is go to keelanellis.blogspot.com and sign up for my mailing list.

I’ll Still Be There is available for sale at Dreamspinner Press and Amazon. Check it out!

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Second-Story Man Excerpt

May 29, 2015
The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

Hello again. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. You can find my book here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

But you can read an excerpt here and now:

A hot August night is always good for an open window or two, and I’d spotted one on a deserted street. It looked like an easy climb. From the entrance stair it was a short hop onto the balustrade, an arm’s reach to the segmental pediment, and one last stretch across the brownstone wall. By the time I reached the second-story window, I figured out the climb wasn’t as easy as the construction-site scaffolds I was used to. Biker boots aren’t made for climbing. A tank top was great for showing off my brown-skinned muscles, but for climbing up a building it was stupid—I was all scratched up. If I’d planned this, I’d’ve worn a heavier shirt, with long sleeves.
My raw hands throbbed, but at least I made it. I peered inside. The room was dark, but the streetlight showed me enough. Just what I was looking for: a laptop on the dresser. I’d seen ’em at the pawnshop going for five or six hundred—that’s all the money I needed. Across from the dresser was a bed with some white guy—sleeping like a baby. His blanket was pushed down. The guy was half-naked because of the heat, and leaner than me. If I had to, I could take him.
I climbed in without a stir from the bed and headed straight for the computer. Shit! What was that? My own reflection in the dresser mirror made me jump. Suck it up, Carlos—you can do this. Still, my nerves were on edge. How did that gringo not hear my heart pounding? My sweaty hands were shaking as I struggled to unplug the laptop. Suddenly, something caught my eye. The reflection was big and looming up behind me—
Everything went dark. Sound was muffled. I was suffocating.
Gasping, I struggled against a fabric trap, clawing to free myself until I felt a full body blow take me down to the hard floor. The wind was knocked out of me, and the gringo was on top of me. Then I felt an excruciating whack across my forehead, and my world spun out of control.

Oh, man. What happened?
My head was whirling. I wasn’t sure I could open my eyes.
I took a deep breath, then forced one eye open. Too bright. Blurry. I think I was still in the same room. I opened the other eye, tilted my head. Man, did it hurt. A table lamp was glowing and I must’ve been in the bed. Hey, where’s my shirt? I looked around and there’s that gringo, sitting in the chair next to the bed. How’d that guy manage to get the jump on me? He was still half-naked, wearing some boxers, and he was holding—a bat!
“What the… I’m gettin’ the hell outta here.” I started to get up, but my head was spinning and— “Where’re my pants, ya faggot?” I was naked in this guy’s bed. “What’d ya do to me?”
“Me? I didn’t do anything. I picked you up at the bar. On the way home you got gay-bashed. I brought you up here because I think you might have a concussion. You’ll need to get some sleep.”
“Hey, man, I’m no faggot,” I yelled, making my head hurt all the more.
“Really? Then why are you naked in my bed?” Man, he was right. This really didn’t look good. “Whacking you with a bat could get me into trouble. Climbing in my window could get you into trouble. Nobody will bother to investigate some random gay-bashing.”
“So what now?” I felt trapped, but I defiantly dared him to answer. “Ya wanna fuck me?”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I don’t waste my time with straight guys—too much drama.”

***

This is a very unusual way to meet and it sure doesn’t seem like these guys are off to a very good start. But stranger things have happened. In fact I’m hoping that you’ll tell me some strange way that you’ve met someone special in your life.

I’m running a contest to give away an ebook copy of Second-Story Man. All that you have to do is have the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner just before 11AM Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too. I’ll be here answering questions for another hour.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man Release Party

May 29, 2015

Hi everyone. I’m Robert P. Rowe and I’ve taken over the Dreamspinner Press blog site to tell you all about my novel that has just been released today, ‘Second-Story Man.’

Here’s the address to find the novel at a discount for the release party:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Many readers choose books by simply following their favorite author. But how does that author become a favorite in the first place? Somebody has to take a chance and then they tell their friends. This release party should give you a chance to get to know me, and my writing—and maybe help you decide to give me a chance.

The next thing that draws a reader in is the title. These are just about the most important words in the book—especially for the first time novelist. The title has to be intriguing—it has to promise the reader something.

I carefully chose the word play of ‘Second-Story Man.’ The obvious definition is for some sort of a thief. But the title also offers the subtle promise that the story of our lives is not written in stone—we have the power to change that story—we have the power to choose a second story for our lives. I’m never satisfied following the same path everyday and neither are my characters.

They say, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but people do anyway. For that reason the cover has to grab your attention. Dreamspinner Press art director Paul Richmond created the cover, but I created the cover concept. I’ll tell you more about that later. For now I hope that you’ll just enjoy the cover.

Second-Story Man Cover

Second-Story Man Cover

‘Second-Story Man’ is a 260-page, 95,000 word novel and believe it or not the most important words aren’t even in the book they are in the blurb. These are the words that will get a reader to decide to open the book or move along to the next option. Here’s the blurb:

Offering a would-be thief a second chance is risky—especially when he could steal your heart.

Carlos had it all: a good-paying construction job, a truck, a rental house and his girl. Then he lost his job and everything else along with it. Desperate, he turns to crime—only to fail in his first attempt when he accidentally climbs into the wrong window. Carlos has to rethink his life when his victim becomes his only friend.

Michael has lost too many times in love. Prince Charming won’t be knocking at his door, with its do-not-disturb sign permanently in place, when fate finds Carlos climbing into his window. Michael’s compassion for this down-and-out lost soul turns to friendship. But Michael can’t allow things to go any further and still feel safe from heartbreak.

There are no accidents, and the second-story man discovers that in life and love there can be a second story.

***

When I signed up for this blog I was told that most authors have some sort of contest and offer some sort of giveaway. That sounded like a great idea to me. I wanted to offer a trip to Hawaii to the hottest single guy. I couldn’t think of a better way to promote myself than to let some lucky guy really get to know me.

Sadly I was informed that DSP really wants to promote the book instead. They recommended a contest that offers an ebook copy of ‘Second-Story Man’ as the giveaway. It seems rather ordinary to me, but I guess they know what they are talking about.

In an effort to make the contest a little more extraordinary I decided that the winner should have the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

It would be nice if this person became a love interest, but meeting a friend will do. It just needs to be an unusual meeting. Of course, I’m asking the question because it’s an unusual meeting that triggers the events of ‘Second-Story Man.’

Again, the reader with the most interesting answer will be the winner of the giveaway. I’ll be announcing the winner later on this morning.

I’ll be posting more about the book and answering your questions too. I’m here until 11AM Eastern Time. You’ll have to do the math to figure out what time that is where you live. Send me your comments, questions and answers.

Oh, and here are some links to my blog and my website:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

We Interrupt this Meeting…

May 26, 2015

To share some mid-day entertaining eye candy.

_18A6736 R

This is Aleks.  I’ve had the great pleasure of working with him three different times and I loved each and every one of them. He is so manly and yet so comfortable acting vulnerable or giddy.  He can project so many different emotions so easily.  He’s originally from Bulgaria. I think he’d look great on a book cover some day.

Who Am I?

May 26, 2015

Sometimes I wonder who I am. One of these days I need to decide what I want to do when I grow up because the years seem to keep rush past all to quickly. During the week I spend my days working at a small organization in downtown Washington, DC. My office is a block or so from the White House so we’re right in the heart of the city and most days I hear motorcades rushing past just outside my window.

In the ideal world I wouldn’t have to go to the daytime job but could stay home and write, take pictures of hot men for use on book covers, and yes, even clean the house occasionally even though the dog hates the vacuum cleaner. But instead I’m sitting in a demo of a new piece of software. My job is to help people find technical solutions to problems they have. In other words, I help people spend money.

Right now I’m helping some folks find the right software to host their large and complicated website. Since they’re looking at spending more than a quarter of a million dollars they are eager to get it right. I’ve done this for years and I’m good at it, but I’d still rather be writing, even though writing doesn’t earn most people much money. So I go to my office to pay the mortgage and keep the dog in treats.

When not working, I love to read, write, photograph handsome men, and even occasionally travel. My goal is to see as much of this world of ours as possible. So far I’ve been to 29 countries and 46 of the 50 US states. I love meeting people even though I’m fairly shy and reserved. So in a nutshell, that’s me.

… and the winners…

May 23, 2015

Denise and Puppymama. ONE of you has to get Walking Wounded – you both can, if you like. Please email me at lee.rowan@yahoo (dot) com.

Thanks, everyone! Have a great Memorial day weekend!

Lee