King of Rain – Release Party #4 – LGBT Mentors

March 13, 2015

Hi my dears,

I wanted to tell you a bit about the Cause behind the story, and how that influenced and inspired the series.

Finding LGBT Mentors

After seeing Rick Mercer’s video about youth at risk (post #1), I decided to do some more research on teen suicide and found the “It Gets Better” Project. It’s a non-profit started by Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller with the goal of preventing suicide among LGBT youth. In 2010, LGBT adults started sharing videos of their own stories, letting young people know how their lives have improved as they’ve gotten older.

Here are ordinary (and famous) people sharing messages of hope specifically for those in dark periods of their lives. Each one is so inspiring to me. This one is from the founders themselves.

EMBEDDED PLAYER

Here’s the YouTube link in case the player doesn’t work for you.

I’m working on my own video for the project, but the West Coast Boys series is also part of this effort. My corner of the world, the West Coast of Canada, tends to be rather open-minded (at least comparatively) to the LGBT community, and I wanted to show hopeful stories of young love unfolding against that backdrop.

Suicide

I’ve been a bit closeted about this book’s suicide element. I think I was feeling protective of my boys. Their story is not a depressing slog through oppression and pain, it’s a bottle of antidote dropped into a poisoned stomach.

Yes, there are dark parts, and gritty parts, but the journey is about building something new, filling up empty pockets with messy sloshing buckets of love and learning how to reinvent yourself when the old you just can’t survive anymore.

Give-Away Contest

Who is your favorite LGBT Mentor? This could be a celebrity or a family member or friend that has inspired or supported you. Tell us how they made a difference!

Comment and you’ll enter the Give-Away contest!

Coming Next:

Location Pics and the scene they illustrate!

Thanks for coming to my party!
Michele - Parisienne Signature

PS Here’s the link to King of Rain’s page on Dreamspinner.

“King of Rain” – Blog Party #3 – Steamy Excerpt with Soundtrack

March 13, 2015

WOO! We are at the hot party of the par-tay! Time for celebrating!

Sexual Content

Note: this excerpt contains sex and the book itself has a high degree of male/male hotness.

A fellow writer once asked me (as she cracked the book open), “Will there be bodily fluids?” to which I replied, “OH YEAH.” She was worried, but trudged into the dark anyway (bless her). She came back to me later and said that she found the sex explicit but also emotionally intimate and psychologically satisfying. I carry that compliment with me, because it’s an important part of my work. I don’t “fade to black” because I’m intensely interested in human intimacy. We dismiss sexuality as titillating or cheap / meaningless when it is one of the largest sources of intimacy that we have as adults.

Gay couple watching sunset

How each person navigates intimacy is ever-evolving. Their need for closeness and their physical desires mix with their confidence levels, their family history, their vulnerability and wounds they’re already carrying on their hearts. I don’t believe that any two sexual experiences are identical because we are all unique and changing from moment to moment. So much HAPPENS in the bedroom. Important stuff. Sacred stuff, gritty stuff, and uh, yeah, naked stuff!

Background to this Scene:

Logan is a troubled young guy who has followed a stranger back to his place to let off some steam. He gets more than he expected. This scene is from his perspective.

Soundtrack Excerpt – Track 6

“Thirst” by City and Colour

EMBEDDED PLAYER
Thirst by City and Colour on Grooveshark

And then he lay on top of me and asked if I was okay, and I felt myself melt a little more. I wanted to say no, I wasn’t fucking all right and tell him everything. I never felt like that, even with guys I’d known forever.

A new song came on. It was one that had been my theme song for a while, so I knew all the words. “Thirst” by City and Colour was perfect. It was all about being filled with longing, dying of thirst, feeling rejected and alone. It made me feel like he understood me for some stupid reason. Maybe this was his charity-fuck playlist or something. I tried to turn my head to look at him, and I caught sight of a tattoo on his arm. I couldn’t figure out what it was. It struck me how I knew absolutely nothing about him. “What’s your name?” I said.

“Jeremy. You?”

“Logan. Pfft. Nice to meet you.”

He laughed. I smiled and it felt strange on my face. God, how long had it been since I smiled? Leaning over my shoulder, he kissed my smiling lips, and then I was lost again, wanting to dive into him and never come up for air. Kissing a girl had never been like this. I mean, the mechanics were the same, of course, but this was like stepping onto the wet sand and then getting hit by a huge tidal wave. Oddly enough, the restraints felt like anchors that kept me from being pulled too far out to sea. It felt safer that it was hard to kiss him twisted around like this, safer that I couldn’t demonstrate how desperate I was to hold him, to take him or offer myself up like some pathetic virgin sacrifice.

He broke the kiss, and I was embarrassed to feel myself straining after him, looking for more like some blind, starving animal.

“You have a girlfriend?” Jeremy asked. It took me a moment to be able to answer.

“Not at the moment.” That felt more honest than just saying no. How is it that I actually want to be more honest than I could be?

“What happened to the last one?”

“She cheated on me.”

“The whole truth. No bullshit,” he said, but this time his voice didn’t harden up like it had before, and his hands held mine a little tighter, lending me his body as an anchor as well. God, I wanted to tell him, and maybe, just maybe he actually wanted to hear it?

“Okay, I was mean to her. Shitty enough to get her to leave me.”

“Why did you take her on in the first place?”

“She was pretty.” Shit, was that really the reason? I sighed, disgusted with myself. “She made me look good. A trophy girlfriend, I guess.”

“But…?”

“But she wanted to have sex all the time. I hated it.”

“You lost your gold star, then.”

“What?”

“On your gay membership card. You get a gold star if you’ve never had sex with a woman.” He shifted around beside me and pointed at his stomach, and there was this five-pointed yellow star tattooed a little below his belly button. He had lots of tattoos, I realized, but I couldn’t see them as well as I wanted to over my shoulder.

“Who says I’m even a member of the club?” I said, wondering if I’d get the chance to study his body later, look at each part of him in detail.

“I do, and believe me, I’m an expert. You’re in right now, but it’s not my bed that proves it. You’ve been in for a long time, haven’t you.” It wasn’t a question. He just knew, and of course I knew too, didn’t I? Hadn’t I been trying not to know for so long now? Was there really any point in pretending anymore?

*****
The Whole Soundtrack
Listen to some more of the tracks! Each song relates to a scene in the story. Some of them are playing in the background, and others are important milestones for the guys.

King of Rain by michelefogal on Grooveshark

Give-Away Contest

Who writes your favorite love scenes? Authors please, their titles and why they suit you best. Comment and you’ll enter the Give-Away contest!

Hearts!
Michele - Parisienne Signature

PS Here’s the link to King of Rain’s page on Dreamspinner.

“King of Rain” – Release Party #2 – Novels with Soundtracks

March 13, 2015

Read on for Give-Away Details!

Welcome (back) to the “King of Rain” Blog Party!

This post is about how each book in the West Coast Boys series has a Soundtrack, how that works, and how it formed.

How the Soundtrack Thing Started

A big part of my own West Coast experience is the contrast between modern technology and wilderness access. I live in a big urban city, but I also have the luxury of escaping into the forest without too much effort.

As our tech era advances, it’s my belief that we are evolving out of our headphone isolation and beginning to use the tools at hand to fill our lives with communication, community, and art. The proximity of the forest encourages that because it gives us a place to ground out and recharge.

Each book in the West Coast Boys series has its own soundtrack, and King of Rain is no exception.

Most of the songs came to me from my favorite radio station, thepeak.fm, where you can live-stream music, and I’ve also put them together into a playlist on my website, michelefogal.com, so you can get connected with these artists as your interest moves you and listen while you read if you want to. This was certainly the music I listened to as I wrote and edited the story and a large source of inspiration for me.

King of Rain – Soundtrack

EMBEDDED PLAYER
King of Rain by michelefogal on Grooveshark

Diversity

For me, art is about diversity. Books, music, lyrics: they are all sharing and enhancing the diverse human experience. If we can use technology as a tool to spread art, well then we spread diversity too.

My Diversity Wish for You

WARNING: This may sound hippyish to you, but just put on your mood ring and shut up ok? It’s only for 30 seconds, I swear.

May technology give you access to all the stones you need to build your path. May the natural world around you remind you that diversity is an ancient and sacred river where the wise come to drink. And may the songs and stories you choose lead you down to the water’s edge.

Accessing the Songs

You should be able to click on the embedded player and get the song to play. Here’s the song link on Grooveshark in case the player doesn’t work for you. However you access it, the idea is to click on the song, and start reading the excerpt as the song plays in the background. Give it a try!

King of Rain – Soundtrack Excerpt

Track 2 – “Enemies” by Hannah Georgas

Enemies by Hannah Georgas on Grooveshark
Enemies by Hannah Georgas on Grooveshark
***
“Enemies” by Hannah Georgas blasted into my earbuds talking about cuts too deep to mend and making enemies. Is that what me and Sky are now? I ran a little faster.

I thought about the way he’d learned to dance without holding back when we went out together, him with his cute fake ID. God, he was just a sweet kid, and I’d taken him. Yeah, he was in grade 12 and I was only four years older, but they were big years. I’d figured it all out—how to style my hair, how to dress, how to talk, how to smile, when to grind up against someone and turn them on. Had Skyler really had a choice in the face of my onslaught?

And I loved that, didn’t I? The power of knowing I could seduce and take what I wanted? Wasn’t that the best feeling?

I ran harder, wanting to sweat him out of my skin, wanting to stop picturing his smooth skin stretched out on my bed. I hadn’t cared about sharing him. Sure, I didn’t want him to play around without me, but why hadn’t I worried about losing him? Was it because I just assumed he was mine? Some couples played around because their love was so strong that nothing could shake it. That certainly wasn’t it for me. I think I just had this morbid fascination with finding out where his boundaries were. God, what if he’s with a guy we hooked up with! Wouldn’t that just serve me right?

***
KingofRainFS

Give-Away Contest

What’s your favourite gay love song? And no, I don’t have any restrictions on what can be labeled this way. I mean songs that speak to you within the M/M world, the LGBT world, or the world where love is just love, and not about physical plumbing. Comment and you’ll enter the Give-Away contest!

Heart!
Michele

Up Next

Steamy scene excerpt with soundtrack song!

XO
Michele - Parisienne Signature

PS You can also listen to the Soundtrack here on my website.

PSS Here’s the link to King of Rain’s page on Dreamspinner.

“King of Rain” – Release Party #1 – Story Inspiration

March 13, 2015

Hello Peoples!
Michele Fogal here to talk with you lovelies about my book, “King of Rain,” that’s getting released by Dreamspinner today (Mar 13th, 2015)! Woo – let’s party!

Blog Party Highlights

  • Give-Away Draws
  • Behind the Scenes – Inspiration for the story
  • Soundtrack Excerpts – where you can read a scene and play the mentioned song at the same time
  • Make a Difference – The Cause behind the story
  • Excerpts with Location Photos

I hope you’ll join me, ask questions and enter the Give-Away draw!

KingofRainFS

About the Novel

King of Rain is book 2 in my West Coast Boys series, and it is a contemporary Male / Male Romance, set on the Wet Coast, uhh, I mean WEST Coast! Yes, we do get a ton of rain, but the “Rain” title is also thematic.

Themes

Themes include: redemption, authenticity, coming of age, wrestling with your demons, feeling understood, masculinity, vulnerability, intimacy, conquering suicide, restorative justice, pervasive technology, how music can influence life, city experience plus wilderness access, and most of all, love and hope in the dark nights of the soul.

Here’s the link to King of Rain’s page on Dreamspinner

How the Story Started

I thought I’d start by telling you a bit about how this novel got started. I saw this video by Rick Mercer, called “Rant on Teen Suicide,” and it really struck me.

EMBEDDED PLAYER

Here’s the YouTube link in case the player doesn’t work for you.

Of course, I agreed with him: 300 kids lost to suicide every year in my country was 300 too many, but it had never occurred to me that I had anything to offer these kids. I’d had that common helpless feeling in the face of the tragedies of people that I don’t know. Ever since I’ve had children, the news has been really challenging for me to watch. Every person is someone’s child to me now, and I find myself not wanting my desentization back, but also feeling dangerously skinless and vulnerable.

It was inspiring to think that I could affect positive change, or create a moment of hope for someone I didn’t know. Growing up bi was an isolating experience for me, but maybe I could contribute to changing that for people younger than me.

In hindsight, that was when this story germinated in my mind. I wanted to write stories of love and hope for the LGBT community and for all my straight sisters too! I feel strongly that we need triumphant stories that inspire and uplift us.

Question for Commenters:

What are your favourite LGBT YouTube videos and what do they mean to you? I’m hoping for some inspiring content – anything that you find moving!

Coming Next: Soundtracks!

Why each novel in the West Coast Boys series has a Soundtrack and how that works with the story.

Thanks for coming to my party!
Michele - Parisienne Signature

King of Rain – Back Cover Blurb:

Being uber-tall and broad made it easy for Logan to hide his sexuality and vulnerability behind armor made of strength, ambition, and emotional detachment. His mask of macho success is shattered when he discovers the friend he’s carried a secret torch for has a boyfriend, and everything he’s always wanted now belongs to someone else. Logan can’t pretend not to care anymore, as his rage erupts in a horrible act of revenge. It’s impossible to hide his demons, now that they’ve broken loose.

Since losing his sweet boyfriend, Jeremy’s loud and proud life of sex parties and clubbing feels empty. When he meets the dark and self-destructive Logan, Jeremy recognizes the demons he sees in Logan’s eyes. After all, he has plenty of his own.

Logan isn’t looking for love, he’s looking for punishment and release, but with Jeremy all three seem momentarily possible… until he learns his victim was Jeremy’s lost love. Logan doesn’t expect forgiveness and knows he doesn’t deserve a real life, but after a taste of intimate closeness, finding salvation alone will mean he has to change, or die trying.

Guarding January contest winners

March 11, 2015

Thanks again to everyone who joined me for the Guarding January release party today.

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And congratulations to Waxapplelover who won the contest for a print copy of Guarding January, and to Su who won an ebook copy of the book.

If you could both email me at seanmichaelwrites @ gmail . com (without the spaces), that would be great.

 

Sean

smut fixes everything

Thank you!

March 11, 2015

Thank you to everyone for hanging out with me today!

I’ll be back later this evening to catch any comments I haven’t replied to and to pull the contest winners, so don’t forget to get your entries in for the print book contest and for the ebook contest.

And I hope you all enjoy Guarding January!

 

GuardingJanuary_headerbanner

Sean

smut fixes everything

 

When a short story goes long

March 11, 2015

The way  Guarding January started was that I had a call for a story featuring a bad boy. It was supposed to be about 15000 words. Well, the minute I read the call, Lord January, Vampire King pops into my head and lo, he has a bodyguard in tow who is going to fall hard for him.

I start writing merrily – these boys are good and noisy and I’m zooming along. Ten thousand words in after only a couple of days, I realize two things. 1) This is not going to be a short novella. Not at all. 2) Lord January is a front – Jeff is not a ‘bad boy’, he just plays one on stage.

While this can be somewhat annoying, in that I’m now out a bad boy story for this call, I can’t really complain. Noisy characters are always a good thing, and getting to spend 60000 words with a pair is usually a good time.

So I’m glad that Jeff and Rye turned into the novel they did and I’m glad they stayed noisy until it was finished!

What is your favorite length of book to read?

 

guardingjanuary

Lord January is at the top of the charts, only comes out at night, and is usually covered in blood. Say what you will, but the man knows how to put on a great show. But when the Vampire King is let out of rehab, the last thing he expects is someone forcing him to eat real food, hang out in the sun, and generally be a human being.

Rye Sommers, the best bodyguard in the business, has been hired to babysit a rock star whose biggest threat surprisingly isn’t all the hard drugs, desperate groupies, and crazy fans—it’s Lord January himself. But the closer Rye gets, the more LJ turns into sweet, gentle, caring Jeff Smart. He may still be the super-skinny, pierced and inked genius Lord January, but he is slowly shaking his death wish as he sheds the loneliness and exhaustion his stage persona saddled him with.

But as Rye falls in love with the real Jeff, he finds himself in over his head. He knows he can keep Lord January away from the drugs and the groupies, but saving Jeff might force Jeff to choose between his career as Lord January and his very life.

Available at Dreamspinner!

Sean

smut fixes everything

Contests – Old and New

March 11, 2015

There’s a contest for a print copy of Guarding January from this morning. Comment on this post to enter for a chance there.

Now here’s your chance to win an ebook copy of Guarding January! Just leave a reply to this post, telling me what your favorite genre of music is, and you’ll automatically be entered.

I shall be pulling contest winners for both contests this evening.

 

GuardingJanuary_headerbanner

 

Sean

smut fixes everything

Food Glorious Food

March 11, 2015

In Guarding January, one of the things Rye finds himself doing is feeding LJ, who is too skinny and doesn’t eat nearly enough. He finds out the best way to get calories into LJ is through smoothies, cheese sandwiches and homemade tomato soup. Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup happen to be comfort foods for me, but only if the cheese in the grilled cheese is the kraft singles and the tomato soup is campbells. Not that I don’t like other cheese grilled cheese sandwiches or homemade and/or organic, gourmet tomato soups — I do, but they aren’t that “comfort food.”

What’s your comfort food? What would be Rye’s best choice for feeding you?

GuardingJanuary_FBbanner_DSP

Find Guarding January at Dreamspinner, Amazon or All Romance Ebooks

Sean

smut fixes everything

Introducing Jeff aka LJ

March 11, 2015

GuardingJanuary_FBbanner_DSP

 

And here’s an introduction to Jeff/LJ/Lord January, from Chapter One of Guarding January:

“Do I have to go?” Jeff stood at the door of the room he’d been living in for eight months. Eight months he’d been safe and happy in there. Eight months he’d been able to be just Jeff, instead of Lord January. “Jim, can’t I just stay?”

“Oh, honey, you know you can’t. You have all the tools to do this. You do.”

His sponsor and the man who had become a friend stared at him, smiled.

“You look like Santa Claus when you do that.”

“Shut up.”

They looked at each other, then they cracked up, leaning together, and if he cried a bit, Jim didn’t say a word.

“Come on. Donna sent a car for you, to take you home.”

“She sent a babysitter.”

He couldn’t even complain; he probably needed one, but couldn’t it be Jim? Couldn’t he stay there where he was safe?

“You have my number, Jeff. Use it if you need it, okay? I mean that.”

He nodded, wrapped his hoodie around him, iPod in the pocket, put his sunglasses on, and hunched inside the fabric.
Jim gave him a short, hard hug, then walked him out the front door. Out into the world.

He winced away from the sunlight, tugging his hood down farther. “My things?”

“Already in the car, Sir.” A mountain of a man threw him into shadow, and a huge paw was held out. “I’m Rye.”

“I don’t shake hands. Sorry.” Jesus, Donna had hired a giant. “I’ll call, Jim, okay? Soon?”

“Anytime, Jeff. I promise.”

The giant waited until he started down the walk, then paced him. “We’re the dark gray SUV to the right of the gate.”

“Okay.” He kept his head down, making sure the light and the long-range lenses couldn’t get to him.

He had to admit, having the Hulk walking next to him gave him some cover to hide behind, making him feel less exposed. Didn’t mean he suddenly wanted the babysitter, mind you.

The walk down the path seemed to take for-fucking-ever, but at last they were at the car, his minder opening the door for him and bundling him in. The door shut with a very final sounding click, and in seconds they were driving away from the one place he knew was safe.

Jeff put his earphones in and turned the music up loud, the noise pounding in his head.

He stayed in his cocoon until the door opened, his new bodyguard’s hand touching his arm. Aside from really tall and really built, the guy had short brown hair, like military cut almost, and a square jaw like you’d expect some tough bodyguard to have. His new bodyguard’s eyes were surprisingly blue, like bright and alive. Jeff slid his gaze from the guy to the house.

Home sweet home. Goodie. He stood, the garage quiet and still. There were two doors down there—one to his rooms, one to the rest of the house where everyone else was. He grabbed his guitar, then headed to the door on the left, heading upstairs without a word.

Sean

smut fixes everything