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Sole Support released

June 3, 2013

Sole Suppor cover I’m delighted to say that my contemporary novel, Sole Support, is now available. (Samhain has it discounted as a new release on their website and it will be up on other retail booksellers’ sites shortly.)

Blurb: He can find a use for his lover’s hands…except when he needs help the most.

Kellen is short on cash—at least until his first novel starts to sell—but he has plenty of friends. None of them, unfortunately, share his love of books. For that he turns to IM chats with Mike from his online book group.

Though he manages to coax the shy, socially inept pathologist into a real-time meeting, Kellen has no intention of letting his new friend become more than a casual lover. Shaky finances and ailing mother aside, self-sufficiency is Kellen’s prime directive.

Mike considers himself a nerd of the highest order—short, bespectacled, prone to blurting out the wrong thing at the worst possible time. Meeting Kellen face to face is the biggest risk of his life, and he wonders if they’ll get more body parts together than just their faces.

First meeting leads to first date—first everything for Mike—and soon Kellen’s faced with breaking his just-friends-with-benefits rule. Yet as his elderly mother wanders deeper into senility, Kellen wonders if it’s better to lean on Mike rather than fall.

~~~

Writing this book gave me the chance to be positive and creative about a difficult situation – the pain of watching an elderly parent gradually lose her independence. One of the best things about writing romance is that it lets me take hard emotions and transmute them into shared love in the end.

And here’s an excerpt, from near the beginning – I’ll drop it down a bit, for those who don’t like excerpts:

.

.

.

Mike’s computer sat open on his desk. When he signed back in, the little flag in
the corner of the screen showed that he had a message. He took a long sip of
coffee and clicked on the icon.

Hi. You up tonight? The IM time was listed as half an hour ago. Kellen might
have given up.

He typed: Sure. You know me. Hit Enter.

It was only a few seconds before the answer came up on his screen: I was
beginning to wonder. So, have you read the new Plakcy mystery yet?

Not yet. He paused. They’d talked about gay mysteries before, but only in
very distant terms. But if Mike was going to quit being pathetic, here was a
chance to start. He made himself add: I do love Kimo, though. What a great character.

He waited, finger hovering over the keyboard. Because that was more blatant
than he’d ever been, putting his admiration for an out-and-gay character down
in words. But finally he sent the comment. He knew Kellen was gay. Kellen
would be okay with this, even if Mike was sort of coming out to him.

It was surely his imagination that made it look like there was hesitation, as
the little note said kellen is typing and then stopped, and then kellen is typing and
then stopped.

It finally popped up: Yeah, me too. Although I like Mike even more. Wouldn’t
mind seeing more about the two of them mixed in with the mysteries.

Mike blew out a long slow breath. Okay. Okay! Before he could lose his
nerve he wrote: That’s even gayer than what I said.

🙂

A freaking smiley. He put it on the line and got a freaking smiley back.
Although in a way, he was glad Kellen wasn’t making a big thing out of it. He
hesitated and then wrote: I kind of like it that the focus is on the mystery. Like Kimo is
just another guy, you know?

Yeah. Except Kimo+Mike=hot.

Oh God. He put his head down on his hands and breathed shallowly for a
bit. Kellen knew now, for sure, and was telling Mike he knew. In a friendly way,
not a get-away-from-me-you-stalker way. When Mike looked up, there was a
string of messages from Kellen.

Don’t u think?

Like the scene where they’re in the bathroom.

Mike?

TMI??

He quickly typed: No. Not TMI. I agree, very hot scene.

So any other good reads lately?

A few. Time to get things back into the comfort zone. Found this author Clinton
McKinzie, wrote a series of thriller mysteries with mountain climbing in them and then
stopped. Nothing for 5+ years. A pity.

Gay MC?

No, straight. Cool guy tho.

There was a pause and then kellen is typing, followed by such a long pause
Mike wondered if Kellen had wandered off into some other realm of the Internet.
They were both comfortable enough by now to do that, heading off to look at
reviews or news, and then picking things back up when a new message pinged
them. He was about to do the same himself when the next one appeared.

Any interest in getting together to discuss it in person?

Mike’s heart leaped into his throat, and he could feel sweat break out under
his arms. It was fatal and stupid and suicidal to risk this friendship on a face-to-
face meeting. He knew so little about Kellen. And Kellen knew even less about
him. They were both close to forty, both loved books with a big nod to mysteries,
and enjoyed classic black-and-white films, and were obviously both gay. He had
no clue what Kellen did for a living or what he looked like. The same went
double for Mike. Kellen might be picturing Mike to be tall and self-assured with
craggy good looks and a confident smile. Not that he’d ever claimed that, but he
also hadn’t admitted to being five foot six and looking like Woody Allen on the
actor’s worst day.

Apparently he’d hesitated too long, because another IM appeared. Never
mind. Just a thought.

No, that’s okay. I was off the page, he lied. Sure. I guess, maybe. What were you
thinking of?
He stared at his own words, treacherously dumped onto the Net before he’d
had time to think about it. His own index finger was apparently channeling
his sister Corinne.

Coffee and a donut? And books. Do you know The Pastry Shack?

On Lake Street off Lyndale?

That’s the one. Friday evening?

It was happening too fast, but he couldn’t seem to slow it down. Wasn’t sure
he wanted to. What time? I don’t care.

A quick correction. I mean, I’m flexible.

Or not. Damn it. I mean, pick a time. He hid his face in his hands. He was so
bad at this. Kellen must be laughing at him.

Seven thirty?

It seemed as though he hadn’t scared Kellen off. Sure. Seven thirty Friday. He
had a sudden thought. How will I know you? The classic rose in your lapel? God, that
was corny. He was so stupid.

How about a copy of Mahu on the table. Look for the guy who reminds you of
Edward R. Murrow, but with less eyebrows and no cigarette. I’ll try to send you an
actual picture later.

Murrow is cool. He’s a good guy. Mike flipped screens rapidly, Googling the
famous broadcaster. There were a lot of images. He wasn’t bad looking, in a
world-weary, receding-hairline way.

You’re checking him out, aren’t you?

Maybe.

That’s okay. So how will I know you?

Mike panicked. It was the only explanation for the fact that he typed: I’ll wear
the rose.
And then logged out in a total collapse of sanity.

What had he done? What the fucking hell had he just done?

(From Sole Support Copyright Kaje Harper 2013)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Donna permalink
    June 6, 2013 8:05 am

    I read Sole Support yesterday. It was absolutely brilliant, and I think it was the characters you created that made it so good. They were so imperfect and real. The way Mike is awkward and embarrassed about everything, even things that happened years ago, that’s exactly what I’m like. Somehow I felt nervous and apprehensive the whole time I was reading because I felt so in tune with him and I didn’t like it when anything worried or upset him. I think it may be a new favourite but I don’t know if I’ll reread it for a long time cause it made me so tense that now I feel like I have a stomach ulcer 🙂

    • June 6, 2013 9:49 am

      I really appreciate hearing that it resonated with you. There’s a lot of me in Mike too (that bit about trying to analyze social conversations to figure them out – that was me.) It was a personal book, the first time I put so much of myself into different parts of a story. I hadn’t written anything much for about four months before it, from July to November, and writing it broke the block. But maybe got a bit intense in the process. No regrets since I’ve written three novels and three novellas since then 🙂 Sorry about the ulcer, but thanks for loving my guys enough to care that much.

  2. nicstar000 permalink
    June 7, 2013 3:50 am

    Hi Kaje, I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the book. I was getting my thoughts in order for my review which lead me to thinking about how nice it was to read a story with a strong theme of family. So often we read of broken families and rejection and not many stories in the genre address the older generation. I was lovely to see a story that spent quality time on an elderly character and had a character who appreciated the sacrifices his mother made and was devoted to caring for her to the end. Thanks for sharing this story with us. Nicki

    • June 7, 2013 8:36 am

      I’m glad the book worked for you – I did hope Kellen and his mom would come over as a positive individuals in an unsolvable tough situation, not always doing the right thing, but doing their best within the bounds of their characters and abilities. Thank you.

  3. Louise permalink
    June 7, 2013 6:28 pm

    Kaje, wow! This story both warmed and hurt my heart. Parts were just truly painful to read but they HAD to be read. Anyone who has witnessed the downward spiral of a loved one has to say that you are spot on with all of the emotions that Kellen experienced here. It’s a lovely story with fabulous characters. Who doesn’t love pushy, well-meaning sisters, supportive brother-in-laws, and Oz, the most awesome feline character in a book, ever!

    • June 7, 2013 11:07 pm

      I’m glad you connected with this story. Thanks for stopping by to say so. (Oz would thank you too, if his feline ego didn’t make him believe that’s only his due 😉 )

  4. Patricia permalink
    March 19, 2014 6:33 pm

    This is a gem, and I wish I’d bought it sooner. I’m nearing the end and it is so compelling and the characters are real men. I’m the middle-aged daughter of an elderly, but very lucid woman. Yet the story you tell reaches to everyone. This is not the first novel of yours I’ve enjoyed and won’t be the last! Thanks, Kaje.

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