Freshman Blues Release Party with Ravon Silvius: New Adult

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

Hello everyone! As the evening goes on, I want to chat a bit more about Frederick, and about why I wanted to write a new adult story in particular.

Frederick is a very private individual, and one who struggles a lot with the thought of his future. I don’t want to spoil anything about the book, but he’s very worried about his job prospects, and that underlies a lot of his uncertainty and character conflict.

I remember my senior year in college well, and I faced a lot of the same worries Frederick did. The last year of college is the last step before independence for a lot of people. For others, it’s the last year of high school, or the last year of graduate school. But at some point, everyone faces the reality of having to find a first job that will, with any luck, lead to a stable career.

As much as I’d like to be a full time writer, I went the PHD path and I am now a researcher. Other people I know decided to get very stable jobs as programmers or work in finance. Others are still finding their footing in a very difficult job market. A large part of the reason I wanted to write New Adult, and ended up writing Freshman Blues, was to explore the thoughts and feelings behind that first step in finding a new job.

So what about all of you? What was your first job? Did you enjoy it, or was it rough? Were you able to find work straight out of high school, college or grad school, or did you struggle for a while? Or are you still looking? Let me know your thoughts! What was, or is, your time as a “New Adult” like?

Also, I noticed that the print version of Freshman Blues is sold out on Amazon. The DSP website should still have some copies, though!

Freshman Blues Release Party with Ravon Silvius: Tough stuff

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

Every story needs a conflict, and in Freshman Blues, its Frederick’s unwillingness–or inability– to talk about his feelings and his battle with depression. So, let’s talk a bit about Frederick, the love interest and secondary character in Freshman Blues.

In Freshman Blues, Chris worries a lot about Frederick, who he thinks might be depressed. I wanted to take the time here to talk a little about depression, since I researched it a lot for the book.

Depression is hard to talk about and harder to define. The traditional diagnosis is a period of sadness and lack of ability to enjoy oneself for over two weeks, that’s out of proportion to a tragedy in someone’s life. But how do you define out of proportion? And why wait two weeks if someone is suffering?

I’ve heard plenty of descriptions of depression, both from people who’ve had it and from all over the internet. It’s like operating out a void, or just going through the motions of living. It’s terrifying to hear someone talk about, and quite difficult to know how to help. Chris, too, wants to help Frederick but doesn’t have the expertise or knowledge to do so. All he can do is keep trying to get close to Frederick.

Its well known that due to discrimination, GLBT individuals have slightly higher rates of depression. Thankfully, this is changing as people become more accepting and there is less homophobia in society. Freshman Blues deals with a bit of that as you learn about Frederick, and I did a lot of research on depression to do justice to his character. I’ve never been depressed myself, but given how common it is all over the world, it’s a worthwhile thing to learn about and write about. There’s hope out there!

What about you guys? Have you, or anyone you’ve known, ever been depressed?

Freshman Blues release party with Ravon Silvius: Superpowers!

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

So, let’s talk about the fantasy aspect of the contemporary fantasy that is Freshman Blues. The special powers!

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 11.26.56 AM

In writing the book, I wanted to have a setting where super powers are present, but I also wanted to avoid the typical “superhero” tropes. People aren’t born with their abilities, they earn them through study of their chosen field. There’s no Superman or X-Men in the Freshman Blues universe. There are, however, people who can use small-time abilities, like levitation or control of robots. But these abilities certainly don’t mean that you’re going to put on a cape and go crime-fighting—what it really means is that you’re employable.

In a way, the abilities are an allegory for mastery—in college in the real world, people always worry about what they can do, and whether they can get a job after graduation. That’s a huge part of the anxiety for senior students in Freshman Blues, including Frederick, who I will talk about more later. If you get out of college with a useless major, or a useless ability, things won’t go well for you. It’s the same worry people face in the real world, minus the superpowers.

While there aren’t any Supermen or Wonder Women in Freshman Blues, who have every power someone could think of, there are a lot of hard-working individuals with a chosen mastery. So my question to readers—if you were in the Freshman Blues world, what power would you aim for? What is your passion, and what superpower would be associated with it? If you like animals, would you want animal communication or control? If you like reading, would you then want speed-reading or instant understanding of a piece of work? What power would you want if you were, say, a cooking major? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back this evening to talk more about Freshman Blues, and I’ll be popping up in the comments of the release party posts in the meantime! :)

Freshman Blues release party with Ravon Silvius: New Experiences

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

Starting a new job….starting a new class…starting a new hobby. A large part of life is doing things for the first time, trying out new experiences, and getting over that initial hurdle of anxiety to break out of your safe zone.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 9.43.02 AM

In Freshman Blues, Chris, the main character, is starting his first year of college. Of course, considering his grades, he never expected to be there at all. It’s totally overwhelming for him, especially to see people use super powers they’ve already learned during their time in college.

He’s anxious, of course, but he gets through it by following through and making friends, and of course, developing a crush on another student. Once the initial experience is handled, getting into routine is easy. I think everyone has, to some extent, a tendency to develop routine just to keep themselves calm, even if it’s a simple coffee break at the same time every day.

What small things do you guys use to relax? Is there a routine you like? Or do you prefer to keep things exciting and never do the same thing twice? Tell us all about your first time trying something, and how it went!

Freshman Blues release party with Ravon Silvius!

July 3, 2015

Hello everyone, Ravon Silvius here!

I’ve been a writer of M/M for a while (you can find me at my website, Ravonsilvius.blogspot.com), and I’m here today to take over the blog and discuss my new release with Dreamspinner Press, Freshman Blues!

Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

When Chris is invited to prestigious Creekville University, he discovers he is part of an experiment by the mysterious Professor Faran. There’s no other way a C student like him would have been accepted into a college where academic mastery results in unique powers like levitation or empathy. But if Faran is right, even below-average students can get special abilities and a good job after graduation. Chris just has to work hard.

Chris isn’t the only one, either. Frederick has worked for Faran for years, and Chris is intrigued by the aloof and sexy older student. But Frederick is too terrified of life after graduation to pursue romance. As they work together, Chris tries to help Frederick out of his depression, all while juggling friendship, classwork, dating, and trying to carve out a place he can belong.

But funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose his opportunity at Creekville, and any chance with Frederick, for good.

 

It’s available today at the DSP store! I’ll be around a lot this morning and evening to discuss my book and chat with everyone.

First, a bit about the book. Freshman Blues is a new adult contemporary fantasy, and takes place in a college setting where people can get superpowers based on the major they pick. Everyone comes into college with a goal in mind, a subject they’re passionate about or something they want to learn more about.

Of course, a few characters run into an issue–you want to be able to support yourself after college. And sometimes, the thing you’re passionate about isn’t going to make you money. It’s something a lot of younger people struggle with.

Passion is a tricky thing by itself, too. Its easy to be interesting in something, only to realize that doing it professionally is a whole other kettle of fish. It’s also easy to get discouraged when you try and try at something you love, but don’t compare to your own inner standards.

Of course, when you’re truly passionate about something, things just come together—work doesn’t seem like work, and time flies by as you do what you’re passionate about.

So what are you passionate about, DSP readers? (Aside from reading, of course!) What is the major thing in life you enjoy, the hobby you love, or the thing you’d love to be doing all the time?

Second-Story Man Second Giveaway Winner!

May 30, 2015
The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

Hi all. Robert P. Rowe here. All good things must come to an end and so it is with the Release Party for Second-Story Man. I have to turn control of the Dreamspinner Press blog back over to the publisher. Don’t forget that the book can be found here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Now comes the time to announce the winner of the ebook giveaway. If you saw the previous post you can see that the competition is tough. Meeting in a sex education class, or dialing a wrong number, or finding that certain someone hidden behind a mask are all great accidental meetings.

It’s most interesting that all of the stories seem to carry the same theme—two souls destined to meet.

But the story that really got to me came from Su. I liked the comparison of Second-Story Man to a fairy tale—that is intentional. I also found some significance in the library meeting. Read my book and you’ll see why. Finally, I thought that the answer itself was somewhat of a fairy tale. Like all good fairy tales there are those evil characters that cause trouble but the happy couple will survive and live happily ever after.

I hope that I can add to Su’s happiness by awarding the final giveaway ebook of Second-Story Man. Go to this address and click on email right below the picture:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Send me your email address and I’ll pass it on to the good people at DSP to add an ebook onto your shelf.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. I really enjoyed reading your stories and I hope that you will enjoy reading mine.

Don’t forget to check out my website and blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

Second-Story Man Giveaway Countdown

May 29, 2015
The bar is getting ready to close.

The bar is getting ready to close.

The final countdown for the end of this Release Party has begun. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. The book can be found here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

A central theme for Second-Story Man is that there are no accidents—everything happens for a reason. With that theme in mind I invited blog readers to enter my giveaway contest the prize is an ebook version of Second-Story Man for the person who has the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Well the responses have been so wonderful I just had to share them with you. Here we go.

Deborah says:
Congratulations on the publication of The Second-Story Man, Robert! Fun way to hold a contest. My now-husband and I met in Human Sexuality Class in college. We were in the same discussion group, talking about our sexuality and its influences before we even started dating. Then of course we did start going out, and attending class together was like getting marriage counseling as we dated. Our 20th anniversary is this summer, so I guess it worked.

Steven Traugh says:
First of all, congratulations on your book! I’m looking forward to reading it. What a fun contest. When I decided it was time to marry, I moved to a cottage on the founding estate of Palos Verdes (an exclusive neighborhood along the beach outside Los Angeles) so that I could meet the “right kind” of girl. Imagine my surprise when I found the love of my life at work–teaching in the inner city of Los Angeles! It was love at first sight and now, 27 years later, she’s still the “right kind of woman.”

Susan says:
I was visiting my sister who was still in college and she convinced me to go to a costume Halloween party. I dressed as a flapper and met a cowboy (not too original) that I eventually wound up dating when I moved back to my hometown.

Angela says:
To answer your question i did meet my (now) husband at Carnival, at the food stand he was dressed in a funny shirt and jeans and i was dressed as an indian LOL We talked a bit and when it was time to go home he walked me to my friends place (where i stayed during the carnival festivities). We got married 4 years later and this weekend we will be married 13 years

Su says:
What an interesting contest and thank you for a chance to win a copy of your book Second Story Man. I enjoyed the book brief and the Repunzel story came to mind, with the prince climbing up the side of the tower to find the one of his dreams

I wondered which of my life stories would be interesting to you, maybe the one of how my current partner stealthy pursued (or indirectly courted) me as he knew I was very shy or how I met another man who has become my lifelong best friend. Both are quite sweet stories, but I might go with the best friend one. When I was about 13 I was starting at a new school, due to being bullied at my old one, and I immediately sought my haven, the library! After a few weeks of avoiding as many other students as I could, I was quite dismayed to find my hiding place in the library occupied by a dark auburn haired boy that I had admired from afar. His socked feet were resting up on another chair, his black rimmed glasses resting half way down his nose and he was reading one of the books that I had left there during the lunch period. He looked up and smiled (sigh) and his pale blue eyes were slightly enhanced by the enlarging effect of his reading glasses. I was not sure how to react or what to say, so thankfully he saved the day by saying he was looking for this book and would I mind sharing it with him. From that day forward he started to chat to me around the school and became my protector, as quite a few other students were jealous of our friendship. Yes he was my first crush and people thought we were dating, but we more like soul friends than anything else. I should say that he had seen me hiding in the library and decided to make friends with me. We shared our shy first kiss together and eventually, when he was about 16, as I knew something was worrying him, he told me his biggest secret and his fear. To be honest I was sad about it, but also fearful for him as I knew his parents were less than understanding and we pretended to be together until we went our separate ways when we went to university. We always remained in contact and after graduation we both worked for the same company and yes he family did reject him when he came out, but I was there for him and always will be and visa versa. So that is the story of how I met my closest and lifelong friend and protector.

Theo says:
Hi, congrats on the new release!

the interesting meeting story I have is not mine but my sister’s. She met her ex-boyfriend when she called her friend but got the wrong number. Problem was, the wrong number was owned by a man with the same name as her friend. When this man insisted he didn’t know her,she exploded quite spectacularly before realizing she dialed the wrong number. she apologized and they became a couple.

H.B. says:
Thank you for the excerpt!

I met my best friend two years before we got to know each other and actually became friends. We were both about ten and she was in the same summer program as me but we never talked to each other. She was just some other kid I was passing by and was passing by me. When I had to transfer elementary school to a school that covered grade 6-8. She saw me and I saw her it was like insta-friends.

Trix says:
I met my best friend in line for an a cappella concert at college our first year. I thought “who is that cool girl in the flowered dress?,” and it turned out she had seen me around the dorm. She doesn’t remember it, though…

All of your stories were so wonderful and original. It was really hard deciding would be this morning’s winner. But I had to choose one so I chose Trix. My reasons were simple and here’s what I told her:

Great story Trix. It’s funny how often people can see a complete stranger and instantly realize, “I know that person.” That’s a theme in my book too. There are no accidents–everything happens for a reason.

There’s still time to enter for tonight’s giveaway, but you’d better hurry. I’ll be signing off just after midnight Eastern Time.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man Cover

May 29, 2015

I’m back. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. The book can be found here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, book covers really make a difference in grabbing readers attention. Since art direction is what I do in my real job I couldn’t resist doing a little bit of it here too.

Dreamspinner Press art director Paul Richmond sent me a number of samples from various artists to give me an idea of what style I might like and what was available. I just looked at the art—not the name of the artist—and just so happened to land on Paul. A number of his covers had a great painterly quality along with some very handsome men.

I had such a clear idea of what I wanted the cover to look like that I had to send Paul my own sample. Just because I’m an artist doesn’t mean that I can draw anything. I have my limits. I do what I’m good at and then I hire someone else to do the things they are good at. My sample was created with a combination of SketchUp (a 3D computer drawing program) and Photoshop.

The composition is what I really wanted to convey. My challenge was to convey handsome men and yet not clearly depict their faces. I wanted my readers to be able to fill in the faces with their own imagination. For that reason the over-the-shoulder shot works best. It puts Carlos’s muscular shoulder at the edge of the frame and makes Michael appear to be the object of his affection. At the same time, as the title indicates, it appears that second-story man Carlos is up to no good.

So here is my sample composition.

My humble cover sample.

My humble cover sample.

This is where the real magic comes in. Paul took my sample and reworked it slightly to adjust the composition. He sent me a line drawing that I made a few notes on and I also gave him color direction. I knew that I wanted a cover in shades of blue to indicate that it is nighttime. I also wanted light streaming in the window from some off camera streetlight to illuminate Michael. I wanted Michael to glow like an angel.

Paul sent me his first color pass and I again made some minor notes. Carlos had gotten a little pale for a Latin man and I wanted the title to have a little more punch. Well, the final product came out great. Far better than anything I ever could have done myself.

Second-Story Man Cover

Second-Story Man Cover

In the end the book has a wonderful cover that clearly promises an unusual meeting. And that brings me back to this mornings posting. I promised an ebook giveaway of Second-Story Man to the reader that had the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner for an ebook copy of Second-Story Man just before Midnight Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too.

If you posted your answer this morning and didn’t win don’t worry—you’re still in the running.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. You can also contact me right here at Dreamspinner Press on my author page. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man ebook Winner!

May 29, 2015
Wouldn't a paperback look nice on your nightstand?

Wouldn’t a paperback look nice on your nightstand?

Congratulations Trix, you’re the winner. I really liked your story of meeting your best friend because it sounds so much like destiny. If you hadn’t met in line you would have met some place else.

Go to this address and click on email right below the picture:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Send me your email address and I’ll pass it on to the good people at DSP to add an ebook onto your shelf.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. It was a tough choice. Keep adding your contest entries throughout the day and I’ll be back again at 10PM Eastern Time tonight to choose another winner.

Don’t forget to check out my website and blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

P.S. If you entered the contest this morning, or anytime throughout the day, you’re still in the running for tonights giveaway.

Second-Story Man Places

May 29, 2015

Hello again. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. If you haven’t checked out my bio you really ought to. It can be found along with the book here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Now that you’ve read my bio you know that my day job keeps me busy as an art director. I also have this huge fascination for movies and television from the mid-century. Life seemed so simple and uncomplicated then—and the movies of the era made it less complicated.

I fell in love with that world—the backlot world of Universal Studios. While I was writing Second-Story Man I kept imagining the backlot as the home for my characters Carlos and Michael. Carlos has invaded Michael’s World so the reader gets to explore Michael’s World along with Carlos.

Now for those of you who can’t wait for a tour here it is in pictures.

The Brownstone Hotel from across the street.

The Brownstone Hotel from across the street.

This first image is of Michael’s Brownstone Hotel. Carlos climbed through the open window just above the segmental pediment. Just like now the street was deserted, but it was late at night when Carlos came sneaking in. This is a view from across the street.

Michael's room with the dresser and mirror.

Michael’s room with the dresser and mirror.

Here is the interior of Michael’s room. It’s just a small hotel room with a little kitchen. Michael had left his computer on the dresser just below the mirror. That’s where Carlos spotted it.

Michael's room and his queen sized bed.

Michael’s room and his queen sized bed.

Here is another view of Michael’s room. His orange desk is next to the bed by the side where Carlos sleeps.

This alley hides more than memories.

This alley hides more than memories.

This alley plays an important role in the story.

The Hide Away with its rainbow flag.

The Hide Away with its rainbow flag.

Another location featured in the novel is The Hide Away, a gay bar. This is an exterior view. Just to the right is the alley that connects to the next block. The alley is a shortcut to and from the bar.

The Hide Away interior from just inside the front doors.

The Hide Away interior from just inside the front doors.

Inside of The Hide Away Carlos is forced to endure many a night hanging out with the pool boys. Michael hangs out with his friends over by the far exit door.

The Hide Away from the other side.

The Hide Away from the other side.

This is Michael’s point of view across the bar to where Carlos hangs out by the pool table and the main entrance. Notice that the bar itself separates the room into two halves.

It’s not so unusual to meet someone in a bar. It’s more unusual to meet someone who climbed in your window. I’m running a contest to find out an unusual way that you met someone. All that you have to do is answer this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner for an ebook copy of Second-Story Man just before 11AM Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too. I’ll be here answering questions for a little while longer, then I’m back tonight at 10PM Eastern until Midnight.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.