April 25, 2017
Oftentimes readers ask, what inspired you to write this story? Usually, I can point to exact experiences, current events, and other creative works that inspired a story for me. In the case of THE BRAVEST THING, it was a poem, a television show, and a tragedy.
The poem is “Trevor” by Ocean Vuong, a deeply personal account of a love affair between two teens, one of whom is struggling with his sexuality in the face of an unaccepting father-figure. I loved the intimacy and honesty of this poem, and it made me want to translate into story-form the stakes and risks associated with coming out in a community that doesn’t approve, and the bonds we form with friends and lovers that must sometimes supplement or supplant the love and support we would otherwise receive from our families.
The television show is Friday Night Lights (Texas Forever). FNL covered a wide range of sensitive subjects, including racism, addiction, sexual assault, and poverty, but it didn’t touch on homophobia, which is a shame because it’s an important conversation, and FNL could have given the topic wide and diverse exposure. Similar to FNL, I wanted to recreate the small-town Texas vibe, the almost godlike status of football players, and the conflicts that occur when you have to break away from the herd to stand up for what’s right.
The third inspiration for me was more accurately a motivation. I was at the very early stages of drafting THE BRAVEST THING when the Pulse shooting occurred. I don’t think mainstream America has given this tragedy the gravitas it deserved. Nor do I think enough discussion has been had about the ways in which toxic masculinity saturates every aspect of our lives, from the way our children are conditioned at an early age to act a certain way to how we as a society idolize athletes and celebrities at the expense of accountability.
The Pulse massacre galvanized my commitment to exploring the roots of homophobia, and in particular, how hate crimes affect already vulnerable individuals, for instance, those struggling with addiction and recovering from abuse. I also wanted to show why a victim might choose to let a hate crime go unreported, as are two-thirds of hate crimes in the U.S.
Some authors prefer to keep politics out of their writing. For me, all of my writing is political. Part of the reason I chose early on in my career to write for young adult audiences is because I am actively trying to change hearts and minds. While THE BRAVEST THING deals with heavy topics that may be more appropriate for older audiences, I would say that these are precisely the conversations we need to be having with teens while they are still forming their opinions on the world. (Adults should be having these conversations as well, so please don’t think I mean for them to be excluded.)
Because the main characters in THE BRAVEST THING are teens, it would have been a hard sell in the adult mainstream market. On the other hand, mainstream YA publishing would not have touched it, not necessarily because of the violence, but because of its graphic depictions of gay sex. This too was a deliberate choice on my part because young people (and adults) of all sexual orientations should be offered the opportunity to read and learn about a variety of sexual experiences, so that two men kissing doesn’t shock or offend, but is met with a shrug or a sigh and maybe even a, “isn’t that romantic?”
So my final sentiment is to say I’m grateful to Dreamspinner Press for being so supportive of my creative works, so wonderful to work with, and offering me a platform to publish stories that are outside of mainstream so that I might find my readers, and they might find me as well.
I hope you’ll give THE BRAVEST THING a try. If you have any questions about the story, please feel free to email me at lauralascarso(at)yahoo(dot)com. Thank you for your patronage!
Check out The Bravest Thing today!
High school junior Berlin Webber is about to reap the fruits of his hard work and land a football scholarship—if he can keep his sexuality a secret from his best friend, Trent, and their homophobic coach. Then Hiroku Hayashi swerves into the high school parking lot on his tricked-out motorcycle like some sexy comic book villain, and Berlin knows he doesn’t stand a chance.
Hiroku is fleeing his sophisticated urban scene to recover from drug addiction and an abusive relationship when he arrives in Berlin’s small Texas ranch town. Initially sarcastic and aloof, Hiroku finds in Berlin a steady, supportive friend who soon becomes more. As Hiroku and Berlin’s romance blossoms, they take greater risks to be together. But when a horrific act of violence tears them apart, they both must look bigotry in the face. While Berlin has always turned to his faith for strength, Hiroku dives into increasingly dangerous ways of coping, pushing them in opposite directions just when they need each other most.
Two very different young men search for the bravery to be true to themselves, the courage to heal, and the strength to go on when things seem darkest. But is it enough to bring them back together?
About Laura Lascarso:
Laura Lascarso aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform a society. She lives in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. Her debut novel, Counting Backwards (Simon & Schuster 2012) won the Florida Book Award gold medal for young adult literature.
For social critiques, writer puns, and Parks and Rec gifs, follow her on Twitter @lauralascarso
November 9, 2016
Release day is always exciting! Today is November 9th and the release of my newest novella You Belong With Me. There are some of you who may know me from my first novel from Dreamspinner Press, Touch Me Gently, but for those who don’t, I’m J.R. Loveless, and I have been writing gay romance for a little over ten years now. Dreamspinner gave me a chance in 2010 and I have been publishing with them ever since. My long term dream is to be able to spend my days writing, but until then, I work in an office as a manager of a System Support department while dreaming up countless stories I hope to bring to you all someday.
Many of us have experienced, or are experiencing right now, the most painful of all type of loves – unrequited. There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching from afar as the person we want to be with showers their affection and attention on someone else. Except when they’re your best friend and they don’t even realize you’re in love with them. Because then it’s an up close and personal view that you wish you never had to witness.
In You Belong With Me, Scott is in love with his best friend Craig and has been for some time. He’s been there to experience the heartache of Craig falling for someone for the first time and then having to listen as Craig tells him everything about the relationship, including the night Craig lost his virginity. The story is told from the POVs of Scott, Craig, and Scott’s twin sister Karen, giving you the perspective of an outsider who cares very deeply for Scott and would love nothing more than to knock some sense into Craig. Maybe some will be able to relate with Scott and some may even be able to relate with Craig, but hopefully by the end of the story you’ll be cheering for them both. Just don’t hate on either too much because without communication misunderstandings happen and yes, Craig does do something which some may find unforgivable, but you’ll have to read the story to find out!
Keep reading for an excerpt to whet your taste buds and give you a glimpse of what is to come in You Belong With Me.
Want to win a free e-book copy of You Belong With Me or have your choice of one of my backlog if you’ve already pre-ordered or purchased YBWM? Then post a comment answering this question: What is the one thing you’ve wanted more than anything in the world and did you get it? A random winner will be chosen from the commentators! Please include your email address so I know how to contact you.
Check out You Belong With Me today!
Scott has been in love with his best friend Craig for years, but watching Craig with his manipulative boyfriend has worn Scott down, and he knows he needs a break from the pain and maybe a change of scenery and perspective. His twin sister, Karen, convinces him to spend a summer in Paris.
Karen is sick and tired of seeing Scott suffer, and she’s not going to stand for it anymore. She confronts Craig and tells him what he’s been missing by spurning Scott’s affection in favor of a jerk who mistreats him.
When Craig unknowingly breaks Scott’s heart, Craig opens his eyes—and his own heart—to the possibility of a future with Scott. He plans to use the time while Scott’s abroad to orchestrate a romantic surprise that will show Scott they belong together. But when he sees Scott with another man at the airport, Craig fears he’s too late.
Anger and hurt simmered beneath the surface as Scott slammed the door behind him. He was glad the house was empty, because he didn’t want to talk to anyone. The fact that for the first time in four years Craig wasn’t there at lunch and didn’t even text him made him so angry, but the anger paled in comparison to the pain he felt. As the lunch hour had ticked by and he came to the realization Craig wasn’t coming, it had felt like a sharp knife in his stomach. A hollow feeling had swamped him on his way home. His best friend had forgotten him.
Scott’s eyes stung but he gritted his teeth and refused to let the tears fall. He wouldn’t allow Derek to do this to him. He wouldn’t cry. He tossed himself across his bed and buried his face in the pillow. Somehow Derek had guessed his feelings toward Craig and, whenever he could, went out of his way to make Craig hurt Scott without realizing it. The bastard was so coldhearted he made the devil seem nice.
Scott had gotten each and every one of Craig’s texts, but he knew if he responded, Craig would get the brunt of his pain and anger. Before he spoke to him, he needed to get control of his emotions. If he didn’t, he’d wind up blurting out something he shouldn’t. More than likely it would be about Derek being an asshole, and it might cause a rift between them too wide to repair. He’d lose Craig for sure.
Scott allowed his mind to drift as he lay there. The internship to France being offered by Emerson was starting to look better and better every day. Maybe some time away would be a good thing. If he could get over the way he felt about Craig, his emotions could even out and he wouldn’t constantly have to worry about destroying their friendship. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on breathing in and out slowly. Eventually he started to fall asleep. Only there was no peace, even in his dreams. Immediately he started dreaming of Craig.
Craig kissed his way down Scott’s spine, lips traveling over each vertebrae slowly. He smoothed his calloused hands over Scott’s arms and shoulders with calculating accuracy. Scott moaned when he felt Craig’s hot breath on his lower back, just above his pale rear end. The moan grew louder as Craig slid the tip of his wet tongue along the beginning of the crease leading to Scott’s tight entrance. Sweat built along his skin in a fine sheen at the roar of pleasure that rushed through him. Craig tenderly spread Scott’s cheeks open with his strong hands, baring the puckered channel dying to feel him inside. A small cry rattled in Scott’s throat when his tongue came into contact with Scott’s hole. Quick lapping motions against him made Scott’s cock throb painfully against the sheets. But when Craig probed into his body, Scott heard himself shamelessly begging, “Please.”
He felt Craig smile. “Please what?” Craig asked huskily.
“Craig,” Scott whimpered.
“I want you inside of me,” he growled in frustration.
Craig laughed softly and rose up to press the full length of his body over Scott’s. Scott could feel Craig’s hard prick rubbing into the crease of his ass. “Do you, Scott?”
“God yes,” he hissed.
The blunt tip of Craig’s dick nudged the entrance to his hole. Scott reached back with one hand to grip at his hip to try to pull him inside. He shuddered when he felt Craig drop a kiss on the nape of his neck. His firm lips grazed Scott’s ear as he whispered, “I love you, Scott.”
Just when he started to enter him, Scott heard his name again from a distance. Then someone was shaking him. “Scott, wake up.”
Find Me Here:
November 7, 2016
Stories about sports figures and athletes abound in gay romance. I’m Robert P. Rowe and I was looking for a way to have my characters stand out in the field. There are plenty of books about football players but hidden beneath all that battle armor it’s hard to get a good look at the man inside. On the other hand baseball players are hot. A baseball cap and a tight jersey lets sports fans see just what these all-American boys are made of.
I also like stories about ordinary guys doing extraordinary things. I think stories about ordinary guys give all readers hope that they don’t need to be a millionaire to find love and success. In my first book for Dreamspinner Press, Second-Story Man, my main character, Carlos, was an out-of-work construction worker. He came from a Latino heritage but he couldn’t have been more all-American in his pursuit of the American Dream.
In The Outfielders my main characters are also struggling with economic problems. Like Carlos, these guys are in their mid-twenties, but unlike Carlos they are not trying to get by on their own. One of the sad consequences of a poor economy is that too many young people have been forced to delay leaving home to live on their own. For some families this isn’t a big deal. As adult children mature they are naturally expected to take on more adult responsibilities—while living with their parents.
But other families don’t know how to adapt to this change. They had expected that the kids would move out for college or a good job to mature on their own. The great recession seems to have thrown a wrench into this American dream. And the problem isn’t restricted to the United States. According to my senior editor, the UK has the same problem and this group is known derogatorily as kidults.
For this group of new adults, forced to continue living at home, they are not forced to take on adult responsibilities. Mom is still cooking and cleaning and Dad is still paying all of the bills. Some of my nieces and nephews are in this position and all of them have friends like this.
That’s where Tony and Alex find themselves too. They don’t realize that they are immature. Living at home is the only life they’ve ever known. But they have dreams.
A company sponsored baseball team enables these guys to continue their adolescent pursuits and fills their time while they figure out what they want from life and love. Baseball had some other advantages as a story device and the most important one is that I know the game. While I wrote The Outfielders I knew that someone would catch me if I messed up on any of the baseball rules or jargon. There are all sorts of nuances that can’t be overlooked when you’re writing a book—and one can’t expect the editors to find sports errors. I needed another kind of editor to help me out. I sent excerpts from the book off to a young sports writer. I was pleased to learn that most of my ball field scenes were accurate but he added words and phrases that gave the story the right kind of color. “Down the middle,” “popup,” and “tricky offspeed pitching” are not terms that come up in my everyday vocabulary. My favorite word was “bobbled.”
This contemporary romance takes place in the early part of 2016 and the book was released just three days before the Cubs broke their long losing streak so I couldn’t really know to add that little detail into the story—could I?
Baseball is a slow moving game and that just about sums up my main character, Tony. He’s not the brightest guy so it takes him a bit longer to figure things out. Readers fell in love with Carlos because taming the bad boy is a popular fantasy. I’m hoping that readers will find Tony to be charming in his innocence. It is one of the things that makes Tony an ordinary guy. It’s also one of the things that makes his later accomplishments seem all the more extraordinary.
Tony’s been hiding his secret crush, and the fact that he’s gay, for years. He hides another secret too. He really likes to bake cookies. With that in mind I’ve included one of Tony’s favorite recipes here. There’s no better way to curl up with a good book than to have a batch of fresh baked cookies nearby. Enjoy.
Pumpkin Spice Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking power
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
3. Add flour, spice, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
4. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least one hour.
5. Pour additional 1/2 cup sugar into bowl.
6. Spoon rounded teaspoons of dough into balls. Drop and roll balls in sugar.
7. Place on greased or sprayed cookie sheet.
8. Using bottom of glass dipped in water and sugar, flatten each ball on the cookie sheet.
Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake 5 minutes.
Check out The Outfielders today!
Sometimes love can come out of left field.
Tony was waiting until he went away to college to come out to his parents and start his new gay life. Unfortunately, at twenty-four, it doesn’t look like college is going to happen after all. Stuck in a dead-end job in a small town and still living at home, with all the arrested development that entails, he finds escape in playing for the company baseball team and lusting after his straight outfielder crush, Alex. But Tony’s best friend, Jennifer, thinks she’s found a plan in the pages of gay romance novels. All Tony has to do is convince Alex he’s gay for you… or for Tony. It’s easy—just find some excuse to be alone in bed together and let nature take its course. What could possibly go wrong?
You can’t get to first base if you don’t take a chance and step up to the plate.
Where to buy:
Barnes and Noble
Robert P. Rowe has spent his entire career as a storyteller making an incredible leap from Disneyland ride operator to show-designer and art director at Walt Disney Imagineering. Immersive storytelling presents a distinctive challenge unlike that of live theater, film, radio, or print media. Although he currently freelances, his work can be found around the world, primarily in Disney and Universal Studios parks. The theme park industry is a very cyclical business where it’s either feast or famine. For Rowe his active imagination can’t seem to take any time off. When he’s not designing fantastic worlds he’s writing about the characters who live there. Additionally his outside interests include all aspects of architecture with a specific fascination for the theatrical design of homes from mid-century movies and television. He has a keen enthusiasm for mid-century science fiction.
Author Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
October 21, 2016
Hey, all! My name is j. leigh bailey and I’m really excited to be here today talking about my recent release GUYLINER, which came out on October 17. I’m an office drone by day, but when I’m not stuck behind my cubical, I write male/male Young Adult and New Adult Romance. There’s just something about helping my guys discover the world of acceptance, relationships, and romance that keeps me coming back to my computer.
Every author has that one book they wrote that means the most to them, or that holds a special place in their hearts. For me, GUYLINER is the one. Despite being the fifth book I’ve released, this was the first book I wrote. It was the first story that called to me so much I couldn’t put it away, no matter how much I struggled to put the thoughts and experiences of my characters into words.
I can’t even explain what it means to me to see this book out in the world. There are no words. Part of that is because of Taco Bell Guy.
Whenever someone asks me about where I find my inspiration, my answer is usually pretty random. You know, a word or a phrase, an idea, something like that. Rarely can I actually say that I was inspired by an individual. That’s not the case for GUYLINER.
For this book, I found my inspiration at Taco Bell.
I blame fate. Maybe blame is the wrong word. I credit fate.
As a single woman who spent a lot of time driving for work, and to and from work, and to and from different organizations’ meetings and events, I spent an embarrassing amount of time (and money) at fast food restaurants. One night I broke habit and actually went inside my local Taco Bell. A couple things are significant here: first, 99.9% of the time, I specifically chose restaurants that had drive-thrus. Second, it was raining the proverbial cats and dogs, so I had total incentive to stay in my car. But for some reason, I chose to eat inside.
My cashier was a young guy—probably fifteen or so. He had shaggy black hair that hung in his face, and he didn’t look up at me once during the ordering process. Normally I’d have been upset by this—I’ve worked enough customer service jobs that I tend to be a pretty harsh critic when people don’t at least try to appear friendly and open. But I’d noticed he had some pretty severe burn scars and skin grafts on his arm, from his wrist and up over his elbow. I figured he was probably shy, and maybe a little self-conscious, so I decided not to be too judgey.
When I’d paid and gotten my receipt, I said, “thank you.” It was then that he looked up. This kid, this shy, self-effacing kid was wearing thick black eyeliner that showed off bright blue eyes. The combination intrigued me. I’d seen guys in eyeliner before, but the ones I’d see rarely seemed so shy and withdrawn. Added to this dichotomy were the burn scars.
Man, my imagination went crazy. I wanted to know everything about this kid. I wanted to know how he’d gotten burned, why he wore eyeliner, what he was like when he wasn’t manning a register at a fast food restaurant, everything. I couldn’t ask him, though. Not only would it be awkward, but it was none of my business and I didn’t want to be completely rude or invasive. So I let my imagination tell the story.
I ended up spending a very uncomfortable hour sitting at a table in that Taco Bell with my brain creating a character and a plot, the story prompted by this kid. In my head, Graham (the eyeliner-wearing character in GUYLINER) was going to be a bit of a loner, a little bit moody.
Let’s just say that Graham evolved a lot from this first incarnation. But neither he, nor this book, would have been written if it hadn’t been for Taco Bell Guy.
To this day, I have no idea who this kid is, or his background, or where he is now. But I seriously owe him (and maybe fate) a huge hug for his role in bringing GUYLINER to life.
GIVEAWAY—I want to hear from you! Have you ever made a spontaneous decision and it ended up being the absolutely right choice? For me, it was skipping the drive-thru and going inside for a change, which led to meeting the perfect inspiration. Which, in turn, ultimately ignited my writing career. Does anyone have any similar stories? Tell me one, and a random winner will receive their choice of a book from my backlist (Do-Gooder or an anthology).
For more about me, my books, or upcoming appearances, check out my website (www.jleighbailey.net) or subscribe to my (very infrequent) newsletter. I can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+
Check out Guyliner today!
Seventeen-year-old Connor works his butt off to maintain the golden-boy persona he’s created. He has the grades, the extracurriculars, the athletics, and a part-time job at his dad’s shop… every detail specifically chosen to ensure the college scholarships he needs to get the hell out of the Podunk town where he lives. The last thing he needs is an unexpected attraction to Graham, an eyeliner-wearing soccer phenom from St. Louis, who makes him question his goals and his sexuality. Sure, he’s noticed good-looking boys before—that doesn’t have to mean anything, right?—but he’s got a girlfriend. There’s no room on the agenda for hooking up with Graham, but the heart doesn’t always follow the rules.
As he and Graham grow close, other aspects of Connor’s life fall apart. Family pressure, bad luck, and rumors threaten to derail his carefully laid plans. Suddenly the future he’s fighting for doesn’t seem quite as alluring, especially if he has to deny who he really is to achieve it.
j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.
September 12, 2016
Greetings! I’m George Seaton, and I’m happy to be here because Dreamspinner Press has been so kind as to publish and release my novella, “Shane Thorpe Knew Jesus and Rode Bulls.” A long title, but an apt one given the storyline. This novella was submitted for the States of Love submission call which asked for stories specific to an American state. I chose Texas. (As an aside, I believe it was two fellow Colorado authors, Caitlin Ricci, and A. M. Burns, who suggested this themed project to Dreamspinner.)
Here’s the blurb:
Eighteen-year-old Joe Vasquez leaves Denver for Texas with Harley Bray, the cow kid who never fit in at their high school. In spite of discovering there’s another side to Harley’s natures—occasional “withdrawals” from roadside convenience stores, a nefarious skill he teaches Joe—Joe shares Harley’s dream of riding bulls and a life together on the Texas plains outside of Abilene. A life that will hopefully see the fulfillment of another of Joe’s dreams—to become a veterinarian.
When a rank bull kills Harley in a rodeo in Longview, Texas, Joe accepts an offer from another bull rider, Shane Thorpe, to partner up and ride the circuit together. The problem is that the blond-haired, blue-eyed Shane found Jesus a long time ago, and he’s torn between his faith and his attraction to Joe. As they make their way across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona to their final top on the circuit at the National Western Rodeo in Denver, Joe bides his time for what he hopes will be a relationship with Shane as fulfilling as the one he’d had with Harley. His hope for the future, however, are challenged along the way when he discovers that his “withdrawals” have captured the attention of a very dedicated Texas Ranger.
That’s the gist of the story without the twists and turns it takes. And certainly without the development of the characters, which is something I think storytelling cannot do without. I fell in love with character development when I first read Charles Dickens—a master of that essential component to all stories worthy of reading.
I had already finished nearly half a story about two young men infatuated with bull riding who happened to live in Texas when Dreamspinner issued the States of Love submission call. Little of the first half changed as I completed the manuscript for submission. Suffice it to say, I was thrilled when Dreamspinner accepted it for publication.
When I tell my husband, David, about story plots I’m working on, he always says, “How do you come up with that stuff?”
My usual response is simply raising my arms, my palms outstretched, and saying, “I don’t know. It’s just there.”
Actually, I do know where it comes from. I think an author has two primary tools—memory and imagination.
We all know what imagination is. As I wrote in a short story not long ago here’s what imagination gives us: “I have a friend who writes in the erotic romance genre. Several years ago he found a publisher for his stuff who just adored his boy-meets-boy, boy-fucks-boy, boys-live-happily-ever-after storylines that defy real life scenarios to the point that he is now interjecting shifters, zombies, vampires, dreary dystopian sagas, and Apocalyptic backdrops into his writing. Suffice it to say, his publisher didn’t bat an eye when he lately presented her with one-hundred thousand words about a beaver humping a muskrat, the critter timing his thrusts to the thump, thump, thump of a steam engine that somehow, in some way powers the production of greenery upon a landscape leveled by the unfortunate effects of several hundred-thousand kilotons of atomic energy released three hundred years prior. I believe it’s called speculative fiction.”
Then there’s memory. For me, memory is the font I dip into for characterization. All of our experiences, whether sight, sound, touch, or smell are cataloged somewhere in our brains (though I read years ago that lab experiments theorized that memory is not in any one place in the brain, but may well reside within the entirety of the organism). Our first love, the loss of a family member, a dog or cat, joy, the smell of onions and green peppers in the frying pan, the sound of a child’s laughter, the sensate reaction to danger, how we perceive the Grand Canyon the first time we see it, the sight of a dead body, the spread of the stars and planets above in a place with no ambient light, the lilt of an Oklahoman’s or Texan’s voice; all of this and so much more is who we are and, for an author, provide the components of characterization. From my memory, I give my characters the traits, idiosyncrasies, movements, expressions, voices, odors and aromas, and certainly, appearances that I’ve cataloged in those overstuffed file cabinets, I keep in my brain for just such a purpose. And, thankfully, I’m able to convey through words what I see in my memory.
As readers, and probably some authors, too, I’m curious what you find interesting or even fascinating about an author’s ability to make a character come alive? How thoroughly do you want to know what makes a character tick?
Once again, I’m grateful that Dreamspinner Press chose to publish this little story.
Check out Shane Thorpe Knew Jesus and Rode Bulls today!
August 25, 2016
Wade Kelly joins us today to talk about new book “Back Off! That’s My Jock”.
Thank you for stopping by Dreamspinner Press’ blog on this stop in my blog tour for my new novel, Back Off! That’s My Jock. I’ve been writing a number of character interviews in my blog tour where my characters ask the questions. For the most part, the number of questions has been limited to five. But for this guest spot, I thought I’d say a little about myself before I ask my main character, Doug Archer, to join me.
Hello. My name is Wade Kelly and I’ve been published with Dreamspinner Press since 2009. Yes, 2009. I originally wrote a novel under another pen name, but that one is out of print now. However, I have been published since then. I’ve been writing as Wade Kelly since 2011 with the novel When Love is Not Enough. I strive very strongly to write about controversial subjects and address culture and social issues in the LGBT community. When Love is Not Enough centered around gay suicide. While the other novels in my publication list are not as weighty as that one, I still try to write about subjects that are important in the world we live in. I also try to deliver a positive ending in a way that may bring hope.
I truly desire for my readers to think about the subjects in my books and not just seek to be entertained. Real life may be stranger than fiction, but fiction can also mirror real life.
Without further delay, let’s get on with the interview! Take it away Doug.
Doug: Hey. Thanks for including me again on the tour. It’s been fun so far. For those who don’t know, my name is Douglas Archer and I am the main character in Back Off! That’s My Jock. If you don’t know what the book is about and you haven’t read the other blog posts on the tour here is the blurb…
Defining his sexuality didn’t make sense until his best friend spelled it out.
Doug Archer did some pretty idiotic things in the first eight weeks of his junior year of college. First, he kissed his gay best friend, and second, he kissed a guy he’d mistaken for a girl. Not stellar moments for Doug. If he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his spot on the soccer team to the new freshman, or worse, he might misconstrue his new friend Rob’s overly affectionate tendencies for flirting. But if Doug isn’t bothered by another guy’s attention, and he normally dates girls, does that mean he’s gay or bisexual?
Sam Garber suppressed his same-sex attraction his entire life. His father told him it was immoral, and Sam did everything he could to bury his feelings. However, after meeting Doug at a party and kissing him, Sam can’t think of anything else. He decides dating girls is the best way to keep his secret hidden. With playoffs in sight, this is no time to think about guys in any other context than soccer. Only, neither boy anticipates the difficulty in suppressing his attraction for another jock!
Doug: So as you can see, this book is about me and my confusion over falling for Sam. I hope you like the story. I think it ends well, but I’m bias. Now, let’s get on with the interview before I ramble too long. Hey Wade, why don’t you start by telling the readers a little about yourself. Is there something they don’t know?
Wade: I hated reading when I was younger. I never wanted to read anything in school until I was allowed to chose my own book from the library and write a report. ANY BOOK. I chose The Black Caldron by Lloyd Alexander. It was the second book in a series and I didn’t care because it was the first book I got to choose in school. I had never read anything like it and from there I went on to read R.A. Salvatore, David Eddings, and Tad Williams in my late teens/early twenties.
Doug: I didn’t expect that answer, but I guess I understand. I’m not a big reader like my friend Chris. Have you written any science fiction books or all your stories contemporary romance?
Wade: As a matter of fact, some are not contemporary romance! This may also be news to some readers, but I started out writing sci-fi/fantasy. I wanted to create something between Star Wars and Sleepless in Seattle, so I messed around with mixing genres. I loved dwarves and elves and sword fights from the stories I read in my twenties, but I never got enough romance in strictly science fiction/ fantasy novels. I decided to write my own blend of sci-fi and romance roughly titled Escaping Reality. When I wrote it, it was 285,000 words. Technically, that was enough for a trilogy so I took it apart and planned on writing a series. It has never gotten farther than that, sadly. One day!
Doug: I look forward to that. If you were to spend time with one of the characters from your book, who would it be? And feel free to include the elves and dwarves too.
Wade: *chuckles* If it were an elf, it would be Drizzt Do-Urden from R. A. Salvatore’s Series. But If the character had to be one of mine, I’d have to say I’m quite fond of Sam.
Doug: Hey, now! Don’t forget he’s my love interest in this book.
Wade: Ah, but that’s why I wrote him the way he is. I wanted to create someone for you who complimented you. You Doug, are the tough guy. You’re strong physically as well as emotionally. You’ve never been afraid to be yourself…. Well, until now maybe. I created Sam to bring to the surface your tender side. And Sam, he’s my broken character who needs a Knight in shining armor. He’s my favorite character in this book. But if you want me to pick someone else to spend the day with, I choose Darian Weston from When Love is Not Enough & The Cost of Loving. He’s someone else I wrote as a broken soul who needed a champion. I just love those kind of characters.
Doug: Next question. Is there something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?
Wade: Yes. I was told one of my stories was a mirror of a fan and their partner. That partner had passed away, so that fan truly appreciated my story because both main characters were the two of them—personalities, etc.—so it was like a tribute. When I write, I never know if people will like the story or not. So when that fan made me cry with their words of appreciation, it made writing it worth it! No matter what people say about that story, good or bad, I know I touched one person deeply and for that I am grateful.
Wade: As I have done in other interview guest blogs, I get to ask one question of my interviewer. So Doug, what do you think the moral or lesson in my story was?
Doug: No comment.
Wade: Oh, come on.
Doug: Don’t act stupid. No, seriously… I guess the moral is not to be afraid of who you are. Even if you are normally self-assured like I am, there are still secrets in our hearts that can be difficult to expose. Trust your friends to have your back, and don’t be afraid to be who you are. Gay, Bi, Trans, questioning, whatever is in your soul—you are who you are. The world can be scary, but it’s not a guarantee. There are people out there to support you. Find them! Don’t hide.
Wade: Thanks Doug. That’s what I was trying to say. I hope the story conveys that. As a wrap-up, I want to let readers know about prizes!
I, Wade Kelly, will be giving away one GRAND PRIZE (items listed below) and three runner up prizes of a $10 gift card for Amazon. What you need to do is leave a comment on the blog post. ALL comments are logged for a chance at the prizes. ONLY those who leave a comment on ALL eleven blog stops will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Last time I think there were 15 people in the Grand Prize drawing.
Note: If we’ve never chatted and you aren’t on Facebook, it is a good idea to leave an e-mail address because I need to know how to reach you. If I can’t, and I reply to your comment on the blog post that you’ve won but don’t hear from you, I have to give the prize to the next person on my list. Each comment gets you a chance in the drawing. If you leave one on each, that is eleven entries PLUS you are listed in the Grand Prize drawing. For a reminder of the rules, and where I’m stopping next, visit my blog post HERE.
Grand Prize includes all of the following:
One of my famous spoons in the colors of your choice
A $10 gift card from Amazon
One paperback signed from my back list (Not counting JOCK 3)
An e-book copy of JOCK 4, when it comes out.
And last, but not least, a soccer jersey for the player of your choice from the players in JOCK 3. (I’ll list them on my website along with pictures of the jerseys. They come in adult S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, & 4XL)
So there you go. If you have any questions, please let me know. Comment here or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wade Kelly on Tour
July 27th – Caraway Carter’s Wednesday Walkabout
August 1st – Jeff and Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast.
August 17th – 2 Chicks Obsessed
August 19th – Prism Alliance
August 22nd – Love Bytes Reviews
August 24th – Ashley John’s blog
August 25th – DSP’s Blog
August 26th – Release Day! I’m on Elisa Rolle’s blog
August 29th – Joyfully Jay
August 30th – Long & Short Reviews
August 31st – TTC Books & More
September 2nd – MM Good Book Reviews
Thank you for stopping by! I can be found:
Face book Fan group, The Wade Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/groups/247976895406172/
Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it’s not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Wade writes passionately about controversial issues and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. There is a lot of pain in the world and people need hope. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her children. She likes snakes, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry.
Check out Back Off! That’s My Jock today!
July 6, 2016
Hi all! I’m Charlie David and I’m happy to stop by here at the Dreamspinner Press blog. It’s been such an exciting Spring for me as I’ve had my books published by Dreamspinner Press – first Mulligans, Shadowlands and now Boy Midflight.
Boy Midflight is largely constructed from my teenage journals. The inherent nerves, fragility, and occasional brazenness embodied in the main character of Ashley are all aspects of me as a teenager. This is a coming out story set in the 1990s and it’s fun to reflect on what has stayed timeless in the teenage experience and how other things have progressed at lightning speed. The biggest change of course is technology and how it’s affected so many parts of our lives – for better or worse.
In the 90’s as a kid who felt different it was a monumental challenge to find a community to gel with. Internet chat rooms existed of course but geo-location based apps did not. This meant that even if you were lucky enough to forge a connection in an AOL or Yahoo chat room – it was more likely than not that your cyber person of interest was geographically far from you. As a teenager even if they were in the same state – it may as well have been on Mars.
Due to this isolation, sexual experiences and loss of queer virginity did not generally happen in hyper-speed as they do with many young people today. Reflecting on how I met my first boyfriends in the 90’s and the path of how our relationships blossomed in a more organic and in some ways traditional way left me feeling nostalgic. Meeting guys who liked to kiss guys was certainly not as easy as it is today but somewhere in that greater challenge lived a little magic.
The hero of Boy Midflight is Ashley. He’s a teen in his first year of college on Canada’s West Coast. He has a crush on Jared Leto, Sun-In bleached hair, is brimming with teen angst and prays to Antonio Sabato Jr. Ashley is unabashedly himself, ravenous to experience the world and all its wonders.
I wrote Boy Midflight when I was eighteen and so there’s a lot of humor in the naivety of the main character Ashley. We were both still figuring a lot of things out and could easily be distracted by a copy of Teen Beat, especially if Jarod Leto graced the cover. I mean seriously how beautiful is Jarod Leto? Remember him leaned up against a locker with ripped jeans and a flannel tied carelessly around his waist in My So Called Life? I would have done almost anything to take Claire Danes’ place so I could see what kissing him would be like. The man is simply so pretty it hurts. I’m so sorry, it happened again… I got distracted.
If you enjoy a main character who is quirky, ambitious and in love with
falling in love – then Boy Midflight might just put a smile on your face.
I’ll leave you with a question – please answer in the comments section below. I’ll do a random draw from those who comment and share this post on their social (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, etc.). The winner will receive a free rental of their choice from any of my movies or TV shows on http://border2border.ca
What ‘90’s celebrity had the power to dissolve your panties or jockstrap?
At eighteen, Ashley seems to have everything: looks, talent, and even a girlfriend. What more could a young man want? Yet something is missing, and he has to come to terms with his sexuality and the possible implications for his career in the public eye. He begins dating Chris but isn’t sure he’s head over heels in love. It’s not the knight-in-shining-armor feeling he always imagined.
When Ashley is offered a big modeling job, he leaves his university in small-town Canada for a very different life in sunny Los Angeles, California. There he meets a slightly older man who makes him feel like he’s in a storybook romance. But is Ashley ready for real love, or is it just infatuation? The world is spread out before him, at once limitless and daunting, full of endless possibilities one moment and opportunities cut short the next.
Ashley floats between certainty and confusion as he tries to unravel new feelings, deal with past pain, and decide what he wants from life—and who he wants beside him during the journey.
Dreamspinner Press: http://bit.ly/28J7sYx
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/28Ji9gh
All Romance: http://bit.ly/28JxLRP
BOY MIDFLIGHT EXCERPT
“Which side do you want?” Mikal asks.
“Which side of what?”
“Which side of the bed do you want? Do you have a preference?”
Oh my Antonio Sabato Jr.! This room only has one bed! Why does this room only have one bed? Who thought of this? Were Ferni, Mikal, and I all going to sleep in one bed? Why didn’t I notice that before?
“Umm… I can just sleep on the couch here. You take the bed, Mikal.”
“You’re not sleeping on this thing. It’s not even a couch, it’s a love seat. You’ll wake up needing a chiropractor.”
We’ve been sitting on a love seat?
“Okay, well, I guess the left side is great, closest to the window,” I say. So I can fly out and escape to Neverland in the middle of the night.
I walk to the bathroom and close the door. I grab my toothbrush and start to vigorously clean. Always too aggressive, my dentist says. Use a softer brush. I hate soft brushes. I lean against the sink and stare into the mirror. Am I falling in love with him? You already have. That’s not a question. I wash my face and hum nervously into the splashing water. Something from Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Get over it, Ashley. He’s not that spectacular. I mean he’s eight years older than you. He was eighteen when I was ten. I was four when he was twelve. When I’m twenty-eight, he’ll be thirty-six. He’ll be able to tell me what forty is like and I’ll have eight years to prepare. I’ll be eighty and he’ll be eighty-eight. It probably doesn’t matter anymore by then. Except when you reach one hundred, then it’s like a celebration. And he could celebrate for eight years until I start. When you’re ninety you’re just old but making it to one hundred is like, wow, that’s something to really talk about. Okay, but right now I am eighteen and Mikal is twenty-six, with a little boy. I’m a boy. Seriously, I am still a boy. He’s a man. A full-grown man. Totally. He looks like a man. Full on man muscles, man chiseled face, man voice. I think I’m a man, but I’m still in man/boy stage. What if I grow into my full-on man stage and he doesn’t like it? What if Mikal only likes me because I am man/boy? I can’t stay man/boy forever. No matter what I do. Can I? I don’t know what will change, but things will. Older people are always saying things don’t stay the same.
Oh my Antonio! I am getting older right now! I can see it in the mirror. If I look really closely, I can actually see the skin around my eyes starting to pucker. And my jaw is widening. Did I just spring a hair on my chest? Shit. I’m going to go out there and Mikal will say, “What the hell happened to you? You were hot when you were man/boy. Now, not so much.”
Hold it! Okay. Attention! We need to figure out what is going on—right now. Organize the facts.
Fact: to the best of our knowledge, I am dating Chris.
Fact: I have not seen or spoke to Chris for over two weeks.
Fact: Mikal has stated definite interest in our territory.
Fact: Mikal is super hot.
Fact: Mikal is genuinely loving, even as I hold him at arm’s length.
Question from the council: Were you in love with Chris, or in love with the idea of being in love?
Question from the council: We’ve seen pie charts, addendums and illustrated diagrams of your ideal mate. Mikal fits all listed descriptions. Is he what you call the One?
“Ashley, you okay, buddy? I got you some water here.”
“Be right out.”
I open the door and step into the warmth of the hotel room. The window, closest to my side of the bed, is open and the wind is rustling through the palm trees. The lights are all out but one, on the nightstand on my side of the bed. Mikal is already under the covers. Shirt off, one arm crooked behind his head. He smiles. “I built a Wall of China for us.”
“A what?” I ask.
“A Wall of China. I folded a blanket up and placed it under the covers between us. I thought it might make you sleep easier.”
“Mikal, I’m not worried about you. I appreciate the gesture though.” I pull off my shirt and unbutton my jeans. After tossing them on the love seat, I crawl into the left side of the bed. I laugh as I feel the Wall of China on my arm and leg. “Good night, Mikal,” I say, turning out the light.
“Good night, Ashley.”
I lay in the dark stillness and try to control my breathing. I don’t want to sound like I’m sucking air. After all, this is the first time we’ve slept together. I mean, we’re not really sleeping together, but we’re in the same bed. He could be naked over there. I didn’t see a shirt. He may sleep in the buff. And I’m just in my skivvies over here. All that’s separating his skin from mine is the Wall of China. A formidable barrier, yes, but scalable. You are not scaling the Wall! You are staying right here and going to sleep.
I lay on my back with my head facing the window. The warm salty air spills over the windowsill in a stream of magical light. I think I can hear the ocean lapping the beach. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight…. I can see eight stars from here. A perfect night. I turn my head and rest my eyes on Mikal, his chest rhythmically rising and falling. The shadows play perfectly in the valley between his chest and the crook of his arm still tucked behind his head. What would it hurt if I just placed a hand on that chest?
I’d like to just hold his hand as we fall asleep. Would that be wrong? I could just tear away this stupid Wall of China and surrender. His lips, pink and slightly parted, his jaw slightly rough and unshaven. What a startling and beautiful contrast. I settle on Mikal’s eyes, those big green almonds that look on me with so much care and concern. Now closed with his impossibly long dark eyelashes minutely dancing on each other. Are a guy’s eyelashes allowed to be that long and full?
I’d give anything to feel those icicles forming on my spine again. To press against this god’s warmth, curling one hand around that bicep. Mikal, my angel. My guardian. “Good night, handsome,” I say and turn to the window, closing my eyes. Did I just say that out loud? I did.
Then whispered across the darkness: “Good night, beautiful.”
I smile and drift off to sleep. Tomorrow is bursting with promise….
About Charlie David
Charlie has been a host for E! Television, NBC, OutTV, LOGO, here! TV, Pink TV, EGO, Fine Living and Slice Networks on such shows as FYE!, SpyTV, Crash Test Mommy and his travel series Bump which shot over 100 episodes around the world and garnered a Hugo Television award. He has appeared as musical guest on VH1, BBC, CBS’s The Early Show, and dozens of radio shows.
In 2005 Out Magazine recognized Charlie in the ‘Out 100’ at their gala in New York. In 2007 the Philadelphia Film Society awarded Charlie with their Rising Star Award. In 2008 the Festival del Sol in Gran Canaria awarded their Best Male Actor Award to Charlie and the male cast of A Four Letter Word. Formerly in a rock band… okay, actually it was a boy band, Charlie opened for Destiny’s Child, Pink, Snoop Dogg, Rick Springfield and Black Eyed Peas.
A love of storytelling led Charlie to start Border2Border Entertainment Inc., a production company whose film and television credits include Mulligans, Judas Kiss, I’m a Stripper (series), Studlebrity, Balls, I’m a Porn Star, I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay and Positive Youth. Border2Border Entertainment’s films have been licensed to Showtime, Super Channel, HBO Canada, MTV/LOGO, Sundance Channel, Discovery Networks, The Movie Network, Movie Central, Hollywood Suite, hereTV, Encore Avenue, and OutTV in North America as well as finding a worldwide audience through international distribution partners.
He is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts and his current passions include travel, encounters with wildlife, SCUBA diving, mosaic tiling and podcasts. He resides in Toronto and Montréal, Canada when he’s not living out of a suitcase.
You can explore Charlie’s films and TV shows on his website at http://border2border.ca or become a part of his social media network by visiting:
June 22, 2016
Hi, everyone! Thanks to Hayley for letting me steal some blog time on my release day. Soul Seekers is my fifth novel, but my first from Dreamspinner—and it won’t be my last. I have four more novels slated to be released from Dreamspinner in the next year. Find out which ones after you read about my new release. Don’t forget to click on the link below to enter the rafflecopter giveaway.
Here’s a bit about Soul Seekers.
Soul Seekers is a fantasy/paranormal that centers around nineteen-year-old Levi. Levi has a problem; he doesn’t feel emotions like others do. What he feels are hollow echoes of what they should be. He can’t connect with others, has never had a boyfriend, has never even kissed anyone. He’s been on antidepressants since he can remember, been to therapy, but nothing has helped. Until he meets Jeb.
Jeb is cocky, arrogant, self-assured, and Levi hates the man who’s been stalking him. He also hates himself for being attracted to Jeb. Levi learns that Jeb isn’t a stalker, but is there to help him. He’s going to help Levi get his soul back. Levi doesn’t believe that his soul is missing. No one can remove a soul, but with the weirdness he’s encountered since he was a child, he has to wonder.
Levi’s disbelief soon changes as he discovers people he knows, he loves, aren’t who they seem to be. He’s been betrayed and lied to his entire life. He’s thrown into a world where people can see souls and remove them, the world of Seers and Keepers. Rules are in place that must be followed given the dangerous nature of their abilities. Seers and Keepers work for the good of the world, creating balance in the natural energy that makes up all life.
Not all are as altruistic. There are those Seers and Keepers who want to use their power disrupt positive energy. They need Levi to make that happen. If they succeed, the entirety of human existence would be wiped out. It’s up to Levi to stop them.
Writing this story was quite the ride. Researching a concept to incorporate into a story is just as exciting as writing it. For this story, I delved into the phenomenon of the soul as far back as Socrates and Plato, in different religions and in different cultures. I have to say the information was fascinating.
When I write a story, the plot quickly branches off into several side plots and gets quite complicated. The MC and each character have their influence. Adding in researched information isn’t as hard as it sounds. As I’m researching, I’m picturing scenarios, interactions, problems, etc., a certain fact could create. The more complicated and technical the information the better. This gives me a greater knowledge that incorporates the meaning seamlessly.
All of my stories revolve around a theme/concept. In Curiosity Killed Shaney, Sacred Geometry is main source of power. In Dare to Love Forever, the treatment of minorities was magnified to create a world where vampires are third class citizens.
I’m sure you see a pattern here.
There are endless themes and ideas that can spark a story. I’m sure even those who aren’t writers hear or read something and think, “That would make a great idea for a story.”
What do you think would make a good idea or spark for a plot?
It can be a person, a place, a certain culture, something in the realm of magic and the paranormal, a job/career, something that’s happened to you or someone else, a saying, a feeling…anything you can think of be the start of a great story.
Post yours in the comments below for all of us to read. Anyone who comments will earn an extra entry into my Rafflecopter giveaway ending on 6/30. (Don’t forget to enter using the link below). I can’t wait to read your ideas!
What Dreamspinner Did to Save Me and What’s Coming Next
Dreamspinner saved me when I really needed them. Shortly after Soul Seekers was accepted, my other publisher, Amber Allure, announced they were closing. Three of my four novels published with them, and a recently submitted sequel, were homeless.
Yeah, I freaked.
Getting it together, I sent Elizabeth an email. No doubt being pummeled with emails from other authors, she responded. By March, all three novels and the sequel were accepted. In the end, I contracted two previous stories and the sequel. They have also accepted a new contemporary story.
Here are the books and their expected release windows.
Dare to Love Forever: NVJ Book 1
Republished paranormal. 10,000 words added, more information about the vampire world, more scenes in the first half of the book. Plot and ending was not changed
A Chance for Us, NVJ Book 2
New sequel: Tells the story of Justin and Max
Republished paranormal/fantasy, Mpreg, demons.
Happily Ever After Isn’t Easy
New contemporary about a gay man in his forties who becomes single after eighteen years of marriage to a woman.
(an experience plucked from my own life)
Check out Soul Seekers today!
Nineteen-year-old college student Levi Reed has spent his life with hollow emotions and a darkness so deep that he’s convinced he’s losing his mind. He’d give anything to feel something, anything, real.
When a mysterious stranger appears, Levi is convinced the man is trying to kill him. When he’s near, Levi experiences head-crushing pain and something surprising—real emotions for the first time. Jeb Monroe is arrogant, self-assured, closed-off, and handsome, but his isn’t the harbinger of doom Levi assumed. Jeb’s mission: help Levi find his missing soul.
Levi is pulled into the secret world of Seers and Keepers, those born with the innate abilities to manipulate souls and tasked with balancing the negative energy they can produce. Levi learns he possesses a rare gift, and he’s in danger. As Jeb and Levi grow closer, they discover a group of zealots who want to harness Levi’s power to cleanse the world of damaged souls. Everyone Levi cares for is threatened unless he agrees to become their tool of death. But agreeing could spell the destruction of humankind. With no one to trust and nothing as it appears, it’s up to Levi to save them all.
Levi could scarcely appreciate the magnitude of the force growing from some primitive pit deep within his mind. It—whatever it was—was surfacing, ready or not.
He had to get out. Running was his only solution, the only thing that made sense. A break with one’s psyche had to be messy and definitely nothing a room full of his fellow students deserved to witness. It sounded like nasty business.
“Hey,” Gia whispered, setting her hand on Levi’s shoulder. “You okay?”
Gia’s touch shot pain into his bones and was more than he could stand. He jerked away.
“Levi?” Concern colored Gia’s voice.
Unprecedented pressure crowded Levi’s mind, and, like a balloon filled past capacity, something eventually had to give. Terrifying visions of his gray and white brain matter splattering across student’s faces, on pages of open textbooks, on Mr. Cobbert and that hideous tie covered with statistical equations, invaded his mind. Levi wondered how long he had before his head exploded.
Fumbling to gather what remained on his desk, he picked up his messenger bag and bolted for the door. What was happening to him? God, anywhere but here. The heat rushing through him spiked. A large black blur startled him as it passed by the window of the door. Taken back, Levi hesitated and then grabbed for the metal door handle. When he tried to pull the door open, a painful spark of static electricity crackled at his fingertips. Instinctively, Levi pulled his hand back as the shock snapped against his skin.
Don’t let the door close!
Levi caught the metal monstrosity with his knee and squeezed through, allowing it to slam behind him.
His car. In the back parking lot. To the right. The hallway was empty. As he ran, the unrelenting cranial pressure doubled him over in agony and pain exploded in his chest. Stumbling to remain upright, Levi steadied himself with his hand on the wall and then pushed off, propelling himself forward. His thoughts were vacant. He was in pure survival mode, true fight-or-flight, however something was wrong. No. Something was missing.
Out the front doors. Blinding sunlight. Colored figures rushed past him, pushing and knocking into him.
So much pressure!
“Hey, watch it!” a male voice yelled as Levi bounced off a body.
When his vision came into focus, Levi was well into the parking lot, dodging moving and parked cars. Another blur of black passed nearby, but he ignored it, not giving a shit. His only objective: find his car and fast.
Again, he doubled over as the pain escalated, this time accompanied by roiling nausea. Where was his damned car?
Digging deep into his front pocket, Levi fought to free his keys. Just as he reasoned the piece of shit must have been stolen, there it was. He’d never been so relieved to find the old, rusting heap of steel. Juggling the keys, Levi managed to hit the button on the key fob, grateful for access to the locked car.
As he dropped into the driver seat, another wave of mind-numbing pain knocked into him, immense in his head and blossoming in his chest as well. Not again. His hands pressed against the sides of his skull. Maybe if he squeezed hard enough the counter-pressure would relieve the pain, or maybe it would simply crush his skull. When there was a reprieve from the pain, Levi revved the four-cylinder to life. Without hesitation, he backed out of the space, then slammed the gearshift to D, fleeing, as if he were being chased by every scary monster in the history of scary monsters.
1 – $15 All Romance Ebooks Gift Certificate
1 – Ebook copy of Soul Seekers
2 – $5 All Romance Ebooks Gift Certificate
Jake C. Wallace started writing from a young age, but took a break for marriage, kids, and college (in that order). A few years ago, he ventured into the brave new world of publishing. He has published several novels and short stories. At night and on the weekends, Jake writes about all things men, believing there is nothing hotter than two men finding and loving one another, whether for a night or forever. An avid reader of M/M romance, Jake loves a good twist of a plot, HEA, HFN, or tragic ending, and has over two thousand M/M books in his library. He writes what his best friend calls HUNKs (Happy Until the Next Kidnapping). In his daytime hours, Jake works with individuals with autism and behavior issues. He is owned by a beautiful partner, three kids, and two grandchildren. He lives in the Northern Vermont.
May 24, 2016
Hi, I’m C.M. Lievens, author of A Good Enough Reason.
I started writing when I was a kid. I still remember a story about a ghost and two twins I wrote when I was about eight as a gift for my grandmother. I don’t remember how it ended, but it sounds interesting. I just might add something similar to my ever-growing to-write list.
After my first steps as an author, I stopped writing. I found other things to focus on. I’ve always been very art-oriented. I paint, I draw, I make jewelry. You name it, and I’ve probably tried it, but nothing held my attention for long.
I came back to writing a few years ago. I graduated from college when my son was one, and since sending him to daycare would have cost me more than I’d earned by finding a job, I stayed home with him. I used the time to read, but there’s only so much you can read before even that becomes boring. Shocking, I know.
Then I started to think that I could do that too. I could write. It would be hard, because English is only my third language, but it would be something that would break the routine.
The first book I wrote was a mess. I reread it recently, and I wanted to strangle the main character. At the time, though, I thought it was good, even though no one seemed to want to publish it.
Once it was done, I started another one. I’d just started reading gay romance, and I decided to dip my foot into that for a series of reasons that would require a blog post of their own, so I’ll skip them.
That’s how my first published book was born. I kept it short, because writing an entire novel in English scared me, and I sent it to the publisher thinking I’d never hear from them. I didn’t stop writing, though. I’d planned that book to be the first book in a series, so I started writing the next book. By the time it was published, I’d written six novellas.
I wrote only about shifters for close to two years, but I felt it was time to step out of my comfort zone, to try something new. That’s how A Good Enough Reason was born.
A Good Enough Reason is my first full-length novel, and my first book without any kind of shifters. I hope people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
What about you? Do you have a passion you discovered later in life?
“Eeelliiis. Do you have a crush on Mr. Shea?”
Luckily for Ellis the table they sat at was mostly empty, but Anna’s voice was loud. From a few tables away, Dale Stephens looked up from his tray and over at them, a question in his eyes when he saw Ellis watching him.
Ellis shook his head and looked down again. “Anna, please. Do you really need to give people even more reasons to make fun of me?”
Anna offered an appropriate repenting expression, but Ellis wasn’t fooled. He knew that now she’d discovered a juicy bit of gossip, she’d pounce on him like a lioness on raw meat once they were away from prying ears.
“Are you done writing?”
“Of course.” She wrote the last word with a flourish and gave Ellis a triumphant smile. “All done. Now we can have fun.”
“After school, you mean?”
“Nope. I mean we can gossip.”
Ellis groaned. “You know, my being gay doesn’t mean I like to gossip or go shopping. Sometimes you seem to think I’m one of your girlfriends or something.”
Anna patted Ellis’s hand. “I’d never take you shopping. You have the most awful taste I’ve ever seen.”
Ellis looked down at his Platform 9 3/4 red T-shirt. “What’s wrong with my clothes?”
“Honestly? I think you’re the only one in this school who actually gets the meaning of your T-shirt.”
“You do too.”
“I was coerced into learning about it.”
“Oh, please. It’s not like I tied you to the couch.”
“You said you wouldn’t help me with my English homework if I didn’t watch the movies! All eight of them!”
“Hey, I did you a favor. They’re classics!”
“Yes. It’d be sad if no one here got the T-shirt.” Ellis shook his head. It was better than talking about hypothetical crushes on teachers, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to make Anna see the flaw in her ideas. It wasn’t the first time he’d tried—and failed.
“They’re just books, Ellis.”
Ellis snatched his hand back. “Take that back!”
“Ellis,” Anna said with a laugh.
“Anna! It’s like me telling you statistics is boring!”
“You do, at least once a day, five times a week.”
“Let’s agree to disagree on this one, okay? I don’t expect you to start liking statistics, and you stop trying to educate me in geek stuff.”
“I get the shirt.”
Ellis turned to the side to see who was talking and froze. Anna fluttered her eyelashes at Dale. “Really?”
“Yeah. Awesome books.”
“I can’t believe all the hot ones are geeks,” Anna said with a groan.
Ellis cringed, waiting for Dale to tell her off, but he only chuckled. “You think I’m hot?”
Anna gave Dale a shocked glance. “You think I’m blind? Are you fishing for compliments?”
Dale pressed his hand over his heart. “I would never.”
Check out A Good Enough Reason today!
High school seniors Ellis and Dale are as different as day and night, or so Ellis believes. Ellis loves to write, while Dale loves soccer. Ellis has only a handful of friends, and Dale is Mr. Popularity. But when they’re partnered up for an AP English project, Ellis learns different can be good. Really good.
Dale Stephens has it all: friends, a hot girlfriend, mad soccer skills—and a secret. He’s bisexual, but because he’s never been in love with a boy, it’s always been easier to keep that part of himself hidden. Until Ellis changes everything.
As their love grows, Dale realizes it’s Ellis he wants to be with—only he’s not ready for the world to know about them, especially after the way his mom reacts to the news.
But when they are outed by a bully who has made a career out of tormenting Ellis, Dale and Ellis must face down their fears and try to stay together. What will happen when the bully goes too far? Will Ellis come out of it unscathed?
C.M. Lievens is a penname Catherine Lievens uses when she writes stories with little to no sex, and more specifically, Young Adult ones.
She lives in Italy with her husband, three cats, and her son, who luckily isn’t going to be a young adult for many years to come, because Catherine is not prepared for that just yet. She loves to write about different people and situations, hence the need for a penname.
When she’s not putting pen to paper to plot her next story, writing while avoiding her kid’s questions (he’s way too curious for his own good), or talking to her cats, she can be found hiding in the bathroom, because that’s the only place where she can read in peace.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/CM-Lievens-1659898224299254/
May 5, 2016
Hello there! I’m CJane Elliott and happy to be on the Dreamspinner Blog today to talk about Sand-Man’s Family, the third book in my Wild and Precious series.
Sand-Man’s Family differs from the first two stories in the Wild and Precious series in the age of the main characters. In the first two novellas, those ages ranged from mid-twenties to late thirties. In Sand-Man’s Family, Sandy and Jade (and Dare, who Sandy dated before Jade) are seniors in high school (for the flashback scenes) and most of the action takes place the following year, when they are at the most nineteen years old.
I enjoy writing New Adult characters who are teetering on the edge of adulthood. They’re often still sorting out who they are in relation to themselves, their gender/sexual identity, and their relationships. Family still plays a big role, positive or negative. This is the age when people start living away from home and begin to create their families of choice. Some of them are lucky in their families of origin but many are not.
The tagline for Sand-Man’s Family is: Having A Family That Hurts, Choosing A Family That Heals.
Sandy’s parents, conservative Catholics, only gave him approval when he was being the “good son,” and sometimes not even then. His father is an alcoholic who when drunk berated and yelled at Sandy. Neither parent could accept that Sandy was engaging in premarital sex and could barely comprehend it when Sandy announced he was bisexual. His father hit him and his mother talked to the priest who recommended conversion therapy. They didn’t exactly throw him out, but they likely would have had Sandy continued to be himself in defiance of their rules.
Sandy has the courage to run away from his stifling home situation and the luck to have someone to run to: his uncle, Phineas MacDonald, in Portland, Oregon. With Phineas and his friends, Sandy starts the process of creating a new family that heals. The family expands to include Cody Bellstrom, who falls in love with Phinney and moves in with them. Together, Cody and Phinney parent Sandy, with support from good friends like Blaine and Gemma, and give him the unconditional love he never received from his real parents.
Inside of the support and love from this new family, Sandy is able to return to his childhood home for Thanksgiving and deal with his parents’ continued refusal to accept him as he is and his sadness at having to leave his brother and sisters behind. Cody and Phinney also help him figure out his feelings about Jade Byrne, his high school hook-up with whom he reconnects, and who becomes special to Sandy in a short time. The story ends with Sandy experiencing an abundance of love—for himself and for others.
That is the power of choosing a family that heals.
When Sandy Nixon’s conservative Catholic parents discover he’s had sex before marriage, they are furious. But when he blurts out he’s bisexual, they go ballistic. After they threaten him with conversion therapy, Sandy does what many queer kids long to do—leaves his homophobic parents in the dust. He moves in with his Uncle Phineas and Phineas’s partner Cody in Portland, Oregon, and is finally safe to be himself. Sandy misses his siblings, though, and decides to visit his former home in Rockford for Thanksgiving. On the train, he runs into Jade Byrne.
As the only out gay kid in their Catholic high school, Jade has stared down homophobes while being fabulous in the school musicals. He’s crushed on Sandy for years. But he’s made sure never to show it, even after they had a onetime hookup, because Sandy’s the good Catholic kid, the altar boy, and the apparently straight athlete—all the things Jade isn’t. Traveling back to Rockford together sees the start of a month of adventures, a blossoming attraction, and a chance for Sandy to learn what it means to have a family that hurts and to choose a family that heals.
About CJane Elliott:
After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.