Thank You

March 16, 2015

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Thank you for joining me to celebrate my new release, YES. I hope you will give it a chance, and if you enjoy it, please recommend it to a friend (or two). To help me pick my next book cover, make sure to like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.

Best wishes and a groovy good night,

Brad

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DREAMSPINNER PAPERBACK

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And check out my other books.

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THE NOTHINGNESS OF BEN

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THE RETURN

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THE ESKIMO SLUGGER

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Author pages:

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Win a “Step into Brad’s World” T-Shirt

March 16, 2015

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I have great fans. They make me feel appreciated and encourage me to keep writing. I also have a few superfans.

My first superfan was Betty. She contacted me shortly after The Nothingness of Ben came out. For whatever reason, she gets what I’m trying to do as a writer. She’s invested in my success. She goes out of her way to recommend my work. She had bookmarks made, at her own expense, so she could pass them out at a convention. She has tattoos inspired by my books.

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Then last summer, Betty started bugging me about a T-shirt, and frankly, at first, I thought it sounded like a nightmare. What would the shirt look like? Who would design it? Would I have to carry inventory and deal with shipping?

But Betty was persistent. She told me about a website called Cafe Press. I could set up a shop and upload my design, and they would deal with making and shipping the T-shirts. Since I had recently discovered 99 Designs, I suggested we run a contest there. She set the whole thing up and I fell  in love with the winning design.

Thanks, Betty, for pushing me to do this. It’s really cool to have my own T-shirt.

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Comment on this post for a chance to win a free “Step into Brad’s World” T-shirt. The winner will be required to contact me via email and provide a shipping address. You must visit my Cafe Press store and choose a style, size, and color. You will not have to sign up for anything or give anyone your credit card number. I will have the T-shirt shipped directly to you. Men’s and women’s styles are available in both crew and V neck.

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VISIT BRAD’S CAFE PRESS STORE

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And don’t forget to pick up a copy of YES!

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YES, Austin, and La Tazza Magica

March 16, 2015

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Austin, Texas has been my home for 27 years. All of my books are set here. It’s a liberal city in a conservative state. Imagine if someone took San Francisco and dropped it into the middle of Oklahoma. That’s Austin.

I wrote my first two books in a comfortable chair at home, but when it came time to write The Eskimo Slugger, I tried out a few coffee shops in my neighborhood. My favorite was La Tazza Fresca, which is Italian for “the fresh cup.” 

Most of YES is set in a fictional Austin coffee shop called La Tazza Magica, but it’s inspired by the real La Tazza a few blocks from my house. Here’s another excerpt with some pictures.

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IAN SCANNED THE room and thought about the day five years earlier when he bought the building that would become La Tazza Magica.

Located north of the UT campus on one of Austin’s main thoroughfares, the former thrift shop proved to be the perfect size for a European-inspired café. With its vaulted twenty-foot tin ceiling and expansive windows, Ian transformed the space into a haven for students, writers, and the occasional chess player. In one corner, he set up a small living room with two identical black sofas facing each other and a red Queen-Anne-style coffee table in between. In the opposite corner, he installed a dessert case and wooden bar, for an old-world pub feeling. A fifteen-foot wine rack stood like a tower behind the bar, and Ian suspended another rack from the ceiling for glasses and beer mugs.

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He filled the central seating area with a variety of tables, both large and small, some regular height and others of the taller bistro style but all made of dark wood. He painted the plaster walls a deep mahogany and trimmed the windowpanes in black. He updated the electrical system and tripled the number of outlets, in order to accommodate laptop and phone chargers. He found a vintage corner bookcase at an antique fair and stocked it with classic literature and board games like Monopoly, Life, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit. He hung paintings of Italian cafés on the slivers of wall between the windows and surrounded the building with a U-shaped stone patio for outdoor seating.

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For food, Ian designed a simple menu of sandwiches and salads, with an accent on seasonal, fresh, and local. He served wine, beer, and the best espresso in town. He named the place after his favorite café in Florence, La Tazza Fresca, but changed the adjective. Most nights he had a packed house, and at peak times, Ian would introduce strangers to each other and encourage them to share a table. He posted his prime directive on a sign above the east door:

Buy something

Stay as long as you want

Don’t be a dick

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The barista on duty always had the final say over music selection, but Ian encouraged an eclectic and low-key atmosphere. During job interviews he grilled potential candidates about their musical tastes, so as not to hire a Belieber or anyone with a Wagner obsession. What he ended up with surprised him—anything from Johnny Cash to Billie Holiday to Justin Timberlake to Mozart to the Carpenters to this new band called Dime Box.

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Want to support your favorite author? Consider buying the paperback.

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YES – Excerpt – Ian and Bartley

March 16, 2015

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The first scene between Ian and Bartley, before Ian makes his wish and wakes up two decades younger.

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THE NORTH DOOR opened, and Bartley James, another of La Tazza’s regulars, walked in. Bartley was Ian’s customer crush, but with his all-American good looks and clean-cut appeal, he was also out of Ian’s league—or at least that’s what Ian believed. His nerves kicked into high gear as Bartley approached the counter.

“Hi, Ian. Can I get a double skim, please?”

“For here or to go?”

Bartley brushed a lock of golden-blond hair out of his eyes. “I need it to go tonight. I’m heading back to the office to finish the blueprints for the new house. We’re breaking ground tomorrow.”

“This the house you designed for the couple in Westlake?”

“One and the same. I’ve finally graduated from being an assistant to a full-fledged architect.”

“Sounds like you’ll need some food, then. Let me throw a sandwich together for you.”

“I only brought in enough cash for the latte.”

Ian turned to the espresso machine to make Bartley’s double skim. “The sandwich is on the house. You’re in here almost every day. It’s the least I can do to help celebrate your big project.”

“Well, thanks. I suppose food would be a good idea. I’m used to running on caffeine at times like this.”

“You ever have our Pilgrim sandwich? I got the idea from a deli in P-town. You ever been there?”

“Provincetown? Mason and I went last summer, before everything fell…. Never mind. I need to stop…. What’s on the sandwich?”

“Turkey, dressing, and homemade cranberry sauce. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner.”

“Sounds good,” Bartley said. “But how do you get all that onto one sandwich?”

“Well, it can be a little messy, I admit, but it’s bloody delicious.”

“Bloody?”

Ian cringed. This was usually the part where he started blabbering about something of no importance. All his attempts to be cool around Bartley ultimately ended in failure. He knew he should shut up, but instead he launched into the inevitable explanation. “I’ve been watching this British soap called Hollyoaks. Twenty-three minutes a day, five days a week. Totally addictive, crazy show, and I’m not exaggerating. Half the characters belong in a mental institution. One of them named his kids Lucas and Leah. You know, after the Star Wars characters? There are these five insanely hot Roscoe brothers. The two things I’ve picked up are ‘bloody’ and ‘sort it.’”

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The Roscoe Brothers

“What do you mean by ‘sort it’?”

“Well, in Texas, when we have a problem, we fix it or handle it or deal with it. But in England, they sort it. I swear to God, they’re constantly sorting things. And if you go to court, you don’t testify, you give evidence.”

“Hmm. What made you start watching a British soap opera?”

Ian finished the latte, handed it to Bartley, and then turned his attention to the sandwich. “It has a lot of gay characters. I’m a little obsessed with gay stories on television shows.”

“Did you find it on BBC America or something?”

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Max and Iago

“No, YouTube. That’s where all the good stuff is. People edit together the gay storylines from European soaps and add English subtitles. They’re called ‘trims.’ Max and Iago from El Cor de la Ciutat. Lenny and Carsten from Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten. Christian and Oliver from Verbotene Liebe.”

Bartley laughed. “Forbidden Love?”

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Lenny and Carsten

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Christian and Oliver

“Very good. Americans only know Brian and Justin from Queer As Folk, or Will and Sonny, of course, but there are all these other gay supercouples out there they’ve never even heard of, let alone seen. I recently lost an entire Saturday afternoon to Elias and Lari.”

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Brian and Justin

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Will and Sonny

“Where are they from?”

“Finland. I can’t pronounce the original title, but it translates as Secret Lives. Did you know people in Finland have saunas in their apartment buildings?”

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Elias and Lari

“I didn’t know that.” Bartley took a sip of his latte. “You got any big plans for the weekend?”

“My friend Mark is taking me to Denver for my birthday.”

“Today’s your birthday?”

“No, tomorrow.”

“Happy early birthday. How old?”

Ian hesitated as he spooned some dressing onto the sandwich. “Forty.”

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To see more pictures of the supercouples referenced in the excerpt, visit and like my Facebook page.

Or follow me on Twitter for extra content, like this inspiration for Bartley.

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YES – The Cover Design Contest

March 16, 2015

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How does a book cover get designed at Dreamspinner Press?

Once a book goes into the editing queue, the art department sends out a questionnaire, or brief. Does the person who designs the cover read the book? No. The cover artists simply don’t have time to read every book they design for. This is true across most of the publishing world. They read the brief, which includes a description of the author’s “dream cover.”

Then I see the result. I can make small suggestions regarding font and placement, but the process doesn’t really allow me to say, “I hate it, can we try again?” There just isn’t time for that, and I understand completely.

But now imagine a world where I post the brief online, and a community of artists compete in a contest to design a cover for my book. Enter 99 Designs.

If my cover doesn’t look like the usual Dreamspinner Press cover, it’s because it was designed by a guy in Greece named Alex Saskalidis. You can see some of his other covers here.

I ran a contest at 99 Designs. Twenty-Eight artists entered covers for YES. Had they read the book? No, that hadn’t changed. But I had the opportunity to work with all 28 designers over a 5-day period. I gave suggestions for improvement and they came back with revisions. It was author heaven. Then I picked my top 6 favorites for the final round. For 3 days I worked with them to refine their designs.  Finally, I ran a poll for my readers, and 83 of my fans picked Alex’s design as the winner.

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Some of the runners up.

 

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Bad Reviews

March 16, 2015

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When I first sat down to write a book, I never thought beyond the dream of publication. Would Dreamspinner Press accept my manuscript? That was the only question. I never thought about people actually reading my book, loving my book, or, God forbid, hating it.

But I quickly learned that bad reviews are part of the package. They’re inevitable. Not only did people hate my book, but they thought I was a terrible writer.

Here’s an example, from a Goodreads review of The Nothingness of Ben:

“I was all set for a tearjerker (parents die, three grieving kids, and an unwilling gay brother stepping in), but all I got was a cheap attention getter. Besides the abysmal writing, the stilted dialogue, cardboard characters and no attention to detail (wow – what a list), what threw me completely was how the author depicted a grieving family.”

Contrast that with this tweet I got last week:

“Just finished the “Nothingness of Ben” @BradBoney – it was exactly everything I wanted/needed.  Best dialogue in a book I have ever read.”

At first, the polar reactions gave me whiplash. It’s as if these two people had read different books (though I will point out that only 1% of Ben‘s Goodreads reviews are 1 star).

So how do writers deal with a trashing like that?

Well, I started with a good laugh. It’s the best way to get past someone punching you in the face. Then I went looking for a movie I love and read its 1-star reviews. There is an independent gay film called Strapped. It is so up my alley it’s not even funny. I love this movie. It’s smart and different and romantic and exhilarating. How anyone could hate it is beyond me. But there they were–eight 1-star reviews. I was flabbergasted. Outraged. Bewildered. And then I reflected back on my own bad reviews, and somehow I didn’t feel so bad.

No matter what I do, someone is always going to hate my books. So I grow a thick skin, laugh again, and keep on writing.

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YES – Excerpt and Giveaway

March 16, 2015

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On a flight home to Austin after his 40th birthday, Ian Parker wakes up from a nap to discover, in the airplane bathroom, that he is two decades younger. He returns to his seat and his best friend Mark.

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IAN DRIED HIS hands and took a deep breath. He opened the door and practically knocked over the young woman waiting in line. He apologized and hurried past her down the aisle. He took his seat next to Mark, shook him, and lifted his sleep mask.

“Wake up,” Ian said. “I’m having a really bad trip.”

Mark opened his eyes and recoiled. “What the—? Who in the hell are you?”

“What are you talking about?”

Mark shook off his nap and looked around. “You must have overshot your row or something. Someone else is sitting there. What’s your seat number? Do you have your boarding pass?”

“It’s me. Ian.”

“Ian?” Mark glanced up and down the aisle. “Okay. If you say so. There’s no point in getting into an argument about it.” With a look of subdued terror on his face, Mark reached up and pushed the flight attendant button.

“What are you doing?” Ian said. “Don’t you recognize me? I thought I was hallucinating. Tell me I’m hallucinating.”

Mark removed the pillow from around his neck and swiped off his mask. “Let’s let the flight attendant handle this, okay? I don’t want any trouble. Please, whatever you’re doing, you don’t have to go through with it. Think about prison at your age. Have you ever seen Turned Out? Or Oz? Sure, I know it looks hot when it’s Chris Meloni, but this isn’t fiction, young man. You’re on a real plane, and I’m a real person. These things have consequences, and there’s no point in ruining your life before it’s even begun. I’m sure your cause—whatever it is, religious or otherwise—I’m sure it’s a worthy one. Have you been wronged by the American political system? Well, take a number and get in line.”

“Mark, it’s me. Can’t…? Look, I’m wearing Ian’s clothes.”

“And that’s supposed to convince me? You’re wearing jeans and a plain white T-shirt. If they belong to Ian, then what have you done with him? What’s your angle here, kid? Why do you insist on pretending you’re Ian Parker?”

“I’m not pretending.”

“Then prove it,” Mark said.

“I can… I can tell you things I know about you, like your favorite TV show is RuPaul’s Drag Race. You’re obsessed with Robbie Rogers, which I totally don’t get. And you have a dog named Kitty.”

“Practically anyone who follows me on Instagram could know those things. Have you been stalking me? Does this involve sexual blackmail? Because let me tell you right now, I—”

“We met at Jester Hall twenty-two years ago. You live on West Thirty-Ninth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C. You used to have a boyfriend named Troy, but I called him Sparky for no other reason than I thought it suited him better than Troy.”

Marked paused, and it looked like maybe Ian had convinced him. But then Mark shook his head and said, “Still not conclusive. Are you Al-Qaeda? Or maybe NSA? It’s so hard to tell the difference these days. What have you done with my friend? Did you lock him in the bathroom? Is that what you did? Because if you’ve hurt him in any way, I swear I’ll—”

“I am your friend. Why can’t you look at me and see that?” Ian glanced down the aisle and saw a female flight attendant heading their way. He had to think of something fast. He turned to Mark and whispered, “Okay. I didn’t want to go there, but could practically anyone else know you have a thing for twincest porn? Maybe Elijah and Milo Peters? Or the two brothers from Brazil?”

Mark’s jaw dropped.

“I thought that would do the trick.”

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Leave a comment for a chance to win a free eBook of YES. I will pick a winner at 5:00 pm EDT.

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“It’s like that movie Big—only gay and in reverse.”

March 16, 2015

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Sometimes inspiration strikes when you least expect it.

Last spring, as I was finishing The Eskimo Slugger, I saw the movie 13 Going on 30 pop up on Netflix. It had somehow escaped my attention when it came out ten years ago, but I read the description and thought, “Oh, it’s a female version of Big.” Since the Tom Hanks classic is one of my favorite movies of all time, I was instantly on board. I gave it a watch and then said to myself, “Wait. Isn’t there a movie with Zac Efron that does the same thing, only in the opposite direction?” Indeed, the name of that film is 17 Again, and co-stars Matthew Perry.

Three movies all telling basically the same story? That’s almost a genre, right?

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Then I got an idea. What if I wrote a gay version?

I talked to my best friend Royce about it at brunch that weekend, and he encouraged the idea. I started to think it through. If I wanted to write a romantic comedy, I couldn’t have the protagonist be thirteen years old. Remember how the whole thing between Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins was kind of creepy? That would never do.

But I could build a romance around an older man who wakes up twenty years younger. I was certain I could make that work.

From there, I wrote the whole book by the seat of my pants. I settled on a main character, put him into motion, and watched what transpired as this magical thing happened to him. Other characters popped up along the way. Obstacles and complications presented themselves on every page. It was the easiest book I’ve ever written, and definitely the most fun.

If you liked those movies, I think you’ll enjoy this book.

Brad

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YES Release Party

March 16, 2015

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Hello and welcome!

My name is Brad Boney, and this is my first release party at the Dreamspinner Press blog. My new romantic comedy, YES, goes out into the world today (March 16, 2015).

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What if youth wasn’t wasted on the young? 

On the eve of his fortieth birthday, Ian Parker is looking for a reboot. He may be the proud owner of a trendy coffee shop in Austin called La Tazza Magica, but his love life has been MIA for years. During a trip to Denver with his best friend, Mark, Ian buys an enchanted chocolate from a mysterious candy store—then wakes up from a nap two decades younger. After the initial shock, Ian realizes a quirk of the universe has given him a second chance and, with Mark’s help, he devises a plan to start over.

With a new lease on life, Ian sets his sights on handsome architect Bartley James, a regular customer at La Tazza. He pursues Bartley as Ian’s twenty-one-year-old alter ego, Ryan, with decidedly unexpected results. Joining Ryan on his adventures are Matthew, the dreamy new barista, Jeremy, the geeky high-school math teacher, and Sam, the pizza delivery boy. Even as misunderstandings and expectations collide, Ian remains determined to right his past mistakes and find his off-ramp to happiness.

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Join me all day for some behind the scenes scoop, excerpts, and giveaways. I’ll be posting and chatting until 5:00 pm EDT. Don’t be shy, because I certainly won’t be.

I’ll be running an eBook giveaway at 9:30 am and a “Step into Brad’s World” T-Shirt giveaway at 3:30 pm. Leave a comment on each post to enter.

I have written four books for Dreamspinner Press. If you’ve never read one, YES is a great place to start.

 

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THE NOTHINGNESS OF BEN

THE RETURN

THE ESKIMO SLUGGER

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing this exciting day with me!

Brad

King of Rain – Release Party #5 – Location Photos Excerpt

March 13, 2015

Location, Location, Location!

The series name “West Coast Boys” clearly states that location is a big part of the stories. There’s a lot of reasons for this. I’ve talked a bit about the West Coast culture and its tendency to be open-minded and welcoming. I’ve talked a bit about the wilderness access that so many West Coast people enjoy and how I feel that influences and supports us. But there’s another reason that location is important.

Spiritual Connection to the Land

Many young people are feeling spiritually excluded these days. So many religions have turned their backs, or even raised their fists to LGBT people, that the loss of religion is widespread and understandable. I’ve found that getting back into the wilderness has been huge for me in helping me feel connected on a spiritual level to the world and the people around me. When I walk through the forest with my family on the weekends, I call it “Going to Church,” because that’s what it is for me. I always feel the tension drain, my spirits lift, and my heart open once I’ve had time breathing that thick rainforest air.

There are so many deep truths in a forest. Everything is connected and it all works together. Diversity is sacred. Each leaf is a work of intricate art so incredible that I know without any doubt that there is a pattern to everything around me. The West Coast Boys experience this too, even though they live in the city and are always glued to their phones.

Excerpt from King of Rain – Logan’s Pool

Here’s an excerpt about how Logan uses his deep connect with the land around him when he needs to make a deep change in his life.

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I looked up at the trees, black on either side of the river as they grew up the steep cliffs, and as luck would have it, right at that second, a huge bird flew across the divide. It must have been an owl since it was the middle of the night, and I wondered what the river looked like to him, floating above the world like that. It must be a scar, cutting deep down into the earth. I’d always known it was a special place. I felt… different whenever I came out of the canyon. Recharged, less desperate. If there was a place where I could do this… what? Transformation? It was here.

The water was so clear and clean. I need to get down to the water. I retraced my steps back over the bridge. There was a small secret beach just down from here, and I climbed down the steep path.

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The roots of the trees and the feet of all the locals that came down here had formed the steep path into tiered uneven steps, like tiny terraces of dirt held in place by the curves of the roots.

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I slipped a bit, but grabbed a tree trunk and stopped myself from flailing down into the metal fence at the bottom. I went more carefully after that, soaking my feet in the mud puddles that ran along the fence, down farther, until I came out on a great big chunk of rock overlooking the water.

This pool had the weird calm top to it too. The current was running fast and hard underneath, but it made the surface look smooth. I was like that, wasn’t I? Always smoothing over the surface of my face so I never looked upset.

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I made my way down the rock—the missing chunks made an almost-staircase, so it wasn’t hard to get down onto the little stony beach.
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The pool here was a safe swimming spot. It was cold as fuck, but it got shallow really fast downriver so if you got swept away, you could just stand up and walk out.

There was a little area in front of me that was deep water, though.

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Too deep to stand up, for sure. The water was shiny and black, and the trees on the far slope hung down towards the surface. How do you strip off a layer of yourself? Could I shed it like a second skin?

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I need to get in the water.
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Thanks so much for joining me for my first ever Dreamspinner Blog Release Party! Here’s where to find me online after this if you want to reach out, or follow the rest of the blog tour.

I hope you enjoyed my party!

Lots of hearts from
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Connect with Michele!

Author Site & Blog: www.michelefogal.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/michelefogal
The Books I Love & My Reviews on GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/michelefoga l
Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/MicheleFogalAuthor

Looking for King of Rain?

Amazon.com: http://amzn.com/B00U8ZYLZW
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/king-of-rain-michele-fogal/1121327108?ean=2940151255776
All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-kingofrain-1756712-147.html
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Michele_Fogal_King_of_Rain?id=TyTnBgAAQBAJ
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