Category: Bookstuff

Waiting for Forever: A guest post by Jamie Mayfield

Jul 24, 2013 by

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The Waiting for Forever series is a character-driven story. Its appeal stems from how Brian, Jamie, and the other characters interact with each other and their environment along their journey. From Brian’s sexual evolution to Jamie’s rediscovery of himself, each volume pushes the boys, sometimes painfully, to adulthood. One of the most defining aspects of the characters in the Waiting for Forever series is that they are real, or as real as fictional characters can be. I’ve received dozens of emails from gay men all over the country, and even some internationally who identify so closely with the characters that they wonder if I’m writing about them. One sweet gay man in Texas told me about his own tree house, and how he was sent to a “pray the gay away” camp in his youth. I never meant to get it quite that right, and it’s so horrible that I did. Places like the Sunshine Center, beatings like Brian endured, parents like Patsy Mayfield—none of these things should ever happen to our kids, and yet they do.

Specific Character Inspiration

The Waiting for Forever series is a character-driven story. Its appeal stems from how Brian, Jamie, and the other characters interact with each other and their environment along their journey. From Brian’s sexual evolution to Jamie’s rediscovery of himself, each volume pushes the boys, sometimes painfully, to adulthood. One of the most defining aspects of the characters in the Waiting for Forever series is that they are real, or as real as fictional characters can be. I’ve received dozens of emails from gay men all over the country, and even some internationally who identify so closely with the characters that they wonder if I’m writing about them. One sweet gay man in Texas told me about his own tree house, and how he was sent to a “pray the gay away” camp in his youth. I never meant to get it quite that right, and it’s so horrible that I did. Places like the Sunshine Center, beatings like Brian endured, parents like Patsy Mayfield—none of these things should ever happen to our kids, and yet they do.

 

Brian McAllister Schreiber

In a lot of respects, Brian is me. I write a lot of myself into my characters, but Brian McAllister carries more of me than any other. Writing is therapy for me; it allows me to pour all of my joy, pain, confusion, and existential questions onto paper to dissect. It’s my version of a journal. Brian is without a doubt my high school self. While I didn’t grow up in foster care, I grew up with relatively no friends in the shadow what few friends I did have. Bullied to point that I nearly didn’t graduate, I was so desperate to be loved that I threw everything of myself into the few relationships I had. While some find Brian’s obsession for Jamie to be romantic, if he were a real boy, others would find his decision to leave Alabama frightening. Brian should have gone to college—but because of his desperate need to be loved, he made a different choice.

Once Brian reached San Diego and found friends of his own, he gave every bit of himself to those friends. He would have done anything for Mike and Em, just because he was so thankful to finally be included. I know exactly how that feels. People who have met Jamie Mayfield either at an author event have been surprised by me. They’re expecting the brash, foul-mouthed author who talks to everyone about anything on twitter and when they see this quiet little geek, they’re amazed. People don’t understand that I am Brian—just so thankful to finally be included.

Jamie Mayfield

My sweet Jamie—I love this kid. I put him through hell and back through the course of the series, and he blossomed beautifully in the end. Originally, the idea for the Waiting for Forever series came from an essay that I read by Brent Corrigan on his entry into the porn industry coupled with research on homeless youth in San Diego. It honestly shocked me to find out the statistics on homeless GLBT youth in our country, but with the hatred and bigotry running rampant, I guess it shouldn’t have. I grew up with parents who were pretty accepting. Of course, they didn’t like my black friend in high school until they spent time with him. They were shocked when my best friend came out, but loved him anyway. But they brought me up to judge someone by their actions, not by their skin color or sexual orientation.

Jamie’s drug addiction put him on a level playing field with Brian who always thought of himself as broken, as someone who just wasn’t good enough for Jamie. I had to show Brian that Jamie was human too. Jamie had taken care of Brian, emotionally and socially, for so long that he needed to be the one to step up to the plate so that he could grow and see that he was a worthwhile person—something it took me a very long time to realize about myself.

Adam Jennings

Adam came about because Brian needed a reason to stay in Alabama. He needed a catalyst to make the decision, because his parents, even after the adoption, wouldn’t be enough to make him stay. I made him Ray Andrews’s best friend so that he would have some kind of common ground on which he and Brian could form a friendship. Even though Adam never really had a shot at Brian’s heart, he did have a friend for life. It took Adam a while to come to terms with Brian’s decision to leave for California, even longer than it took Brian to find Jamie. Just like Micah finding Alex, it took Adam finding Sam to understand Brian’s need for Jamie. Once that happened, he found that he could be Brian’s friend again which is how he showed up in Jamie’s hospital room in the third book.

Kyle Barnes

In Alabama, completely lost without Jamie and outed in his small community, Brian needed a gay role model. Without that influence in his life, he might not have made it. Brian’s troubled childhood coupled with his isolation at the hands of his peers could have pushed him past his breaking point if he hadn’t found Kyle, Sensei, and Adam in the second book. That sentiment was demonstrated by Brian’s question of why they couldn’t have just killed him instead of beating him within an inch of his life.

Micah Burrows

Micah was the biggest surprise of the series, to be honest. I never expected his character to fill out like he did. Originally, he was just a sex buddy for Brian in San Diego because I didn’t think a healthy red-blooded eighteen year old gay kid would just choose not to have sex if the guy he searched for wasn’t even on the radar—especially one newly free to explore his sexuality without fear of parents or homophobia. I’ve seen books where the main character waited YEARS for his long lost boyfriend to come back. While I don’t doubt that it could happen, I don’t find that scenario terribly plausible. Micah was the perfect person to teach Brian about the pleasures of casual sex. Open and completely honest with himself about sex and what he wants, Mike believes in sex as part of a relationship, but had never really experienced that for himself. Until he met Alex, it was more of a theoretical concept for him. He got Brian in touch with his own pleasure.

Micah is modeled somewhat from my friend Devon Hunter. Both models in the adult industry, Mike and Devon have quite a bit in common when it comes to their attitudes on sex, love, porn, friendship, and loyalty. One of the best things I got out of writing the Waiting for Forever series was my friendship with Devon Hunter—he’s a an amazing, thoughtful, and loyal friend, just what Brian and I both needed at that point in our lives.

Alex Hunter

Alex is another character who surprised me with his depth. I’d never intended for Alex to teach Micah about love, or for him to have more than a superficial role within the studio as an outsider than Brian felt bad for. As I started Jamie’s story, however, he desperately needed a friend. He needed someone good and sweet and kind to balance out the horror of Steven O’Dell and someone to talk to about the heartache caused by Brian showing back up in his life. So, on the surface, Alex was introduced as kind of a whiner and a loner, but you don’t see the complexity of his character and his relationship with Jamie until we switch to Jamie’s POV.

Sweet, blond, and a little emo, he needed to be everything Micah wanted in a boy and more. He’s the definition of a pocket gay and I loved him from the moment he started talking to me. I’m so glad that he and Micah got together, because Micah taught Alex that he was someone worth standing up for.

Em

Poor, sweet Em. In the series, we don’t know much about his background except that he grew up in foster care. He’s actually a Venezuelan-born immigrant who migrated to the states with his mother. She died of cancer when he was just six. Em didn’t have loving foster parents like the Schreibers. He was shifted from home to home with too many kids and too little affection. Sexually abused by one of his foster “brothers,” he uses sex to get the affection that he needs so badly. If men are taking him to bed, even for a few hours, he can feel loved and needed. Micah, though a casual relationship, became his best friend and lover. When he left Em for Alex, it messed up Em’s world.

Depressed and scared, Em tried to latch on to Jamie, someone just as broken and needy as he was. Brian had left Jamie just as Mike had left Em. They had so much in common. It nearly worked, and Jamie would have been good for Em, had it not been for Brian. After Jamie, Em went through a string of older guys, practically begging for the kind of love that Mike had with Alex or Brian had with Jamie. He never realized that love was there all along until Leo got fed up with watching the revolving door of men in Em’s life. Em was Leo’s definition of a lost boy and he’d loved him almost since he’d moved in as a teenager.

Leo

Leo is the father figure in the band of lost boys at the boarding house. An activist, a papa, and a friend, he dedicates his life to taking care of boys that end up on their own in San Diego without friends or family because he knows exactly what it’s like to be thrown away and left with nothing. The character is loosely modeled after Michael Macina who graciously allowed me to use his image on Leo’s bookmark for the series. Michael (@MichaelsThought) puts up some of the most amazing tweets and blog posts letting those in our community know that they are loved and cherished. His beautiful messages are an inspiration to me and many others who need a little love in their lives.

Brandon

When I close my eyes and think of Brandon, I see a beautiful blond, funny with a little overinflated sense of self; he represents the straight guys in gay porn because they certainly exist. Whether you fall on the side of their inclusion or exclusion, the reality is that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Straight porn is all about the women, and the guys are there to serve a function. In gay porn, a guy can make a name for himself, garner more work, and in Brandon’s case, feed his family and put money back for his kids’ college education. He would do anything for his girls, including his wife. Well, except maybe be faithful. As an adult model, however, he is pretty desensitized to sex – it serves a series of functions: pleasure, profit, release, etc. Since he’s not emotionally attached to any of the girls that he picks up, or the boys that he picks up with his wife, he doesn’t consider it cheating. He loves his wife and his daughters with everything that he has, everything else is just noise.

Steven O’Dell

Steven O’Dell is a pretty sad creature. Yes, everyone hates him because he beat Jamie, got him hooked on drugs, and forced him to do porn. I’m not saying that he’s not a jerk. What you don’t see in the books is how he would do anything for his brother and how much he loves his brother’s kids. Most guys wouldn’t give up a Saturday to help their brother put up a tree house for the kids if they didn’t. His addiction and his choice of drugs made him the person that he became. In high school, he played football and even got a scholarship to play college ball before his parents were killed in a car accident and he had to give it up to care for his younger brother who was just two years younger. No way would he let his kid brother end up in foster care.

As a result, he missed his chance at the good life, went to trade school, and became an engineer. Working his way up through the ranks from maintenance man to engineer took a long time, but once he was finally on top, he was as meticulous as he was irresponsible. It took a huge effort to hide his drug use from management, and an even bigger effort to hide his dealing. But throughout it all, he was terribly alone. When he found a boy crying in the restaurant bathroom on his lunch break, he fell in love—just as if he’d found a stray puppy. He wanted to take Jamie home and feed him and take care of him, but like a lot of little kids, he didn’t know how much work it would be and that frustrated him. He took that frustration out on Jamie.

From Jamie to Em to Steven O’Dell, the main characters of Waiting for Forever each have their good and bad points. There are no devils and no angels in the series, though some might view them in that way. I’m sure those who read the series cheered at the death of Steven O’Dell, but listening to his voice in my head, I could hear just how lost he was. All of my boys were lost at some point in their lives—the key to Waiting for Forever was helping some them to find themselves and realize what kind of amazing people they are. They may be fictional characters, but I promise you there are boys out there who look at Brian or Jamie and say “that’s me”. If the books can help them feel less alone, help them feel like there are others out there like them and that if they hold on just a little longer, their lives will get better—then I’ve done what I set out to do because no kid should ever feel like suicide is their only option.

 

Waiting for Forever: Choices

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Published June 3rd, 2013

Part One: The Throwaway Boy

As the country’s religious and secular leaders battle over equality in the abstract, Brian McAllister and Jamie Mayfield live in the crossfire. In their little town of Crayford, Alabama, loving another boy is the worst kind of sin. Best friends since childhood, they explore their love and each other in Jamie’s backyard tree house as they hide from the world. They happily plan for the future together—until their lives are rocked when their secret is exposed and Jamie’s family intervenes.

When hatred turns to violence in their sleepy little town, Brian tries to cope with the loss of his best friend, who is stolen in the night. In desperation, he turns to Adam, a new friend with a shared pain. Can Adam fill the hole left by Jamie’s absence? The answer will change everything.

Adapted from the award-winning Little Boy Lost series by J. P. Barnaby.

 100% of the author’s royalties are being donated to help homeless LGBT kids find safe shelter.

From Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3878&cPath=864

Part 2: Destiny is also now available through Harmony Ink/Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3955

Part 3: Determination will be published on August 1st.

 

About Jamie Mayfield:

A survivor of the ex-gay residential institution The Sunshine Center, fictional author Jamie Mayfield went on to find his voice in novels. Always a great lover of books, Jamie found his passion as he began to pursue a liberal arts degree in creative writing. An avid reader, he’s a fan of gay romance, suspense, and horror—though not all in the same novel.

Jamie lives in San Diego with his fictional husband, Brian. He writes YA fiction as a way to let kids know that they have an entire LGBT family all around them. Above all, he wants them to know that they are not alone. It does get better.

Jamie Mayfield is a fictional character from the acclaimed Little Boy Lost series by female author J. P. Barnaby.

Website: http://www.JamieMayfield.com

Tumblr: http://JamieMayfieldYA.tumblr.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/JamieMayfieldYA

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/JamieMayfieldYA

 

*Originally published as part of the Little Boy Lost blog tour on Leontine’s Book Realm — http://www.leontinesbookrealm.com/2012/06/little-boy-lost-feature-jpbarnaby-talks.html

 

Tomorrow: a guest post by Jamie Mayfield

Jul 23, 2013 by

 

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Jamie_CartoonOkay, so tomorrow is a very special day. I’ve got a guest post from the one and only Jamie Mayfield, not the first fictional character I’ve hosted on this blog, but certainly the first fictional author I have!

Jamie Mayfield is the alter ego of very real author J.P. Barnaby, who created the character as one of the two protagonists in her ground-breaking, award-winning series Little Boy Lost. LBL tells the story of Brian and Jamie, who meet as kids in Alabama, fall in love as teenagers, and are separated by homophobia. Their quest to reunite is a beautiful thing, of tears, trauma, horror and despair. (Yes, horror and despair can be beautiful in the hands of a talented writer, which J.P. surely is.)

In that series, Jamie wants to become a writer. So when the time came to revise the series for a young adult audience, J.P. became Jamie, to fulfill his dream.

The 3-book YA version of the LBL series is called “Waiting for Forever.” The first book, Choices, was published by Harmony Ink Press on June 6th.

I’m a huge fan of J.P.’s work. I love well-written, believable characters, and J.P. excels at crafting real imaginary people. In tomorrow’s post, she’ll give us some insights on developing characters that you will fall in love with.

WaitingForForever1Choices     WaitingForForever2Destiny     WaitingForForever3Determination

And before I knew it…

May 31, 2013 by

So, okay, a couple of weeks ago I was GChatting with Marie Sexton, as one does, and she mentioned that she signed on as a Keynote Speaker for the UK Meetup 2013, which is an event held in Great Britain for the local m/m writers there. This year’s is only the second or maybe third one they’ve had, but it’s drawn a lot of interest, both with UK writers and non-UK. It was one of those things I’d look at and dream about, but never thought I’d actually go to.

And then Marie mentioned she didn’t have a traveling companion and really didn’t want to travel alone… and before I knew it…

ukmeet  Guess where I’m going in July??

I’m really psyched and freaked out about it! I was to the UK a few <cough, twenty-eight, cough> years ago and have wanted to go back ever since. Now I can!

We’re actually arriving on the Fourth of July and spending a week in London doing touristy things, including a pop over to Paris for a day through the Chunnel. I mean, really. One has to.  I’m hoping to hit some of the spots I missed last time, like Canterbury and Windsor Castle, as well as my favorites from then too.

And we won’t be alone! My Chicago peeps Harper and Sue are going to be there at the same time, and Belinda McBride might come early too and do some touristy things. We’re all set with plane tickets and accommodations, and I have been making Lists. We don’t leave for a month, but I’ve already started packing…

In between the packing and the panic attacks, though, life has been going on. I just sent off the second batch of edits for Love, Like Water, so I’m hoping I’ll have a release date soon. I also set up a Cafe Press store for it, like I did with Finding Zach and Kindred Hearts, and am thinking about carrying an LLW tote bag around the UK.

On the Illumination front (if you recall, that is the new title of Going Like Elsie, about Miles and Adam), the cover is in the sketch stages and looks pretty good! LC Chase is doing the cover; I really love her work, so I’m happy! Should be getting the edits any time now…

CONTEST!! A little graffiti among friends…

Mar 29, 2013 by

Marie Sexton, my co-author on Flowers for Him, a story in the Promoted by the Billionaire anthology coming out MONDAY from Total E-Bound, has posted an awesome contest to her blog, in which she and I will give away a copy of the anthology to the winner!

Here’s what she has to say:

Promoted by the Billionaire, which includes my story Flowers for Him (co-written with Rowan Speedwell) will be out in just a couple of days! Rowan and I can’t wait for you to meet our uptight billionaire, Chandler, and our graffiti-artist turned hippie muralist, Neil.

We each received our author copies of the anthology today, and we were trying to come up with a fun contest in order to give one away. But what could we do? A random giveaway on Goodreads or Twitter, sure. But what else? And as we talked about it, we kept coming back to our cover.

flowersforhim_800

Now, it’s sort of a stereotype that all m/m stories feature two buff, super-hot men, but the truth is, both of our heroes are fairly average. One is in his thirties, and the other in his forties. They’re cute, sure. But not big or muscular. Not necessarily drop-dead gorgeous. Who then, you might ask, is that sexy studmuffin on your cover?

It’s a fair question, and the truth is, we don’t know either. And although we sure don’t mind looking at him, we can’t help but notice that there’s nothing to indicate that our story is about an artist. Not just any artist, either, but a graffiti artist who loves nature and messiness and color.

And then it came to us.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to Graffiti Our Cover!!

The rules are simple. Take that cover and graffiti it up, any old way you’d like. (If you click on the image, it’ll take you to a larger file, which you can download.) Be fun and creative. (Don’t just draw a penis over his face!) Send your entry back to me at msexton.author@gmail.com. We’ll make a gallery of the entries, and then we’ll choose a winner. (Probably by random selection, but depending on how many entries we get, we may institute some kind of voting system.)

Contest closes at 5 pm MST on Tuesday, April 2nd.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or Marie.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Updates and some links

Feb 19, 2013 by

Another week, another contract. Yawn.

I’m totally lying.

Nothing boring about signing another contract! This one is for the short story Flowers for Him, which I wrote with Marie Sexton for a Total E-Bound anthology. With billionaires! Just like Harlequin! Only different. The story will come out as part of the anthology, Promoted by the Billionaire, but also available in e-format separately.

Here’s the tentative blurb:

Billionaire Chandler Harrison’s third marriage is now history, and he’s left with his ex-wife’s parting barb, “You have no appreciation of beauty.” Determined to prove her wrong, Chandler hires artist Neil Sweeney to add a mural to his office wall. He doesn’t even care what the picture is, as long as it’s beautiful.

Neil Sweeney is an ex-tagger, a free spirit, and a bit of a hippie. He’s never met anybody as uptight as Chandler, but when it comes to warming up Chandler’s cold, stark office, Neil has plans involving more than art.

Chandler begins to find himself strangely moved by the mural developing on his office wall. He’s especially moved by the artist himself. Chandler has denied his homosexual urges for most of his life, but it isn’t long before Neil begins introducing Chandler to all kinds of new things. As Neil’s masterpiece comes to life, so does Chandler’s appreciation for art, color, and the best kind of beauty of all — love.

It was so much fun working with Marie! Before I started writing M/M, I had read a couple of her books and was a total fangirl. Then when I met her at Des Moines Pride, I was amazed at how friendly and down-to-earth she was. There are few days now that we don’t chat at least a little online. To collaborate with her was kind of a dream come true.

Linkety-links!

My dear friend J.P. Barnaby has a guest post up at ARE (All Romance Ebooks):  http://www.arecafe.com/cafe-news/the-best-of-both-worlds-j-p-barnaby-on-gay-bdsm-fiction/ She talks about BDSM in fiction, particularly in M/M. Lovely post. We’re waiting to hear about her submission <snerk> of her BDSM book Painting Fire on the Air, which I had the privilege of beta-reading. Amazing book.

The website Dear Author has an interesting post today, regarding gender politics and romance novels. This is actually one of the reasons why I enjoy M/M fiction; the politics that are part and parcel of het romance is, if not totally lacking, then very understated in same-sex stories. While there is sexual politics at play in all romance, the gender issue is (obviously) not part of it. I don’t dislike het romance—I read a lot of traditional romance, including historical—but sometimes the male/female social stratification affects my enjoyment. If the writer is skilled enough, I can suspend my disbelief, but if not, the status of females in a lot of het books makes me insane. To say nothing about the “rescue the TSTL heroine” stories. (Too Stupid To Live.) Wallbangers. Robin Reader says it so much better than I: http://dearauthor.com/features/letters-of-opinion/love-is-indeed-a-battlefield/

Last but not least, I just sent the revised draft of Ghosts of Bourbon Street to J.P. for her critique. It’s a fuller version of the original story, with an additional POV to flesh things out. (Hur-hur, she said “flesh”). I’m thinking of subbing it to MLR Press’s “Average Joe” call—while it is a ghost story of sorts, it features two very average Joes: Paul, a bartender, and Michael, an accountant (who just likes to dance naked on top of a bar). So we’ll see how that goes.

I have 6000 words on the sequel to Kindred Hearts, but I think I’ll also trot out the abandoned manuscript about John Rogers, the Special Forces captain who rescued Zach in Venezuela. I have some serious rewriting to do before I proceed much on that one, but I like to have a contemporary in progress when I work on historicals. A little of the cleansing of the palate…

And if you’ve been having trouble subscribing to this blog, you’re not alone. Trying to get that fixed. Let me know if you can’t subscribe and we’ll see about getting you set up.

Cheers!

A cowboy, an ex-FBI agent, and a writer walk into a bar

Feb 13, 2013 by

Love, Like Water has been accepted by Dreamspinner Press and will be released in July or August of this year. Yay!  Now it’s just the editing process, which should start in about late April or May.

April is also the DSP writers’ conference in Chicago, for Dreamspinner authors only. It will be nice to not have to travel any great distances; I will be able to work a full day Thursday and just take a cab to the hotel for the opening dinner. I’m staying at the hotel, of course, because that’s just fun and saves me the stress of commuting. Which is stressful, even though I don’t have as bad a commute as some people do. It’s probably the thing I like least about working. The conference last year in New York was a lot of fun, and very interesting; I’m hoping that this year’s will be as productive.

I’ve finished the rewrites on Illumination and sent them to Sarah, my editor at Riptide. Haven’t heard back from her yet, but it was only last week or so, so I’m not fretting… yet. Estimated release date is September, so I’ll have two new books out for GayRomLit this year. That will be nice.

I also got my hotel for this year’s TeslaCon, over Halloween weekend. No roommate yet, but hopefully one of my steampunky friends will step up to the plate. Now it’s just a matter of putting together some nice outfits. Because Steampunk is ALL about the clothes. I’m trying to figure out how I can write off the cost of the con by showcasing my books or something. If I can think up a steampunk book, maybe I could get away with it. Maybe a book set at a steampunk con? Hmmmm….

 

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Jan 2, 2013 by

There is a blog hop going on now, called The Next Big Thing. I’m not sure where it started, but it seems to be a way for writers to talk about what their next work is, and to tag other writers for them to write blog posts. Well, you all know how very much I love writing blog posts (see the date of the last one) but J.P. Barnaby tagged me for it so I guess I’m stuck. (Smooches!!)

Here’s what she has to say about the blog hop. She puts things much more succinctly than I ever could:

There are the books everyone has heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, & Fifty Shades of…What was that again?. But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of or only kind of heard of? Some of them are treasures, just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, but that you might end up loving.

I’m supposed to tag five more writers but the few I actually know have already been tagged, so the hop—at least this branch of it—ends here. Fortunately, they do supply the questions, and so I get to talk about my latest brainchild, which I submitted to Dreamspinner yesterday.

I actually have three other things in progress, ranging from Illumination (formerly Going Like Elsie) that’s contracted but needs rewrites, to a science fiction thing with AIs and space pirates and genetically engineered monsters tentatively titled On Ariadne Station, to the New Orleans ghost story that I’ve hauled out of mothballs to see if I can fix. But this one is off my desk, at least for a while, so I can talk about it. And so I do:

What is the working title of your next book?

Love, Like Water. It’s inspired by a song by Tito el Bambino, a salsa/reggaeton singer.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I love New Mexico, and horses, and angst. And as usual, I wrote lots of angst.

I love cowboys, too; at least the classical archetype: quiet, strong, independent. I needed someone like that who could counterbalance a bright star that’s been shattered. So when Joshua started talking to me, I tried to think of someone who could handle him, and that’s where I found Eli.

What genre does your book fall under?

M/M Romance, contemporary. There are cowboys in it, but it’s not strictly a cowboy story.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Um, Tyler Hoechlin for Joshua, the broken FBI agent. He’s got the right dark broody looks. Eli’s more like the young Sam Elliott. I can’t really think of a present-day young actor who fits the quintessential cowboy persona like Sam Elliott did back in the 80’s. And Eli is completely a cowboy.

But possibly if Heath Ledger were still alive, at his age he might have been a good fit for Eli.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

Eek. I had a hard enough time keeping the synopsis to two pages. Um…  Horse rescuer rescues broken FBI agent?

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

It’s in the hands of the gods—or at least submitted to Dreamspinner Press. I don’t have an agent, and self publishing is too much work!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Three months—the shortest I’ve ever done a novel. But it also required the most rewriting, so I think I wrote it too fast. For me, anyway. I’m a plodder when it comes to writing.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

None, because there are some SERIOUSLY good horse-related stories out there. It does have some similarity to my Finding Zach, because one of the MCs is definitely broken and needs therapy. I seem to have a thing for shrinks.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

The stark, austere beauty of the New Mexico desert.  I’d been wanting to set a book there since my first visit in 2010 (the week before Finding Zach came out). Then last year, when they announced that GayRomLit would be held in Albuquerque, I decided that was enough of a sign for me!

What else about your book might interest the reader?

It might have a sequel? Not sure yet, but there are two young characters that I really like, and one of them I met on my first visit to Albuquerque, while visiting Taos. His name is Jesse. He plays a minor role in Love, Like Water.

When I met him, I promised myself a story, and I think I know what it will be about.

And my hair is purple.

Oct 15, 2012 by

Okay, so tomorrow I leave for Albuquerque, one of my favorite places (actually, practically every city I’ve been with the exception of New York is on the list of my favorite places. What can I say? I’m easy) for GayRomLit 2012: Desire in the Desert. Can I just say “eeeeeeeeeeeeeee”?  I’m so nervous. I’m always nervous when I travel, but even though GRL is one of my favorite events (again with the favorites) it still makes me anxious. To wit: hives, zits, a tic in my eye, insomnia, and stomach troubles. Add to that the fact that my boss, who is my backup when I am away, is out on unexpected FMLA, so I’ve been doing two jobs for a week, and they both are going to be uncovered for the nonce. And, of course, I’m dealing with the insurance company to get back our deposit for our cancelled Turkey trip. I hate insurance companies, I really do.

But GRL will be fun. I’m doing a Q&A, the signing, and will be hanging out at the Dreamspinner Press event, so if any of you are going to be in ABQ this week, stop by one of those places and say hello. I’m also doing drawings at each of the Q&A and the signing for a little goodie bag of giveaways, 12 at each event. I’ll also have some pages for the Rainbow Romance Writers scrapbooking event on Thursday afternoon.

On the book end—Love, Like Water, is still in the rewrite process, though I’d hoped to have it submitted before GRL. But I haven’t gotten any feedback yet from my betas, which of course means “OMG THEY HATES IT.” Sigh.

The Novel Formerly Known As Going Like Elsie has a new working title:  Illumination. It’s in my suitcase, waiting for down time at GRL for me to work on it. I’m in negotiations with my favorite Artist, Shannon Valentine, for a cover for it.

So… Albuquerque… here I come…

A sense of accomplishment…

Sep 26, 2012 by

Okay, today at lunch I finished the project that has been occupying my time for the last three months (aside from getting stuff ready for GayRomLit, which is in—gulp—three weeks). Well, that is to say, I finished the first draft of it, and have sent it to my amazing critique partner, JP Barnaby, for her to… um, critique. It’s a book I started June 29th, right after I finished The Book That Will Not Be Titled Going Like Elsie (TBTWNBTGLE), and is as unlike that book as any other book that I’ve written. It’s more serious, for one thing, and has horses in it. I was thinking of calling it The Book With Horses In, but cooler heads prevailed, and its official title, after being named “Joshua” in my working folders, is “Love, Like Water.”

Yes, I finished it in less than three months. New record. Yay, me. First book:  just under six months. Second book: a year. Third book: TWO years. Okay, I was seeing an exponential progression here that, I’ll tell you, scared the hell out of me. It is with great relief that I announce that I appear to have broken that pattern. Fibonacci got nothin’ on me.

What’s it about, you ask? Well, even if you don’t ask, I’m telling you.

Joshua is a former FBI agent who just spent three years deep undercover in a gang in Darwin Park, a dangerous West Side Chicago neighborhood. (Think Humboldt Park, but imaginary.) During his assignment, he’s killed more people than he likes to think about, and ended up hooked on heroin. But the assignment’s over, he’s gone through rehab, and he goes out to his uncle’s New Mexico horse ranch to try and rebuild his shattered life. There he meets Eli, the laid-back former rodeo cowboy who’s his uncle’s foreman, and falls for him. But Josh is a long way from healthy, mentally or physically, and life has a habit of tossing curveballs anyway….

Is it a bad thing that I’m already planning a sequel? It won’t focus on Joshua and Eli, but on Jesse, the son of the ranch’s cook, and Alex, a young nurse at the hospital in Albuquerque Joshua meets when Eli… but that would be giving away the story…. Anyway. That’s percolating in the back of my mind. For now, I’m working on getting this one ready to sub (probably to Dreamspinner) and hope to have it off before I leave for Albuquerque myself in three weeks.

This is Joshua. Isn’t he pretty?

Actually, it’s Nicko Morales, who is probably going to play Joshua on the cover of Love, Like Water, if I can get my ducks in a row. I’ve got a cover artist in mind whose work I’ve been really impressed with… so much so that I had her design this website. Her name is AngstyG, and she’s done all of JP Barnaby’s recent covers, too. Since JP is the one who introduced me on Twitter to Nicko, I figure I’ll keep it all in the family. We’ll see.

Back to TBTWNBTGLE. I’ve got a contract for it with Riptide Publishing, and their editor Sarah Frantz will be working with me to bang it into shape. Since it took two years—with long breaks in between—it needs a lot of tweaking to get there—it’s got a lot of erratic pacing and weird scene placement. I’ll be starting that as soon as I get the critique back from JP and the reworked Love, Like Water out to my betas. So don’t look for TBTWNBTGLE anytime soon; I suspect that Love, Like Water will be out before that.