Astounding Career Changes

June 26, 2015

So… career changes. Have you ever found your job life dead-ended or heading off in an unexpected direction? It can be stressful, but it can also be a chance to start something new and maybe better.

Last year, my husband got laid off from a job he wasn’t all that thrilled with. But then he spent a couple of months being a househusband, which—aside from the lack of paycheck—was wonderful. He taxied the kids everywhere, did the shopping and made dinner, and fixed a bunch of things around the house. We were both pretty happy, apart from the drop in income. And then he eventually found a new job with a fire department (he’s an accountant, not a fireman). But… firemen! I was thrilled. And he loves the new job. So this story had a happy ending.

firemen

 

No, neither one of them is my husband.

As for me, I’ve kept the day job that I’ve had for the past 22 years. But a few years ago I published my first novel, and now I have a whole other career—my dream career!—as an author. I am… not a kid. I guess you’re never too old to start something new.

In my new novel, Astounding!, Carter Evans is facing the end of his job as editor because his magazine is dying. He’s not handling it well. He sees it as a failure rather than an opportunity, and the booze isn’t helping any. And then he meets John….

What career twists has your life taken? Is there a new job you’d love to try? What do you want to be when you grow up?

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6587

The Astounding Tab Hunter

June 26, 2015

Let me tell you about Tab Hunter.  I’ve been reading his autobiography (http://www.amazon.com/Tab-Hunter-Confidential-Making-Movie-ebook/dp/B003ZYEZ8Q/ 1). He was one of the big teen-heartthrob actors of the 1950s, although that was an image created for him by his agents and the studios. But you can see why:

tab1

 

Heck, the man’s in his 80s and still looks good:

tab2

 

Like several other actors of the time, he had to keep quiet about being gay. In his book, he says Hollywood people knew about him and others, but kept that aspect private. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to lead a double life while being so much in the public eye.

I’m really enjoying his book. And one of the main characters in my newest book, Astounding!, looks just like him. John Harper claims to be an alien who arrived on Earth in the 1950s and took on the appearance of a popular actor, then stuck around. The other protagonist, Carter Evans, is highly skeptical. But he certainly finds John attractive.

You can read more about them in the book: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6587

Do you have a favorite actor from the ’50s? James Dean maybe? Cary Grant? Rock Hudson? If you were an alien come to Earth, which actor or actress would you choose to look like?

 

Road Trip and a Giveaway

June 26, 2015

So we’re here to celebrate the release of Astounding! (among other things), and I want to talk about road trips.

Astounding_postcard_front_DSPhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6587

 

In the book, Carter’s friends invite him along on a road trip in a rented RV, and he impulsively asks John Harper to join them. John is a terrible writer who looks like Tab Hunter and claims to be an extraterrestrial. So it might end up being a slightly strange road trip, but hey. I’ve driven cross-country with toddlers. I’d prefer an alien.

Carter’s trip begins in Seattle, continues south through Portland, and ends up at Yosemite National Park. And the timing is perfect, because tomorrow morning I’ll be making almost the exact same journey, only in reverse. I live a couple of hours west of Yosemite. With my husband and younger daughter, I’ll be driving up to Portland (where my older daughter has spent the past month) and then eventually to Seattle. I will be traveling with a teen and a preteen—travel companions as mysterious as any alien could be.

Have you taken a memorable road trip? Or do you dream of one? Tell me about it in a comment here (and be sure to include your email address). I’ll randomly choose 1 commenter on Sunday, June 28—when I’ll be in Portland!—to win an e-copy of my novella Grown-up.

 

An Astounding Day!

June 26, 2015

Today truly is an astounding day—and not just because my book came out. It’s been such a joy to see my social media feeds explode with rainbows and happiness over today’s marriage equality ruling. And it’s about damned time—but in a way, this change has come pretty quickly. Just a few years ago, most Americans opposed marriage equality. And then, well, I suppose they saw a few same-sex marriages happen and the world did not stop spinning. Imagine that!

I think most younger people see the need for marriage equality as being as obvious as racial equality. This is a change too. When I started university teaching 22 years ago—in a conservative part of California (yes, such a place exists!)—most of my students were pretty openly homophobic. Today? Even the butchest of straight boys tell the class that if some guy hits on them in a bar, they’ll happily take the free drink and then say “No thanks.”

This morning I told my 12-year-old that the Supreme Court had ruled that the Constitution protects marriage equality. She rolled her eyes. “No duh,” she said.

How great is it that we’ve gone from throwing people in prison because of whom they love to “no duh”?

150626120402-10-same-sex-reaction-0626-exlarge-169 Will you be celebrating today’s ruling?

Time for an Astounding! release day party!

June 26, 2015

Hi everyone! I’m Kim Fielding and I’m here to celebrate today’s release of my 12th novel, Astounding! Yes, there’s an exclamation point in the title. After Motel. Pool. I swore off punctuation in titles, but you can see how long that resolution lasted.

Thank you for joining me! So let’s party! Do you have a cold drink at hand?

107

Good.

How about something to eat?

032

 

Excellent. We’re all ready to go. Stay tuned, because later I’ll do some giveaways.

The new book is called Astounding! Paul Richmond designed the cover as a tribute to pulp spec-fic magazines. And that’s perfect, because the book starts with Carter Evans, who’s the founder and editor-in-chief of a magazine in its death throes. Here’s the blurb:

 

Carter Evans is founder and editor-in-chief of Astounding!—a formerly popular spec-fiction magazine currently in its death throes. Not only can he do nothing to save it, but stuck in a rathole apartment with few interpersonal connections, he can’t seem to do much to rescue his future either. And certainly all the booze isn’t helping. He snaps when he receives yet another terrible story submission from the mysterious writer J. Harper—and in a drunken haze, Carter sends Harper a rejection letter he soon regrets.

J. Harper turns out to be John Harper, a sweet man who resembles a ’50s movie star and claims to be an extraterrestrial. Despite John’s delusions, Carter’s apology quickly turns into something more as the two lonely men find a powerful connection. Inexplicably drawn to John, Carter invites him along on a road trip. But as they travel, Carter is in for some big surprises, some major heartbreak… and just maybe the promise of a good future after all.

 

And here’s the cover and buy link. So click over for your copy, and I’ll stick around here to chat. What else are you up to this Friday evening?

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6587

Astounding_postcard_front_DSP

 

The Elephant in the Room

June 22, 2015

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

There are some issues that I don’t address in this book that I plan to address in later books. I am not waiting for reviews to see if someone picks up on it, but I will point it out, and talk about it briefly. It’s the elephant in the room. Ollie has an eating disorder.

It’s hinted at in several instances. He has to go in for regular weigh-ins. His doctor is always checking his vitamin levels. Will and B are always urging him to eat. Ollie has an untreated problem. Well, a partially treated problem.

There’s a common misconception that men don’t get eating disorders. Sadly, in this world of selfies and Instagram, the occurrences of young men facing eating disorders to try to look good (as the world perceives good) is growing exponentially. I directly address the issue of body dysmorphic disorder in my new adult novel Unicorns and Rainbow Poop, but in Model Citizen we’re seeing a man with pretty bad anorexia. He makes off-hand comments about himself. He forgets to eat until his friends have to threaten to hospitalize him because his weight drops so low. And he goes on binges that are often followed by purges.

Because Ollie is an adult, he has to acknowledge the problem himself before he can begin to treat it. Kade, Will, and Britney all know he has a problem. They are very careful about dancing around the issue. Kade is a little pushier, trying to get Ollie to eat, and that is not always the right thing. But just like a regular couple, it will be an issue they have to learn to work on together.

 

“Back when I was modeling and I’d see the pictures afterward and think, wow, is that really me? The hours in makeup and hundreds of poses certainly don’t feel glamorous. When I first began modeling, I was too heavy to model women’s clothing and too thin for men’s. The fame didn’t really start to sink in until people began recognizing me. And then I started dating. For a while I felt powerful and beautiful.” Jacob had crushed that.

“You don’t feel beautiful anymore?”

I shrugged. “I’ve put on more weight than I should. I still work out a lot. Cardio, watch my diet, yoga, and very minimal weight training so I don’t bulk up. But I just don’t feel like I used to.”

 

All of these things he’s doing are what is recommended to keep healthy. However, his attitude toward himself is not. Our world has propagated making people feel bad about themselves. We’re bombarded by media every second of every day with images of what we should look like and how we should lose weight. They tell us no one will love us if we don’t look a certain way. And we can’t love ourselves. So what’s left?

Kade begins to give Ollie hope. Maybe it’s okay that he’s not perfect, not skinny enough, or too feminine. Maybe, just maybe, Kade can love him the way he is and then Ollie can find a reason to love himself. I’d like to think this is Ollie’s anthem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

We all have things we hate about ourselves. But I don’t want to hear about those. I want to know: What is the one thing you think really makes you incredible? What makes you, you?

For me, it’s this weird brain of multiple worlds and characters that is always on inside my head. Stories every second of everyday, replayed in over a thousand ways. So what makes you, you?

Thanks so much for joining me for a walk through my new release. All prizes will be chosen tomorrow so everyone has a few hours to read, think, and reply. :) Happy reading!

 

ModelCitizenFS

Booklist:

Model Citizen (DSP)

Hidden Gem (DSP)

Evolution (DSPP)

On the Right Track (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Inheritance (Lissa Kasey)

Reclamation (Lissa Kasey)

All the many Shades…

June 22, 2015

woman

Why would a man date a more feminine man?

I have a blog post coming up this week on The Novel Approach about the diversity in m/m romance verses real life and people’s opinion of what it should be. Long story short, people come in all shapes in sizes. Men and women. I can appreciate a pretty woman, a pretty man, a handsome man, or a handsome woman. So the question is: why would a man be attracted to a pretty man, maybe even a man who lived on the border of femininity?

Attraction is an individual thing. I can’t speak to the sexual side of it, but aesthetics are important to everyone, I think. Not so much how good-looking a person is, but whether or not they fit what we personally find appealing. I love two things about men physically: their shoulders and their eyes. For woman I find a curvy woman more appealing, and long hair (which is funny because I keep mine short). Some people love butts, some love boobs, some need muscles everywhere.

However, what we see in men in the media is pretty cookie cutter now, and just as unrealistic as the women who pretend they’re eating a burger at Carl Jr.’s. Great abs, giant arms, and defined pecs are the norm for a man, right? Short answer, no. It might be nice to look at for a while, but that body takes work to maintain. You want him to spend 18 hours a day in the gym, or maybe work to help pay the bills and then spend a little time with you instead? Isn’t that why most everyone picks the average guy? And what is average anyway? Oh, you mean the type of guys we see every day walking around us instead of on TV? Yes, that’s the average guy. So where is he in all this?

Kade is an average guy. He served his country. Got injured, came home to recover. He’s not a hardbody anymore, but he does take care of himself. He’s badly scarred and has a limp. He’s got a major Ollie kink that baffles Ollie. But Ollie has never been one to stew over a question. He asks Kade why:

“Why me? If you want a girl, you could have a girl. If you want a guy, you could have any guy. Most gay guys like guys like Will. All muscle and butch. I am not. I think if you were bi, it would make more sense.”

“I like men and all their variations. I have a difficult time finding comfort and intimacy with someone who is more like Will because he makes me think of my military years. The handful of one-offs that I snuck away to indulge in aren’t bad memories, but they aren’t great either. It was a time of hiding, not only because of the DADT laws, but because that part of the world really despises homosexuals. I heard about one guy my second year in who got caught.” Kade shook his head like the memory was still too painful to recall. “He was one of ours, but what the native people did to him…. And we left him there a few days. Wrote it off as killed in combat, which was bullshit. Hard not to associate fear, pain, and possible death with that sort of man.”

“Donovan’s not the soldier type.”

“He could be. Put him in a uniform and he’d fit in just fine. He’s not my type. The young ‘perfect’ bodies that are splashed everywhere. Is it too much to want a normal guy?”

I snorted again. “If you want normal, I ain’t it.”

“More normal than a lot. At least you’re not pretending to be butch or a super fairy just to fit a role. You are what you are.”

Second contest of the evening, for a chance to win your choice from my backlist: I think that is true attraction. Maybe even love. Just wanting someone for who they are. What do you find yourself looking for in other people? Something in their appearance? Something in their personality?

 

ModelCitizenFS

 

Booklist:

Model Citizen (DSP)

Hidden Gem (DSP)

Evolution (DSPP)

On the Right Track (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Inheritance (Lissa Kasey)

Reclamation (Lissa Kasey)

When is a Girl really a Boy? Does it even matter?

June 22, 2015

Genderfluidity: What is it?

StavStrashko_20150411002

You’ve probably seen this in the news a lot lately if you follow celebrity news at all. (It’s sort of hard to miss as the media crams that crap in your face.) Will Smith’s son wears dresses. So does Susan Sarandon’s son. I see this in the news and think, So? I’ve been wearing pants my whole life and I’m a girl.

Is that the difference, you think? That as a female we’re expected to dress like men just to be seen as equal (we’re still not, but that’s a whole other argument), but when men put on a dress it makes them what? Less than men? Oh right, women. That’s barely human, right?

I think it’s sort of funny that it’s even an issue. See, a couple years back, I worked with a guy who argued about the business casual dress code. He said why can women wear dresses and men can’t wear shorts? Both are showing their legs. Why is it an issue? No one had an answer. Or at least not one they were willing to vocalize.

Ollie says it very well in Model Citizen:

I sighed and ground my teeth, tempted to throw him out. “I suppose gender fluidity means nothing to you?” Of course not. Why would I think he’d looked beyond his own narrow world to discover the many different types of people who lived differently than him? I wore what I wanted, when I wanted. Clothes had enough labels and rules without adding a gender to them. “I’m sorry if who I am offends you.”

As a tomboy type of girl, I subscribe to his viewpoint. Clothes have a lot of rules, numbers, labels. I buy a lot of men’s clothing and sometimes women’s stuff too. It depends on the day and how I feel. I live in jeans or sweats and superhero T-shirts. Every once in a while, I’ll wear a dress. Why should that be any different if I were biologically a man?

I know everyone does this. They have little things they do that are considered stereotypical to the opposite sex. So I wonder why we have those stereotypes anymore? What do you do that’s not stereotypical? Is it what you do to stand out, or just be who you are? Which is more important to you?

Check out this fun little (banned) video of Stav Strashko: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD94CV7kLHE

 

 

ModelCitizenFS

 

Booklist:

Model Citizen (DSP)

Hidden Gem (DSP)

Evolution (DSPP)

On the Right Track (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Inheritance (Lissa Kasey)

Reclamation (Lissa Kasey)

A Silent Killer

June 22, 2015

ptsd

Serious topic here. Scary topic. PTSD—post traumatic stress disorder. We all hear about it on the news. The statistics are scary. One in three will experience it upon returning home from active duty, but less than 40% will seek help. Military personal take their own lives by the hundreds each year because of the illness. It’s very real and I’ve encountered it myself.

My brother’s best friend fought it for a couple years. I remember him before he left to serve our country. He was a good kid. Kind of goofy and had an easy smile. He always had good grades and treated people with respect. When he came home, he was no longer that goofy, smiling kid. Instead he was a very quiet, stoic man who jumped at fireworks and dogs barking. He married the first girl who would have him, but ended up divorcing her less than a year later because he would fly into uncontrollable rages caused by PTSD and the resulting lack of sleep.

He did go to rehab. I watched him struggle. I watched my brother struggle to support him though he didn’t understand at all what the problem was. We walked on eggshells for years. He’d come out of rehab and for a few months be fine, then he’d go back again. He’s remarried now and has a baby girl. They’ve found some normal in their life. But to this day that goofy, fun kid is gone. He watches the world with wary eyes and has to fight every moment of every day to control his anxiety, anger, and pain.

How many people could live with this every day without help? Why do they have to? What happens if we don’t help them? We lose them, of course. And I think one of the biggest misunderstandings about PTSD is that it only shows up in combat vets. Not true. Anyone who’s had a very traumatic experience in their life can have PTSD. Though combat is certainly among some of the worst events people can experience in their life.

“Have you spoken to a therapist?”

Kade frowned and blinked in confusion for a few moments. “About?”

“You’ve seen a lot of active combat. That changes a person. PTSD is a pretty big problem and often goes undiagnosed for years.” I looked away, feeling my heart give a warning ache again as it did any time I thought of anything related to Nathan.

“I don’t have PTSD.”

“You didn’t watch friends blown up, see children with their heads shot off, or watch militia gang rape girls too young to be considered women?”

Kade sighed. “How is any of that relevant to the job? Yes, I’ve seen some of the worst of humanity. But I’m here and still kicking.”

I flinched then shoved the papers back across the table. “Thank you for coming in, Kade. I think Will can help you find something that is a better fit for you than PHI.”

Ollie is hurt by Kade because he feels like he’s saying that Nathan just wasn’t strong enough. That’s why he died. Of course that’s not what Kade is saying. But Ollie is so traumatized by the death of his older brother that everything relates back to Nathan. And putting Kade, who survived, in Nathan’s role at PHI feels like betrayal to Ollie.

woman-hugging-man-350

Have you been touched by PTSD? Someone in your life maybe? Or yourself? Have you reached out to them just to offer some peace? An ear to listen? What more can we do to help them? Stories are pain are okay. Stories of recovery even better.

ModelCitizenFS

Booklist:

Model Citizen (DSP)

Hidden Gem (DSP)

Evolution (DSPP)

On the Right Track (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Inheritance (Lissa Kasey)

Reclamation (Lissa Kasey)

Redefining the Romance Hero

June 22, 2015

Demisexual_FlagLabels are everywhere. They always have been. Even back in Ancient Rome, people were labeled by class. So humanity’s obsession with labels now isn’t all that surprising. We keep breaking every little thing down into another label. Like sexuality.

It truly is a spectrum. I wonder how many romance readers actually know what some of these terms mean since most are not represented at all, like demisexuality. A person who is demisexual only feels sexual attraction for someone they care about emotionally. Much like asexuality, this doesn’t mean they can’t have sex or even that they have a low sex drive. It simply means they need an emotional bond for the act of sex to feel “right” in their own mind.

Ollie is demisexual. He’s never been the guy for casual hookups and he doesn’t get why his ex was hopping from bed to bed. So when he learned the man was cheating, he was heartbroken. Then Kade walks into his life. But Ollie knows Kade. He grew up with Kade hanging around his older brother. Kade is not a stranger. He’s a friend at least, and Ollie finds himself attracted to him. Confused and attracted to him.

demisexual

If this was Ollie’s only issue, it would have ended the story much sooner ’cause they would magically have talked out their feelings and been living happily ever after. Only that’s not how life works. Ollie doesn’t really sexually identify as anything other than gay, though his actual label would be demisexual homoromantic. But he’s young. He’s barely twenty-three, and his years of self-discovery were interrupted by the death of his brother.

Kade, however, is not nearly as young or unaware. He sees Ollie just as he is:

“I was working on this case with you until you saw the need to jump out of bed and run from the fact that you had sex with me.” (Kade)

“I didn’t run.” (Ollie)

“The hell you didn’t. We both know you don’t do casual sex, and that’s what freaks you the fuck out. I can count on one hand the number of guys you’ve taken to bed because you have to trust them first. Obviously I’m not there yet, and you feel like it’s a mistake. That’s something we should talk about. Get in the car, Ollie.”

It was a really long walk home, and I was still wearing sweats that said “princess” on the ass. I sighed and got in the truck, slamming the door extra hard just to prove he hadn’t won.

 

I think this emotional aspect of romance is more important than the sex itself. Ollie needs to face his emotions even if they hurt or confuse him. Kade is trying to help. He’s honest and forthright—and crazy about Ollie.

I find very little of the actual LGBTQA spectrum represented in current romance, or any romance, really. Someone can be demisexual and heteroromantic, or asexual and biromantic.

 

For the first chance to win an ebook copy of Model Citizen: What other divisions of the spectrum would you be interested in reading about? What confuses you? Fascinates you? How could I as a writer help broaden understanding of the spectrum for you?

 

ModelCitizenFS

 

Booklist:

 

Model Citizen (DSP)

 

Hidden Gem (DSP)

 

Evolution (DSPP)

 

On the Right Track (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

 

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

 

Inheritance (Lissa Kasey)

 

Reclamation (Lissa Kasey)