This Sunday I drove a couple of hours south to Rochester, MN, to join two other M/M authors from that city who’d decided to have a booth at PrideFest 2014. I’ve never gone to any Pride as more than a quiet anonymous wanderer of the venue, so this was new. And a bit intimidating. But the more I work with the YA LGBT group, and teens, the more I want to stand up visibly. So I made a poster and cards for the YA group, took some books to give away, and went.
The booth was the brainchild of M/M authors Tina Blenke and Posy Roberts. They’d bought a prize-wheel for people to spin, and brought some little prizes and candy, and our swag. But the best thing was, they’d brought family. Because imagine this scene…
Three authors set up a table, and prize wheel, and sit to watch people walk by, and walk by… One (yeah, me) gets up and makes a sign pointing to the wheel. “Spin to win prizes –> ” And they sit some more…
Now imagine two wonderful twelve-year-old girls – Tina’s daughter and her friend – dressed in volunteer pink shirts because they’d already spent the morning helping with set-up, standing next to the wheel. The girls smiled and chatted to people, and encouraged them in, and held the wheel low for kids. (Who were not allowed to win books – the first hit on a “Free Book” slot was a little boy about 6 years old. Um, no, not even “Rainbow Briefs.”) So a huge thanks to those two wonderful and energetic kids, who made it work.
It was fun and interesting. Several people said they didn’t know gay romance was a thing. Some paused to check out the books. We had a sheet of paper set up asking “What gay romance plot would you like to see?” People said,
*E.R. Nurse meets and falls in love with the Reaper, but doesn’t know it.
*Something with pirates and hovercraft
*Bisexuals and drag kings
*Two guys crash a hot air balloon in Africa
*Superhero falls for a mortal and they get it on for REAL.
*Pot smoking hippy and a straight edge
*LGBT love in space
*penguin-shifters… Okay, that was mine to start things off.
Lots of great ideas, and it was fun to watch people come up with them.
Some people wanted to tell us their stories. We heard from the two young women who wanted a “Southern Baptist girl falls for another girl” story, because that was their life. We met a transwoman finally making the physical transition in her fifties and loving it at last.
And we met a man about my age who talked about growing up gay in a Minnesota small town in the seventies. Where the only other gay boy he knew was his boyfriend, who committed suicide as a young teen. How isolated he felt, how even inadvertently his family put the expectations of town and church onto him. How he had to make himself an anti-suicide plan not to follow his friend. And how his eighty-year-old dad, even now, has accepted the idea that he has a boyfriend, but wants no PDAs anywhere in sight. He was pleased for the kids growing up with the openness of Pride, and yet worried about the level of animosity from the small segment of virulent homophobes around.
Because we did have two lone protesters, straight white men standing at the end of the street, holding signs about “The wages of sin are death”. Not enough to dampen the party, but a reminder of the work still to do. And that there will probably always be those who hate anyone who is not one of exactly their own kind.
On the other hand, the drag queens were excellent. (The clothes, the style… And how they manage to walk, let alone dance, in those heels I don’t know. Award-worthy performances across the board.) There were a ton of families with children, which was great. We gave a lot of rainbow bracelets out to the under-ten set. There were the Christ United Methodist Church and the People of Hope Lutheran Church and the Peace United Church of Christ with booths draped in rainbows. The Rochester Public Library had a booth, and I was delighted to see copies of “Two Boys Kissing” and “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children” and other young adult titles among the books on display.
I gave away seven copies of “Rainbow Briefs” in paperback, and five of my adult titles. Posy sold a couple of books, and handed out a lot of cards, and Tina had people take magnets of the gorgeous vampire cover of her ebook. (One guy commented he’d like to date the cover model.) I got to promo the YA LGBT Books group to a few teens and a couple of teachers and others who work with teens. So over all, it was fun and felt productive. I have a much easier time speaking up for the YA group than my own books, so that part was enjoyable.
There was some talk about maybe trying to do Minneapolis Pride next year. Maybe… And in a bit of serendipity, right before I was asked to this Rochester event, I’d been writing about John and Ryan and their teen kids, at a small-town Pride in York for Rebuilding Year 2, so I was taking mental notes. A fun day all the way around.
Hey everyone. I wanted to let you know that in the lead-up to the Gay Rom Lit retreat this October, Boys in Our Books will be hosting some of the attending authors. Today is my turn. Stop by to find out who my own favorite character is, or how I got started writing M/M. Then comment on the BiOB post linked above, for a chance at a prize package of a backlist ebook from me, a Boys in Our Books mug, and a $10 gift certificate for All Romance ebooks. While you’re there, check out last week’s interview with Damon Suede and look forward to another interview coming up each week through the fall with with Kate McMurray, Anne Tenino, Heidi Cullinan and many more great authors as we count down the weeks to GRL.
I’m looking forward to Gay Rom Lit, and I just got a little of the swag that I’ll be bringing to it. You can get a freebie early if you live close by. I’m going to be in Rochester MN this Sunday July 20th for PrideFest 2014. I’ll be there giving away a few books and some of the swag. Stop by booth 21 and say hi.
Good luck in the drawing. (Feel free to also comment below if you like, but comments posted here will not be entered for the drawing.)
. Laser Visions is now released, from the Goodreads M/M Group’s Love’s Landscapes free story writing event. I ended up with a novel, at 79,000 words, and I had great fun writing it. This is a near-future paranormal mystery. The prompt says,
I just moved into this old antebellum home I bought with the intentions of restoring. I often find myself awoken in the night by strange noises I cannot identify or hear during the day. At first, I think it’s just a dream… this seemingly phantom always walking away. Who is he and how can I get him to finally turn around and see me?
****I don’t want this to be a past lover/reunited lovers story. Please no cheating or ménage and must have a HFN or HEA ending. Otherwise, get as creative as you like.****
Well how could I resist the challenge of a story where one MC keeps disappearing, and yet create the HFN/HEA ending that Kyle requested?
This story is set a couple of decades into the future, but it’s more of a low-key paranormal than Sci Fi. There is a mystery, inherent in that naked male figure, vanishing into the blue. And two men who are trying to solve it from opposite sides of reality.
You can find the complete Laser Visions story with the original prompt picture from Kyle Adams posted on the group. And the nice folk on the M/M group have already made it downloadable, due to the length. You can get a copy, complete with the gorgeous cover created for me by Enny Kraft on the M/M Group’s download site for DRitC. You don’t have to be a member of the group to download it.
I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had writing it. Check out all the other great Love’s Landscapes stories that are out, and will continue to release from the group, through into September.
And don’t forget, You can go read and comment on my short contemporary story, In the Rockets’ Red Glare on The Gemini Girls – #JulyFever – Day 10 – Kaje Harper. At the end of the week they will draw for one free backlist book of mine, and put your name in the hat for a multi-author grand prize package.
So… I’ve broken the dry spell and released a couple of new freebies for you. It’s a really nice feeling to be sending more guys out into the world for you to meet.
Today I’m on the blog of The Gemini Girls, participating in their July Fever event. Of course, given the choice of writing a blog post or a story…
I wrote a story. You’ll find a little 2500 word short, titled In the Rockets’ Red Glare. If you comment there is also a chance to win any of my backlist books (and if you see the covers posted are freebies, that’s just because they’re my latest; if you win, pick any of the pro books I have out.)
The site also has a grand prize drawing for a bundle of M/M and M/F ebooks for many of the featured authors, including my own Unacceptable Risk.
You can find the story at #JulyFever – Day 10 – Kaje Harper. I hope you enjoy it.
UNRELATED WARNING There is another new site out there claiming to be selling romance books, including many of mine, for $1.50 each. The site is “romancepdf.com”. Most of the sites that illegally sell books are phishing for your credit card and computer information. Many do not even have the books. If they do, they are illegally making money off the authors’ work, and paying us nothing. It is always a warning to see they are selling “Nor Iron Bars a Cage”, which is a freebie. DO NOT GIVE THIS SITE YOUR MONEY OR YOUR INFORMATION.
I have an interview posted on the blog of author Jamie Lake. Jamie asked questions about getting started, my writing process, and advice for potential authors.
Jamie also had other author guests you might be interested in, if you flip through the posts. I saw Matthew J. Metzger, Drew Hunt and Stormy Glenn among others. Check it out.
Hi everyone. *sheepish smile* So some of you have noticed I haven’t released a new book for six months. Well…
I have been writing, but between betas and editors and all the details of completing stories, things got a bit clogged in the pipeline. So what is coming up?
The Family We Make (Finding Family #2) is in editing. I dumped the whole 145,000 word story on some poor beta readers, but they are getting it back to me now. This one will be a self pub for money, my first attempt at that. I’ll put it out on Smashwords, ARe and Amazon, as soon as everything is done. It still needs another edit, proofreading and formatting, so I’m shooting for the middle of August for this one.
Here’s the blurb, though:
At seventeen, Rick Albright left his home, his parents and even his old name, rather than pretend to be straight. But being on his own was hard. When his big brother Sam found him, and insisted on giving him a place to stay, he didn’t resist too long. Living with Sam is better than fighting just to survive, but it’s not easy to find his balance in a simple, small-town life, after his time on the streets.
Travis Brinkerhoff finally managed to come out in college, his second year anyway. It was the one bright side to losing his baseball scholarship and jock status. But without money for tuition, second year came to an abrupt end. He’s back in his small Minnesota hometown, and back in the closet. Travis feels like he’s trying to fit back into a life he’s outgrown. If he’s going to survive, he has to figure out a way to be his own man, maybe even have his own man, without losing the family he loves.
When he left the Marines, Sam Albright wanted nothing more than to find his missing younger brother. Mission accomplished. Now he’s got an independent, possibly traumatized, openly gay young man on his hands, a fiancée in a war zone overseas, and parents he has to lie to in order to keep the peace. Keeping it all together won’t be easy, but Sam has never backed away from a challenge.
This has three POVs – Sam, who was in The Family We’re Born With, his brother Rick (who used to be Clint) and Travis. I’m trying out more POVs for this series, 3 or 4 in a book like I did in the first novella. It’s an interesting experiment and always fun to do something a bit new. There will be at least one more book in this series, probably a 4-guys-POVs with Rick, Travis and two new main characters.
Laser Visions is done, edited and proofread, and in the queue to release from the Goodreads M/M Group sometime in the next two months. The release schedule is a secret, but I’ll post here as soon as it does come out. It ended up at 79,000 words, and will be downloadable for free.
Unjustified Claims – Hidden Wolves book 3 is in editing with MLR press. This introduces a new couple, but also takes Aaron and Zach a little further in their relationship. I’m hoping for a September release for this one.
Unfair in Love and War is a 24,000 word historical novella, that will be released as part of a charity anthology. I wrote a WWII home front romance, with just a touch of angst. There are some other great authors in this project, so I’m really looking forward to giving you all more details in a month or so.
I have a novella that has the working title Raining, Cats, and Dogs completed for an MLR press project. It will get a project title later. Once MLR is set with the publicity for this one, I’ll let you know as well.
In ten days, I have a blog post with a little 2400 word short story coming out, for the July Fever 2014 event on the Gemini Girls blog. I was told I could do anything I liked for the blog, as long as it had a July theme and you know me – a story immediately sprang to mind. This blog does M/M and M/F romance books, and will feature an author a day through the month, including several of us from M/M. There will be chances to win books too. Who knows, maybe we’ll entice a couple of readers away from the straight and narrow.
The Rebuilding Year Book 2 is my current Work In Progress, at 65,000 words so far. I signed up for Camp NaNo, a cooperative writers’ effort for the month of July, where we encourage each other to get words down on the page. My goal is 50,000 words, which should finish this book.
And of course, I’ve written at least one, sometimes two, really short stories for the picture prompts on my YA LGBT group each month.
So pretty soon, I hope to be able to hook you up with some new words. Thanks for sticking around and waiting.
Samhain Publishing has just released the paperback version of my book Sole Support, about a year after the ebook released, as is their standard practice. It should be available on all the usual vendors, including Directly from Samhain. If you’re one of the readers for whom this book struck a chord and you want it in paper, it’s now available. I’m also giving away two copies to commenters on either my Goodreads or WordPress blog. I’ll choose two names at random from the comments below, at midnight CST on June 5th.
Sole Support is a slowly-building story of love and family; of dealing with a parent’s slow slide into dementia, and not always dealing with it well. It shows one man’s realization that accepting help may be the hardest, best thing you ever do. If you can get there, past pride and fear and your own stubborn self-reliance.
Kellen’s mother is slipping, her mental lapses showing right at the time Kellen meets Mike. Kellen finds that sometimes there’s not enough of him to go around, not enough energy or kindness or time. Dealing with his mother and giving Mike more than a casual place in his life seems impossible. But simplifying things by avoiding a relationship turns out not to make his life easier.
Mike has finally met a man he’s willing to come out of his shell for. But Kellen is distracted, casual, and distant. Is there really more between them than a physical relationship? And is Kellen a guy worth fighting for, or an insensitive loser that he’s better off without? Mike could just walk away, but something about Kellen keeps him wanting to stay.
Comments below through midnight June 5th will be entered in a drawing for two free paperback copies of Sole Support. No restrictions on location for this contest.