A Story Born of Sweat with Jake Wells – Post + Giveaway

May 11, 2016

A Story Born of Sweat

I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to be a part of the Dreamspinner team.  My name is Jake Wells and my second novel, “Sometimes Love Lasts” is slated to hit the shelves on May 13th.

I’m over the moon excited about its upcoming release but I have to let you all in on a little secret.  I’m kind of a fraud.  Well, maybe not a complete fraud.  I really am doctor; I’m just not really an author.  The sad truth is that while I may know a fair bit about medicine, I really don’t know anything about writing.  You may then be asking yourselves how it is that I’ve ended up getting two books published.  I guess it’s because though I’m not an author, I am a storyteller.  Let me clarify.  I don’t actually spend a lot of time telling stories; they’re just forever running around in my head.  When I’m exercising for example, and am trying desperately to divert my attention away from the seconds ticking by on the Stairmaster’s clock, I distract myself by imagining a story.

That’s exactly how “Sometimes Love Lasts” came into existence.   I had spent the evening before at a fundraiser for the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s homeless youth project.  Good times were certainly enjoyed by all and the festivities were bolstered by an amazing selection of delicious food and liquor.  Regrettably, I consumed way too many crab cakes and, to add insult to injury, washed them down with berry mojitos.  Because my hangover chastised me for most of the next morning, by late afternoon I felt obligated to compensate for my indulgence by committing to a grueling workout.

With my noise cancelling headphones secured over my ears, I keyed in a challenging level of difficulty into the control panel on the Stairmaster and promised myself that I wouldn’t even consider dismounting until I had surpassed the machines four mile mark.   Three minutes into it I found myself wanting to die.  It took all my fortitude to try to steady my breathing, to concentrate on the music and to let my mind go blank.  Forget that my oxygen starved lungs were burning a hole through my chest and that my legs were screaming in agony.   I had to complete my goal.

Slowly, as the endorphins kicked in and I was at least partially able to start ignoring the pain, my thoughts drifted back to some of the speeches that had been given at the previous night’s fundraiser.  My exercise induced euphoria gave way to me beginning to consider the problem of homeless gay youth.

Homelessness was kind of a foreign concept to me.   Certainly, I had spent some of my youth struggling with coming to terms with my sexuality but my childhood had been mostly idyllic.  My parents loved me.  Even though I had grown up in a small community where homosexuality was considered an abomination, I never imagined for a second my parents would disown me were they to suspect I was gay.   The possibility of being kicked out into the streets was unfathomable.

But, what if I hadn’t been so lucky?   What if my parents had been bigoted homophobes and I had found myself tossed out like yesterday’s garage.  How would my life have been different?  How would I have survived?  What would have become of me?

The next thirty minutes on the Stairmaster passed in the blink of an eye and somewhere in the process Rone’s whole life story became trapped in my head.   Now, it was just a matter of spending the next several months putting it to paper.

Borrowing from my book’s blurb:

For Rone Forrester, life as a high school student is a roller coaster ride. Though he’s intelligent, good-looking, and athletic, true happiness eludes him. He’s lost his mother to cancer, his hypercritical father is a tyrant, and he spends most of his free time taking care of his little brother, Eli. And to make matters worse, Rone begins to have romantic feelings for his best friend, Carson Harrington.

When Rone is inadvertently outed, his life swirls into turmoil. His father’s homophobia and Rone’s embarrassment at the thought of facing Carson force him to flee to Los Angeles, where he hopes to find a safe haven. Instead, he quickly learns that every moment is dangerous for a homeless teenager. As time passes, Rone navigates through multiple challenges, makes friends who love him for who he is, works hard to achieve his goal of becoming a pediatric surgeon—with all its inherent triumphs and tragedies—and overcomes a failed relationship. Ultimately, his journey teaches him that in order to fulfill his dreams, he has to come to terms with his past.

 

At the risk of sounding like an overly enthusiastic teen, it would be “awesome” if you would consider reading “Sometimes Love Lasts”.   If you need additional incentive, let me take this opportunity to share with you the fact that all the royalties from my book’s sales will be donated to the Homeless Youth Project at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.    I feel like I have led a very privileged life and being able to make this donation gives me a chance to play some of my good fortune forward.

Perhaps you would consider joining me in this endeavor.

Far too often, school and home are two of the most dangerous places for our LGBT youth. They are twice as likely to be physically attacked, kicked, or shoved at school; 28 percent of LGBT youth drop out of school because of harassment. After coming out or being discovered, many of our LGBT youth are mistreated or thrown out of their homes. Tragically, fleeing the trauma suffered at the hands of classmates and parents means choosing an even more dangerous option for survival: life on the streets. A staggering 40 percent of the 6,000 homeless youth (ages 24 and younger) on the streets of Los Angeles every night identify as LGBT.

No other organization offers a wider range of programs and services to help LGBT youth build lives that are healthy, equal, and complete. The Los Angeles LGBT Center is an entry point for youth making the transition from the streets to independent living. Its school and community outreach programs help create safe and affirming spaces for young people to thrive.

The Los Angeles LGBT Youth Center on Highland—open seven days a week—offers a place to stay for a night or up to 30 nights, three meals/day, clothing and support groups. Youth can also access a charter high school; GED and college prep program; and an employment preparation, training and placement program. The Center exists to provide whatever support youth need to get off the streets.

In addition, the Center offers medical care, counseling, a 24-bed Transitional Living Program (TLP) where youth can stay for up to 18 months, and affordable apartments for the youth who graduate from TLP. More than 90% of youth exiting the TLP have secured stable housing, and employment and/or scholarships to post-secondary institutions that enable them to live independently. It also offers all LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) the help they need to achieve their full potential through the Center’s LifeWorks program, which provides one-on-one mentoring; a charter high school for LGBT youth who don’t feel safe or comfortable in traditional schools; college and trade school scholarships, workshops, social activities; and the world’s largest free conference for LGBT young people (Models of Pride).

Thousands of LGBT youth in Los Angeles are in desperate need of our help.  They are young, disenfranchised, frightened and without resources.  The Los Angeles LGBT Center is doing important and vital work on behalf of these youth but their programs depend on the generosity of donors to exist.  If you would like to join me in supporting Youth Services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, please consider making a tax deductible donation directly to them.  This can be easily done by going to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s website.  The Center has created a link associated with my name to ensure your donation is specifically directed to Youth Services.

https://lalgbtcenter.nationbuilder.com/jakewells

Thank you for your consideration.  Your generosity helps to save lives.

 

In the interest of concluding this article in the same “appreciating our good fortune” theme, let me propose a contest.  In the comment section, post a practical “play it forward” idea.  Suggest something each of us could do to make someone else’s life a little better?  A gesture.  A donation.  A simple act of kindness.  Something that would inspire each of us to say, “I could easily do that and the people affected would be made to feel happier!”  Best suggestion wins a copy of my first book, “A White Coat Is My Closet”

 

Best wishes to all of you!

Jake

Check out Sometimes Love Lasts today!

SometimesLoveLasts_postcard_front_DSP

About Jake Wells:

Jake Wells was born a dreamer.  He dreamed of distant lands, of trying to make a difference in people’s lives, of falling in love, of writing a book, and of all things chocolate.  Imagine how fortunate he feels to have seen most of his dreams come true.  He’s adventured through the far corners of the world, has a successful career practicing medicine, and shares his life with an amazing partner. Though eating chocolate continues to play a prominent role in his dreams, the icing on the cake has been writing about falling in love in a world where equality is only beginning to be embraced.

When he’s not playing doctor, Jake can usually be found traipsing local hiking trails with his dogs near his West Coast home, in the kitchen trying to replicate some sumptuous dish he saw on one of the cooking channels, or sipping a glass of fine red wine with his friends.

2 Responses to “A Story Born of Sweat with Jake Wells – Post + Giveaway”

  1. Angela says:

    Congrats on the upcoming release of Sometimes Love Lasts.

    My Play it forward idea:
    As a mother of a son who is multipled disabled and is clearly not able to socialize in a “normal” way but still loves to interact and meet with people i would suggest that if you ever meet someone like my son a simple act of kindness would be to spend maybe 5 minutes of your time by talking to them. It’s that easy :)

  2. Andrea says:

    I try to remember to donate blood. It doesn’t cost me anything but a bit of time and the people from Red Cross where I donate are always very nice. It is not necessarily a making people happy donation but I like it because it helps directly and cannot disappear into any obscure channels. And too many people – at least here – do not want to or do not think about it so there is always a need.

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