Category: Guest Posts

A Heart for Robbie by JP Barnaby – Cover Reveal

Jun 11, 2014 by

 

JP

It’s no secret that I adore JP Barnaby. She writes books that will reach in, grab your heart, rip it to shreds, and stuff it back into your chest so you go on living but are forever changed. She is not afraid to stare into the eyes of the dark and say “Come at me, bro.” She is fearless.

And with her newest release, she shows us just how much.

A Heart for Robbie isn’t like her other stories, though. It’s not dark and edgy and born of the mean streets or the fringes of society. The heroes are a baby, a writer, and an insurance man, and the cover is a teddy bear. Seriously. Look:

A Heart for Robbie cover

But trust me, this book is from JP’s heart. It’s beautiful, and rich, and sweet—and will make you cry. Buckets. Because it’s so real.

About A Heart for Robbie (Release date: …July 11):

Waiting for someone else’s child to die so yours can live is the worst kind of Hell.

Celebrated Young Adult author Julian Holmes pits the heroic characters in his Black Heart series against all different kinds of monsters. But when a critical heart defect threatens his son’s life, he finds he has no champion. No amount of books, classes, or practice can prepare Julian for the fight to save his beautiful son’s life.

Suddenly there are hospitals, transplant lists, and the nightmare of insurance red tape to navigate. In the midst of his trouble, Julian meets Simon Phelps, the insurance coordinator for Robbie’s case. Simon lives so deep in the closet he might never find his way out, but he dreams of exactly what Julian has. Then one night, drunken need and desperation brings them together, and a new fight begins.

Preorder here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5038

Read the story behind the cover: http://www.jpbarnaby.com/2014/06/11/cover-reveal-a-heart-for-robbie/

 

In the Absence of Monsters by JP Barnaby: Win a Kindle Fire!

Jan 25, 2014 by

It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I adore JP Barnaby. She is one of the most fearless writers I know, and obstacles to her are just something that make her stronger. And of all her wonderful characters, I have to say that I love Master Ethan most of all. Fierce and flawed and brilliant and troubled, Master Ethan is the heart and soul of In the Absence of Monsters, now available from Wilde City.

Here’s more about In the Absence of Monsters, and at the bottom of this post is a chance to win a Kindle Fire and $100 Wilde City download code to fill it!animated-ad

Here’s what this awesome story is about…

Jayden Carter knew the path he wanted his life to take. He wanted to get his Master’s Degree in History and teach. But, when he answered an ad for a roommate and met mysterious doctor, Ethan Bryant, he’s brought into a world he never knew existed and his path changes.

 It changes again for Jayden and he leaves Ethan with their friend, Lexi, in tow. Ethan loses himself in a haze of self-destruction and pain. With the help of a childhood friend, Gabriel, Ethan battles the demons of his childhood and finds a way to survive. Gabriel and Jayden wage an epic war for Ethan, but in the end, they may all end up losing.

Adapted from The Forbidden Room and A House of Cards: Deconstructing Ethan

Note: the following excerpt contains strong language and seriously graphic adult situations. Because this is not for children…

In the Absence of Monsters Behind the Scenes

Jayden’s Burden

Jayden Carter

 Someone who will care about him all the time?

What did that little prick know about it?

I was in love with the guy, all the time, not just when it’s fucking convenient.  It was threatening to destroy my whole life!  I was going to crush Lexi, disappoint Kimberly, and admit that I liked to fuck guys.  All for what?  A guy incapable of loving me back?

Golden boy hasn’t been there for Ethan in fucking years.  He wasn’t there to pick up the pieces; he wasn’t there when Ethan really needed him.

I was.

Lexi was.

Presumptuous little ass, I thought as he followed Ethan up the stairs.  Fuck, the prick was probably going to break up with him, and I couldn’t stand to see him hurt like that.  I knew the little bastard was going to hurt him.  Lexi tried to grab my arm, but I pulled out of her grasp, stewing about it, and headed up the stairs a few minutes later.  I stood outside the door trying to gain my composure.  Then, I heard laughing from behind the door.  Things must not have been going too badly if they were laughing.

Maybe I should just apologize.

I sighed, and turned the knob.

The sight in front of me stopped me in my fucking tracks.

Ethan was lying on his bed underneath Mike, his legs wrapped around the guy’s waist.

They were kissing.

My words died in my throat.  It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment that Mike and Ethan were having sex.  From Ethan’s reaction to our…our night together- I wanted to call it lovemaking, but I doubted he would see it that way- the way it took him back to that horrible time in his life. Never would I have thought he would ever want to do bottom again.  That night, I had tried to be as gentle as possible with him, to show him how much I cared about him.

It was all a sham.

This guy was fucking Ethan.

I apologized for disturbing them, not paying a whole lot of attention to where I was headed; I stumbled back down the stairs, and made it to my study so that I wouldn’t have to see them leave.  More than anything, I hoped that Ethan would come and talk to me before he left.  I don’t know why that small measure of comfort would have been so important to me.  Maybe I wanted to know that I was as important to him as that little bastard he was with upstairs.  Sitting in the leather office chair, I ran my fingers along the polished mahogany desk, not caring about any of it.  It was the finest furniture money could buy, but it could have been a folding table for all I cared at that moment.  The only thing that meant anything to me in the world was him, and he was about to walk out the door with another guy.

I heard the front door open and close.  He was leaving – without a word.  Why?  Why did I do this to myself?  Had I turned into an emotional masochist as well as a physical one?  I fucking hate this.

Grabbing the first thing my hands came across, I hurled the mantle clock out of the open study door where it exploded against the hallway wall.  Lexi came running up the hall to see what had happened, her face registering first shock, and then pain, at the clock lying in pieces on the hardwood floor.  At first, I didn’t understand.  What fucking difference did it make?  I had more money than God; I’d just buy another fucking clock.

“That clock belonged to my mother,” she said softly, the tears falling silently now.  All of a sudden, I felt sick.  I took off at a dead run, barely making it past Lexi and the clock in the hallway and out the back door before I threw up in the bushes.

I was a fucking monster.

Nothing in that moment could have prepared me for my own self-hatred.  I got on my motorcycle and sped as fast as I could away from the house, towards the lake.  Things like speed limits, or even stop signs didn’t concern me.  Weaving in and out of traffic like a man possessed, I finally made it to Navy Pier.  Parking my bike on the sidewalk, not caring if it was towed or even stolen, I walked aimlessly along the bike path.  Turning sharply to my left, I walked until I reached the end of the pavement at the water’s edge.  I sat down precariously, blissfully alone, and dangled my legs over the water below.

Lexi had to know how I felt about Ethan; I wasn’t exactly the best at hiding my emotions.  At some point, it would be too much.  My deception was going to break her heart.  Would she leave?  Would she go back to New York?  I couldn’t stand the thought of that.  Even though I didn’t love her in the way she wanted, even though I didn’t love her as much as I did Ethan, I did love her.

I wanted the three of us to always be together.

However, with my feelings for Ethan, his lack of feelings for me, and Mike now in the picture, I didn’t see how that could ever happen.

I was being so fucking selfish.

If Ethan could be happy with Mike, I should let him be happy.  I’d made my choice.  In a blind fucking panic, because I couldn’t face the fact that I might be in love with another man, I couldn’t face that I was in love with my Dom, but most of all, I couldn’t face that I was in love with a guy that could never feel the same way about me. So, I had made a panicked declaration to Lexi.

Lexi loved me, I knew that.

I grabbed a hold of her love like a drowning man.  After my parents, and after the falling out with Rosalie, I needed to know that someone gave a fuck about me.  Now, I just didn’t know what to do.  It hurt so badly watching Ethan with Mike, like a searing knife through my chest.

I could see it all playing out in my head.  Ethan and Mike at mommy’s brunch, holding hands and playing the token gay couple.  Ethan would fake a laugh at their stupid jokes, all the while staring blindly at his watch begging time to speed up.

Ethan deserved better.

He deserved better than to be paraded out like some circus animal for his parents’ amusement.  Mike didn’t know Ethan, Mike wouldn’t understand that Ethan didn’t like that kind of attention.  I sat quietly seeing Ethan in my mind in front of the all of those people, how edgy he would be, how off balance.

I hated it.

No matter how I was feeling about Ethan, my natural tendency was to protect him.  It made my chest ache to think of him being uncomfortable like that.  Grabbing my phone, I made a decision.  It was now just past five and I had to talk to Lexi first, so I figured I better make it later rather than earlier.  Hitting the keys on my phone, I sent him a text asking him to meet me in the playroom at nine o’clock.  A session would help him deal with his emotions after being with all of those people.

It was just after seven when I finally got back home, and my mind was on planning the session for Ethan.  It took a few minutes for me to realize that Lexi was standing in the doorway, calmly watching me with red-rimmed eyes. I looked down at the floor, away from her face, feeling the guilt eat at me.

“Jayden, this has to stop,” she said softly, her voice almost pleading.  “It’s not healthy for you, or for him.  He is trying to heal, to find some measure of peace.  Mike is helping him.  You cannot fly off the handle when you see them together, no matter what you may think of Mike.  It’s hurting them, and it’s hurting us.”  Letting out a sharp huff, she turned.  Before getting completely out of the room, she added, “by the way, my mother’s clock is still in the hall.  You’ll need to do something with that.”

I heard the front door slam as she left.

Staring at the empty doorway, my heart hammered in my chest.  I was screwing this up so badly.  I was letting them both down.  Pretty soon, neither of them would be able to stand me.  I’d be alone, and I would deserve every bit of it.  Just as I deserved Lexi’s anger, I deserved Ethan’s indifference.

I waited, huddled on the floor of the playroom for the time to pass, but it refused.  There were no clocks here, and the sun had already set.  Nothing was discernable with respect to time; I may have been sitting here for minutes, or for hours.  My eyes had traced over every piece of equipment here, imagining how best to utilize it with him.  Finally, they landed on the ottoman.  That piece had been a gift from Ethan, and it was one of my favorites.  He had used it with me, and we had both used it with Lexi.

I was deceitful.

I was manipulative.

I was out of control.

Trying to quell the rising panic building in my chest, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket to check the time.  Oh God, it was just minutes before nine.  The panic took over, there was no way I would be able to Dom him in a session.

More to the point, I wanted to be dominated by him.

I needed to serve him, please him.  I needed the structure, the discipline. Stripping quickly, I made my decision in an instant. My knees had just hit the floor as I landed in my position when I heard the knob turn.

Slowly, almost excruciatingly slowly, he made his way to me and knelt on the floor to look at my face.  I couldn’t contain the overwhelming panic, the devastating need I felt for him.  Trying not to let my voice crack, I begged him for Master Ethan.  We hadn’t had these roles for months, but I needed to give myself over to him now.

I felt his fingers in my hair, and I relaxed, closing my eyes.  His touch always had that effect on me; he excited me sexually, yes, but I felt safe and comfortable with him.  Tilting my face up to look at him, he asked me about the clock.  I answered in a whisper, ashamed of my outburst.  Then, he asked me if I should be punished, and I wanted to beg him, but I knew my place.

I knew the game.

“If it pleases you, Master Ethan,” I said, almost calm under his influence.  He had me stand and hold onto the bondage frame, and when I was stretched, it felt good to exert myself.  Spreading my legs wide, so that more weight was forced onto my arms, I was almost hanging.  Listening to him move about the room, I waited.

Then, I felt the sting of the flogger and was grateful for it.  He whipped me everywhere, my back, my ass, my thighs, and my cock.  I presented each in turn, almost begging for him not to stop.  Then all too soon, it was over.

Binding my hands behind my back, he then tied my ankles wide apart to a spreader bar.  I suppressed any sound of surprise as he wrapped his arms around my waist.  Oh God, I could have stayed in that moment for the rest of my life and been completely happy, even if I was bound.  I wanted to let my head fall back on his shoulder, I wanted him to kiss me, and I wanted him to make love to me.

It was eating away at me, knowing that he wouldn’t.  It would all be about the domination, about the sex, but I would have to take what I could get.  After helping me down to my knees, he grabbed that damned ottoman and set it in front of me.  Sensing what he wanted, I almost lay down over it, but I’m so glad I didn’t because he poured some of the silicone lube over my cock and began to stroke me.

Fuck.

I could feel him behind me, and I tried to hold back, to stay still, but I just couldn’t.  After a few minutes, I started pumping my cock shamelessly into his hand, and when I felt him kiss my neck and I nearly came.

His voice was low in my ear, the nearly painful need he had for me evident, as he asked me if I wanted him to fuck me.  Telling me that he was my Master, he asked if I wanted to please him and I nearly missed that small miracle when he called me his Jayden.  I wondered, as my breath caught, if he really understood how true that was, that I was his Jayden.

After pushing me over the ottoman, he lubed my ass.  Again, I shamelessly moved my hips pushing back against his fingers as my slick cock rubbed against the leather.  All I wanted out of life in that moment was for him to be inside me.

And then, he was.

As he slowly entered me, the realization that our arrangement would most likely end soon spread over my body like a hot, wet, blanket threatening to suffocate me.  I would lose even these brief moments of intimacy with him.  He would not see our sessions as intimate, but in my desperate need for him, that was the only way I could think of them.

After all, it wasn’t me he wanted in his bed.

Our one night of lovemaking was just a failed experiment.  An experiment in which I’d found everything I had never wanted, and he found … nothing.  My throat burned as the tears that had been threatening to fall all day welled behind my closed lids; my emotions were always so much fucking stronger during these times when I opened myself to him – mind, body, and soul.

When I let his name escape, I was surprised when I received no admonishment for it.  Whimpering again as he drove harder into me, I felt my orgasm rapidly approaching.  The muscles in my legs began to tense, the burning, tingling feeling in my cock and my balls grew more pronounced.  Ethan made me feel things that no one else had made me feel during sex…ever.  At first, I had thought it was the submission, then I feared that it was just because he was a man, but now I knew – it’s because he was Ethan, and one day I would never feel like this again.  I would never be able to have this intimacy with him.  The tears streamed down my face as I heard him give me permission to orgasm. Trembling now with soft sobs as I rubbed myself against the ottoman, I tried hard to obey him and when my orgasm tore through me, I cried out as I came.  I not only heard, but also felt him follow quickly.  Turning my head, resting my cheek against the cool leather, I tried to get a handle on my churning emotions.

I failed.

As soon as he released me from my bonds, I fled, taking the stairs to the third floor two at a time in my haste.  I did not want him to see how truly upset I was.  Surely, he would ask questions that I did not want to answer, or even questions to which I had no answers.  Once in my room, I flung myself onto the bed and cried openly.  I cried for Lexi, because due to my cowardliness, she would never truly find love.  I cried for Ethan because though he deserved it more than any of us, he was incapable of finding love.

Then, finally, I cried for me and my selfish squandering of Lexi’s love in a fruitless dream of ever having Ethan’s.

BlogTourMemeClick on the above graphic for a chance to win a Kindle Fire and $100 Wilde City download code!

* By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
* Giveaway is only available to residents of the US
* Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
* If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen.
* Winners may be announced on JP Barnaby’s blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner.
* In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
* Void where prohibited by law.

JPBarnaby_authorImageAward winning romance novelist J. P. Barnaby has penned over a dozen books including the Working Boys series, the Little Boy Lost series, In the Absence of Monsters, and Aaron. As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself.

Web site: http://www.JPBarnaby.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JPBarnaby

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JPBarnaby

 

 

Boys in the Band Blog Tour Starts Today!

Dec 4, 2013 by

rock_tour_banner_blk

 

Cecilia Tan!

Paula Coots!

LA Witt!

and some chick named Rowan Speedwell…

Our mad, bad boys will be talking about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and everything related! Come and visit with them!

The first stop on the tour is Sinfully Sexy Books!  Click here for the link and here for a chance to win all four books shown!! (You can also enter from the blog site!)

And here’s the upcoming tour stops!

Dec 4:  Sinfully Sexy Books

Dec 6:  MM Good Book Reviews

Dec 10:  Pants Off Reviews

Dec 11:  Mrs. Condit Reads Books

Dec 12:  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Dec 13:  3 Chicks After Dark

Dec 14:  Sid Love

Dec 16:  Em Lynley’s Literary Love Shack

Dec 19:  Joyfully Jay

Dec 18:  Boys in Our Books

Dec 23:  Elisa Rolle’s Reviews and Ramblings

 

 

 

Family Tree Roots Run Deep – a Guest Post by Posy Roberts

Sep 5, 2013 by

Please welcome my guest Posy Roberts, whose book Spark was released by Dreamspinner Press this week!!

Take it away, Posy!

Long before I started writing the first book of my North Star Trilogy, I knew family of origin was going to play a pivotal role in Spark. The relationships my main characters had with their fathers were of great importance when they were teens and well into their adult years.

Whether we like it or not, the family or families we grew up with helped shape who we became. Some drive us so nuts that all we can do is bitch about their certain brand of crazy our entire trip home from “vacation” with them, even if the journey takes days in a car. Others make us look back with nostalgia, even if our memories aren’t telling the whole truth.

Human brains have plasticity, especially those of developing children. They can be influenced by both good and bad experiences that have the possibility of sticking for life based on which synapses grow stronger, which are pruned away, and which genes are turned on during critical periods of brain development. Think about this for a second: human brains aren’t fully developed until age twenty-five.

That’s a lot of years where family of origin impacts brain development, whether all members are present and accounted for, minimally available, or decidedly absent. Some of those experiences are going to be great, but some are horrid as well.

This has nothing to do with M/M romance though, right? I think it has a ton to do with it, especially when I look at this as a writer. When I’m writing character sketches, I take into consideration how my characters were raised. Were they raised in a family that had no rules? If so, how did they react to that? They could’ve gotten involved in any and all questionable activities presented to them, or they could’ve been the kid who created rules of their own and basically took on the role of parent in their family. What about the kid with too many rules?

As I wrote the North Star Trilogy, I looked in-depth at the father-son relationships. In book one, Spark, I looked at Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus as teens and then again in their mid-thirties. At sixteen, Hugo loses his father. Kevin wishes he could lose his father, but that doesn’t happen. Both boys had very different relationships with their dads.

Kevin had a tumultuous father-son experience because his father expected success and perfection at all costs. Hugo had an absent father because the man was struggling with terminal cancer for years. So many of the troubles young Hugo faced seemed trivial compared to cancer, including coming out, so he chose not to talk with his father about his worries. Kevin chose not to talk with his own father because he knew he’d never measure up. Family of origin was always in the back of my head while writing, even after they’d grown into men.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 7 of Spark. You can read Chapter 1 here.

Kevin stepped closer and bent low enough to press a tender kiss to the wrinkles between Hugo’s brows, causing the creases to melt away. Kevin continued to talk in a low voice, almost a whisper as his hands warmed Hugo’s back. “You were so much more significant in my life than I ever let you know. Probably more than I even knew at the time. I took you for granted, but you changed me. When I was with you, I was just Kevin. I wasn’t Kevin Magnus, son of the great Peder and Linda Magnus. I was just plain old Kevin, and you liked me for who I was.”

“Of course I did,” Hugo said before placing a kiss in the slight cleft of Kevin’s chin. It felt completely natural to kiss him like this, uninhibited. “You were very easy to like, most of the time.”

“That was different for me, you realize, someone liking just me.”

Hugo nodded, liking the sensation of Kevin’s freshly shaved skin smoothing over his lips. He knew that’s how Kevin felt, often discounting how likable he truly was back in high school. Kevin’s father made every good thing in Kevin’s life into Peder’s own success, and every failure was squarely placed on Kevin’s shoulders for him to feel the full weight along with Peder’s overwhelming disapproval.

“If it weren’t for you, I would’ve never known I was bisexual. Or I would’ve never been brave enough to see what those feelings I had were even about.”

“You probably would’ve experimented in college.”

Kevin shook his head and drew Hugo closer, pressing a kiss in front of his ear. “No. No, Hugo. Don’t you see? I already knew I was bisexual in college, and not once, not once was I with another guy. You were it. You were the only one who made me feel brave enough to go against my father and his plan for my life.”

Spark2

In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.

By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children. 

When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.

 

PR white bkdg largePosy Roberts lives in the land of 10,000 lakes (plus a few thousand more). But even with more shoreline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined, Minnesota has snow—lots of it—and the six months of winter makes us “hearty folk,” or so the locals say. The rest of the year is heat and humidity with a little bit of cool weather we call spring and autumn, which lasts about a week.

She loves a clean house, even if she can’t keep up with her daughter’s messes, and prefers foods that are enriched with meat, noodles, and cheese, or as we call it in Minnesota, hotdish. She also loves people, even though she has to spend considerable amounts of time away from them after helping to solve their interpersonal problems at her day job.

Posy is married to a wonderful man who makes sure she eats while she documents the lives of her characters. She also has a remarkable daughter who helps her come up with character names. When she’s not writing, she enjoys karaoke, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.

Read more at http://posyroberts.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/posyroberts11

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PosyRoberts

 

 

Waiting for Forever: A guest post by Jamie Mayfield

Jul 24, 2013 by

WaitingForForever1Choices_headerbanner

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