Monthly Author Column: Avon Gale recaps GRL

Featured Author Avon Gale

 

Guest Post

So, a few weeks ago I attended my first GRL! The only other romancelandia con I’d been to was RT in Vegas last April, and wow, this was a totally different experience. And I had a good time at RT, it was definitely an eye-opening, interesting and worth-while experience…but GRL was all of that AND MORE! I had an awesome time, and I’m definitely planning to go again next year.

 
This year, GRL was in Kansas City – which just so happens to be about a 2 hour drive for me. I live in Columbia, which is halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, so! Super convenient. I came up on Wednesday with a bonus! Piper Vaughn, who’d been chilling at my house that week since Mr. Gale was off for a conference of his own in San Francisco (on like, mobile banking, so not nearly as fun as mine). My roommate was the lovely Carrie Pack, who I’d met at RT and chatted with online a little. We luckily got along really well and shared a mutual love of mocking House Hunters, so that was great.

 
I signed up as a Supporting Author this year, and I’m glad that I did that – it was a great way to both be involved and learn about the conference. The supporting author signing on Thursday was awesome, I love getting to meet readers! I almost fainted when one of my favorite authors, Lisa Henry, stopped by and got a copy of “Let the Wrong Light In” for me to sign. !!! I tried to play it cool and probably failed, after babbling something about how she was a huge inspiration to me as a writer (I love how she can write so many different moods and types of stories and they’re all awesome). I did the same thing to Jordan Castillo Price, who I was so nervous to meet! If you’ve met me, you know I’m super friendly and will talk to just about anyone. But Jordan is one of my favorite authors and her Psy-Cop series was among my first reads in original M/M fiction. So meeting her was totally awesome, and I’m not going to lie – I actually got a little teary-eyed. But there are reasons for that! Other than me being a weirdo who gets nervous around her favorite authors, I mean.

 
(Lisa Henry and Jordan Castillo Price are both immensely lovely ladies, gracious and fun and I’m so glad I got to meet them! All this awkwardness is on the part of yours truly, let me just get that out there.)

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Anyway, something happened between the author signing and my author lounge session that was very significant, and why I got sort of teary-eyed talking to an author I admired so much. I was going down to the conference area and I got off on the wrong floor of the hotel, and ended up…amongst other conference people, dressed in business casual and carrying folders and laptops (meanwhile, I’m in a skull dress with a bow on it, and above-the-knee red boots, carrying a box of buttons with fake hockey logos and a package of rainbow Twizzlers). “Oops,” I thought, (or said out loud, probably, knowing me), “This is not where I’m supposed to be.”
I’d been there before, though. I’d been to conferences during the ten years of my development/fundraising career, and I know they were supposed to be fun and revitalize my love for my career and all of that. But somehow they never did, and while I always loved traveling, I never had that spark of enthusiasm for what I was doing. So I couldn’t help thinking about how incredibly happy I was to be “on the wrong floor”, so to speak. Here I was, doing what I loved and at a conference full of readers and writers who share the same passion for books as I do. It was a wonderful moment of feeling like I was in the right place at the right time, and I think that’s why I got a bit emotional saying hello to Jordan. I had no idea when I first started reading her books that one day I’d get to meet her, and as a reader and as a fellow author. It was a cool moment.

 
Another cool moment came on Saturday night, when I got to watch an ECHL hockey game surrounded by other GRL-goers! And the Mavericks won, so that made it even better. There’s nothing like live hockey!

 
All in all, I had a wonderful experience at GRL and I’m so glad I went. It was lovely to meet so many wonderful people, and one of my favorite author experiences thus far – even if I didn’t win a single game of Bingo 😉  TCO note: I’m not sure anyone actually won at Bingo…I feel like it was rigged. 😉

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GRL 2016 Blog Tour: Guest Post: Jordan L. Hawk

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**TCO is happy to welcome Jordan L. Hawk to the blog today, as we lead up to the final weeks before GRL. Check it out, and make sure to drop by and say Hi to Jordan!**

Guest Post

Thanks to Two Chicks Obsessed for hosting me for the GRL blog tour!

This will be my fifth GRL and my fourth as a Featured Author. It will also be the fourth for my spouse (and beta reader) David, who I think has his own fan club at this point. 😉

While there are a lot of things to love about GRL, the best part is just hanging out with readers. My favorite memories of previous GRLs aren’t the parties or the games, though those are fun too. But when I think back, the first moments that come to mind are sitting at the bar talking to someone, or hanging out in a group. Interacting with readers at signings or author lounges are also among those most special moments.hexmaker_final_200x300

The funny thing is, during my first GRL, I really had to psyche myself up to leave the room. My first book had just come out the month before; no one knew who I was, and I’d never met anyone else at the conference. How was I possibly going to talk to other readers, let alone the authors whose work I loved?

It was a challenge to force myself to leave the room and start conversations with people I didn’t know. But it was worth every moment. So if you’re at GRL and feeling nervous about approaching people, consider this an open invitation to talk to me at any time. I know just how you feel.

My latest book, Hexmaker, will be released October 14th—just in time for the retreat!

jordan2013_webFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/jordanlhawk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordanlhawk

Website: http://www.jordanlhawk.com

 

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GRL 2016: Guest Post Tali Spencer

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**Welcome Tali Spencer to Two Chicks Obsessed. I love Tali’s post about swag envy…I know I will be stopping by her Author’s Lounge at GRL. 🙂

Guest Post

Swag Envy

swag: goods acquired by unlawful means; loot

I’m an older author. You will notice this when you meet me at GRL. I’m the slightly mystified-looking one without much promo going on. Take swag. The term itself only really emerged in the 90s, when publishers took advantage of new technologies—printing, primarily—to produce inexpensive promotional material. For my first published book, back in when that meant mass market paperbacks, I had no swag at all. My publisher would have laughed at the idea.

In the last decade, digital publishers and self-published authors jumped on the promotional wagon and, before authors knew what hit us, it became part of our job to produce or purchase mind-blowing amounts of bookmarks, postcards, pens, mugs, trading cards, magnets and keychains with our names and/or book covers upon them.

Our imperative: Catch the Reader’s Eye. If we can catch a reader’s eye, she might find what she sees interesting enough to check out our book. Win!

Maybe. Or maybe swag just becomes another form of competition.

At my first GRL, a few years ago, I walked around the swag room and reached an ominous conclusion: my swag was… well, pretty sad, actually. Other, far more famous authors were giving away tote bags. Tote bags. Not only that, but some were handing out tee shirts, jewelry, and action figures. I think I saw bundt cakes on one table, but don’t quote me on that.

I was coming up small. Thank goodness I had ordered a custom shoulder dragon for myself and decided on the spot to hold a raffle to give that away, along with a cute mug. Whew!

Readers did take some of my postcards and bookmarks and magnets, but the one bit of swag from my table they really went for wil_570xn-499044782_npqmas individually wrapped unicorn horn hand soaps. People talked about those. The only reason I had any left was because I didn’t put them out all at once. And the best part was I felt almost as good about people liking my soaps, mug, and dragon as I did about them liking my books.

I felt like I was giving readers a gift. Thank you, it said. Thank you for coming and giving me a chance to meet you. If you have a moment, maybe you could take a look at my books.

Swag does cost money and authors work with budgets. Some have really tight budgets. Gifting readers is well and good, but swag ultimately is about getting the author’s name out or promoting one or more of their books. It has to be, or the expense is frivolous. That’s why I like the new setup for this GRL. Instead of a free-for-all swag room with all the goodies laid out on impersonal tables for indiscriminate picking, there are now Author Lounges where readers can meet the author behind the swag.

Naturally, authors are going to want to offer up their best swag. Anything it takes to lure readers in.

So visit my Author Lounges if you get a chance—one on Thursday and one on Friday. I’ll have unicorn horn hand soaps and unicorn horn rainbow bath salts. And journals. And coin purses. And bookmarks. Lots of postcards and bookmarks, all handed over with a smile.

As for me, I get to join other readers in seeing what authors far cleverer than me have come up with. At least one is bound to be giving away a tote bag.

Author Bithickasthieves2o:

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Tali’s books include the three preceeding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, Adored, and Victory Portrait, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds,are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often publishes in anthologies, and puts up free stories and excerpts on her blog.

Visit Tali’s blog at http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com
E-mail: tali.spencer1@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/talispencer/GRL Featured Blogger

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

GRL 2016 Blog Tour: Guest Post A.J. Truman

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**TCO is excited to welcome A.J. Truman to the blog to talk about his upcoming appearance at GRL next month. Can’t wait to meet him!!!**

Guest Post

I can’t wait to attend my very first GRL. This is my first convention period. In social settings, I’m usually the guy either hanging by the food/drink table or standing in a group listening and nodding and not saying anything. Yep, life of the party right here. But everyone keeps telling me that all attendees are super social. We’re all awkward, so we’ll be awkward together.

I write books about witty college boys falling in love and falling into bed with each other. I like to think that my Browerton University series could be part of The WB’s lineup in the late 90s (Dawson’s Creek, Felicity) and like a non-hipster version of Girls.

I love this time period. This part of life is rife with conflict and drama and self-discovery. For many, college is the first time you’re on your own. You’re trying to be an adult and find your way. I also love the idea of getting a second chance. Whatever happened in high school, whoever you were, is in the past. You get a fresh start in college. In my books, my characters are always trying to escape their pasts. College provides a physical distance, but not the mental. I thought I could be someone new when I arrived at college, but it took me four years (and more) to realize that the only person I was capable of being was myself.

My latest book, Out of My Mind, came out of the thought “Can gay guys and straights guys be friends without sex getting in the way?” One of my favorite movies is When Harry, Met Sally… but over several drafts, the story evolved into something much stronger. Mac and Gideon are two guys who use lies and excuses to hide the pain they don’t want to cope with. After one awkward encounter freshman year, they wind up being roommates junior year. And then friends. And then something much more complicated. I especially loved writing Gideon’s character. He speaks to how well a lot of gay men have to get at lying. Code switching. Pronoun switching. Staying in the closet is rough. The lies may come easy, but the stress is soul-crushing.

If you see me at GRL, please say hi. I can’t wait to meet readers. I love their enthusiasm for authors and the genre. They are what keep me motivated to write. I’ll be that guy awkwardly standing in the corner.

 

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synopsis

Mac had to be out of his mind.

Completely out of his ever-loving mind to even consider rooming with Gideon. The same guy he kissed during his freshman year who said he was straight. He’s held Mac’s mind hostage for the last two years after running out that one special night. Mac was a fan of social experiments, and this one was going to be a doozy.

Gideon doesn’t sweat anything. He was always two lies ahead of everyone. A master at spinning rock solid alibis to protect the house of cards that was his life. To Browerton University, he’s the popular guy getting over a breakup. To his family…the dutiful & responsible son. But rooming with Mac was bringing up old memories and forming new ones. First, a friendship develops, and then a late night infused with alcohol pushes them into uncharted, benefits-laden waters.

As their sexual experimentation continues, and the lies add up, both of them fight to withstand the feelings growing between them, feelings that could ruin their friendship and topple Gideon’s house of cards for good.

Out of My Mind is the 3rd book in the Browerton University series, but can be read as a standalone. It contains humor, heart, and hot guys. This book is intended for readers 18+.

excerpt

Gideon didn’t like to call himself a neat freak. He merely believed that a clean living space was the key to a good life. How could a person achieve success in the world when where he lived was in disarray?

Mac was the one who called him a neat freak.

“You are,” Mac said as he was pouring himself a bowl of Raisin Bran for dinner. Mac ate cereal for dinner, and lunch, and breakfast. Could he not rotate in some canned soup or Chef Boyardee?

“There’s nothing freaky about wanting to have a clean apartment. You need to respect your shared living space.”

“You sound like an RA.” Mac poured milk in his cereal. Drops splattered against the flakes and onto the counter. “I’ll try harder.”

“You said that two days ago. You’re still on trial here.”

“Where’s my lawyer?” Mac smiled at his joke. “I will take care of the sun room. I just got distracted with classes starting. This weekend, though.”

Gideon didn’t believe him for a second. “How did you survive with your past roommates in the dorm?”

“I kept my mess to my half of the room, which I’m doing here.”

“But I can still see it. The sun porch looks like an episode of Hoarders. Your pile of shit is on the verge of collapsing. It’s not just there. You can’t leave the kitchen a mess. We don’t want to get ants.” Gideon pointed his head at the milk droplets.

“For real?” Mac asked.GRL Supporting Author

Gideon nodded yes.

“Man, you run a tight ship.” Mac whipped off his T-shirt, exposing a smooth chest rippling with muscles. Gideon cut his eyes to the floor and focused full-throttle on the specks of dust on the tiles.

He pulled the dishrag off the oven handle. “Use this!”

“This is easier.” Mac’s arm muscles jumped around as he wiped up his mess. He left his T-shirt in a ball on the counter.

“Are you going to get a new shirt?”

“Nah. It’s a white T-shirt. The milk blends right in.” Mac gave him a knowing smirk and shoveled a mountain of cereal into his mouth.

Gideon didn’t know why that threw him off so much, why it made it so hard to breathe for a moment. It was just a shock. No warning. Then, bam! Shirtless! Perhaps he wasn’t expecting Mac to be so jacked. Pittsburgh did a body good.         Gideon was regretting this two-week trial already.

“I thought gay guys were supposed to be super clean.”

“And I thought straight guys were supposed to be slobs.”

Gideon cocked an eyebrow. Touché. He checked the time on the microwave.

“I have to get ready.”

“Hot date?” Mac asked.

“Yeah.”

“Cool,” Mac said. He seemed surprised, and maybe a touch sad, to be right.

“I’m kidding. We’re throwing a party for new students at Hillel tonight.”

“Sounds familiar. Don’t give any naïve freshmen the wrong idea.”

“I’m laughing on the inside.” Gideon entered the solace of his clean bedroom with a new bed, washed sheets, and clothes that were folded or hung up. He changed into a navy blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, khaki shorts, and boat shoes. He went into the bathroom to get his puff of hair just right and spritz on cologne.

“Stop being awkward,” he whispered to himself.

He returned to the kitchen, where Mac was finishing up the last bits of his dinner. Still shirtless.

“I’ll be back later.” Gideon froze in place. Heat strangled his neck.

Did Mac just check me out?

He felt Mac’s eyes travel up and down his body for a split-second. It was so quick, and Mac was back to munching on his cereal, but Gideon caught it. He had given girls the onceover plenty of times. He knew what he saw. He wondered how much times that had happened over the past week. Gideon found himself puffing out his chest.

And did I like it?

“Make sure you put your spoon and bowl in the dishwasher when you’re done.”

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meet the author

A.J. Truman remembers his college days like it was yesterday, even though it was definitely not yesterday. He writes books with humor, heart, and hot guys. What else does a story need? He loves spending time with his pets and his husband and writing on his sun porch. You can find him on Facebook or at ajtruman.com

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Social Media Links:

Website: ajtruman.com

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ajtrumanwriter

Mailing List signup: ajtruman.com/outsiders

 

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

GRL 2016 Guest Blog Post: Posy Roberts

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**Thank you so much to Posy Roberts for stopping by the blog for the GRL 2016 Blog Tour. Can’t wait to see you in October!!! 

Guest Post

Thank you so much for hosting me. This will be my third GayRomLit retreat but the first time I’ll be coming as a featured author.

image009The first time I sat behind a table with my books set out in front of me so people could connect my face with my stories, I was scared. In my community I was an educator, the person greeting preschoolers and their parents at the classroom door. No one knew I was bisexual, that I moonlighted as a writer, and that I passionately supported LGBTQ+ equality. No one knew I wrote MM Romance. Thankfully that first experience was at my local Pridefest, so an interested and open audience surrounded me.

I quickly learned that I had no clue how to sell my books. People would ask me what I wrote, and aside from saying contemporary MM romance, I had no effective way to share my stories so they sounded appealing, and it all came down to how I was raised.

Be humble.

I’m not a saleswoman, and with each person I engaged, I felt this hot feeling in my gut because I was talking myself up. When I shared this experience with my friend and fellow MM author, Teegan Loy, she expressed the same feelings. We were both raised with Midwestern humility stitched into our very fiber, so talking ourselves up was very much out of our comfort zone, even if it meant more readers. Sending out release day notices and writing blog posts was easy, but face-to-face interactions? Yikes!

My first GayRomLit was a few months after Pride, and I came as a supporting author. As I sat in Chicago at the book signing, I was still nervous, even in a setting where I was expected to chat myself up. So I kept on going to events. Last year, I attended a local authors’ meet-and-greet and went to GRL in San Diego. Then this summer I went to Twin Cities Pride, where I sat in a booth for two days talking to people about books. I watched other authors sell their books as well.GRL Featured Author

What I walked away with from all these experiences is that I needed to simplify. As the author, I know all the subtext, symbolism, and the messages I was hoping to convey, but that makes for a lousy introduction to the books. I write novels because it takes 80,000 words to tell that one story, and I occasionally write series because the story can’t be told in one novel. It doesn’t help that I write books across the board too, from angst to fluff to kink.

So as GRL in Kansas City has been approaching, I’ve been trying to find a better way to tell you, readers and potential readers, what you can expect from my books. First, I reworked all of my taglines. Second, I focused on the tropes in each book. Third, I decided to take advantage of visuals. From reviewers’ comments over the years, I know I write meaty stories that are not easy to boil down in a few lines, so that got me thinking about food. At GRL and on my website, I will give you a reduction sauce of my books: one taste so you know what you’re getting. 😉 One thing led to another, and I ended up with a quick flavor system for my books represented by food. What else?

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Sweet stories will be fluffy and light-hearted. Spicy stories will have some kink in them. Savory stories—which are my bread and butter—are full meals, dark and earthy in spots, but with a nice finish at the end. And bitter or bitter-sweet (because I write romance, I will never leave you hanging) will have moments of angst where the characters suffer on their way to change and growth. Many stories have a fusion of flavors as well. I know there are times I crave a fluffy, light-hearted story, and other times I want to feel a character’s experience all the way down to my toes, so this will help with that as well.

I’m in the process of creating mini cards to bring to GRL to let you pick your flavor, and I’ve created a page on my website for the same purpose. Here’s a sampling so you can see what to expect. I’d love to hear what you think. I can’t wait to talk to you face-to-face. I’d love to learn about what you like in a book so I can help find one of mine you can savor. 😉

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GRL 2016 Blog Tour Stop: Kaje Harper

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**TCO is excited to welcome Kaje Harper to the blog today for a GRL 2016 blog post. Take a peek at what Kaje has to say about writing and publishing!**

 

Writing as a Passion, Publishing as a Career

I’ve always been an enthusiastic reader, as well as a writer. I enjoy hanging out in online groups with other readers, where we share a love for M/M romance books. (My own favorite-reads list is over 400 books long. Do not ask me for recommendations, unless you have a lot of time, and a place to take notes.) One thing that often comes up is the question of how to get started as a writer. I adore the way the M/M genre seems to inspire people to want to create their own stories.NameBadgeGRLscaled

The first think I ask is “Do you want to write for fun, and maybe have some people read it? Or do you hope for a writing career?” Because over the last five years I’ve learned that they’re definitely not the same thing.

I started writing… well, probably as soon as I started reading. My mom saved some little stories I wrote in kindergarten, a few pages of misspelled crayon words. My first M/M romance was written when I was fourteen (in 1974 for those keeping track.) Putting stories to paper was a satisfying private passion for 30 years― I typed a story out and then filed it, never letting anyone else read it, and that was great. I’m sure that even if I never sold another book after today, I wouldn’t stop.

There’s a simple joy in creation. For me it’s an escape from the real world— watching the people and events that only existed in my head begin living and breathing on the page. And, because I’m a serious non-planning pantser, the plot surprises as my story unfolds are almost as unexpected as reading someone else’s work. The characters talk to me. It’s pure fun. And that much anyone can do, anytime. Publishing is the next hurdle.

My husband has put up with me spending hours on a keyboard ever since we were married in 1986. In 2011 he suggested maybe, just maybe, I should submit one of my books to an actual publisher. You know, to go somewhere with it. Maybe raise my hourly writing income from zero dollars per hour to at least a few cents.

I agreed, mostly to keep the peace. I submitted my favorite story to a publisher known for their long and constructive rejection letters. Color me surprised when they accepted Life Lessons. I was thrilled, and nervous, and it seemed so unreal I didn’t even tell my husband for a couple of months. The publisher and I began editing. Fact checking things I’d glossed over, when it was just my for own entertainment. We began planning for release. And a cover ― I’d never bothered with a cover before. Do those look like my guys? Do I want to show their faces? Will readers like it? It was a whole new world.

As an isolated, tech-ignorant loner, I had no website. In fact, it wasn’t until the book was out and the publisher told me I’d received a fan letter— (fan letter *squeeee*)— which was sent to them because I couldn’t be found online, that I started the process of having Kaje Harper become more than just a name on a book cover. (This is backwards, BTW, if you’re planning a career. Do the website first.)

Then someone told me I should Google-search for reviews and I ended up at Goodreads. There, in the groups of like-minded readers, I first found community. I claimed my author page. I chatted about favorite authors and books. I even wrote some reviews, good and bad.

I got up the nerve to go to my first GayRomLit conference in 2012. There, I met favorite author Amy Lane, who told me how she treasured my one 2-star review of her work, as validating all my other 5-stars for her. It was a lovely gesture to put me at ease, and so cool that she knew my name and had read one of my books (wow!) and my reviews (ouch), and so embarrassing too. I realized maybe honesty wasn’t the only consideration in how Kaje Harper should present online.

Maybe my author persona maybe shouldn’t be just me with a new name. For a book in the genre I also write, my bad review might look like hubris, like “I could have done it better.” I began to think about what I chose to do as a member of the M/M writing community, not simply a reader. Since then I only put up my 4-5 star reviews— the 1100 or so books I love and want to encourage people to read. And sometimes, I don’t say the things that pop into my mind, until I vet them a little harder for both kindness and courtesy. I work to present my better self in my author voice.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve released almost 40 stories, ranging from 3,000 to 140,000 words. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve put out unedited freebies, just for fun, and heavily worked over pro-published novels with a decent price tag. My first royalty check made me fly so high! I almost framed it rather than cashing it. (It was only for about $7 so I could have. I did photocopy it…) I’ve had amazing experiences, and gained some of the most generous readers in the world, who go out of their way to support my stories. I’m luckier than I could have imagined, in the way it’s worked out for me.

But I still think publishing is not for everyone. I’ve seen excellent authors founder on the realities of sharing the work of your heart with strangers, and the even tougher realities of trying to live on the proceeds of it. Two of my favorite M/M authors just hung up their pens in the last couple of weeks. Others have vanished from sight.

Many writers (including me) are introverts, socially awkward, and over-sensitive to the opinion of others. (You should see a writing conference social hour – half the group is chatting in the middle of the room, the other half of us are hugging the walls, smiles firmly in place, wondering if we look dumb, wondering if we should be trying to start a conversation, wondering how soon is too soon to head back to our nice, quiet hotel rooms with a good book.) I think that the same things that make us good at sharing our characters’ emotions and minds on the page can make publishing tougher.

Writing itself is the joy. Well, sometimes frustration, and dry spells, and rewriting, and hair-pulling, but mostly joy. Publishing means sharing your creation with others, some of whom are going to hate it. Some of whom are going to insult it, and you. Some of whom will write reviews that make you want to never pen another word.

It’s inevitable. There is no book so good that someone didn’t write a bad review of it on Amazon, or Goodreads, or All Romance eBooks, or a blog. Check out your favorites. People say of Lord of the Rings, “This is among the most tedious books I’ve ever had the misfortune to read. Or of Winnie the Pooh, “Milne talks down to his readers in a patronising way which makes me shudder.”

Bad reviews will happen. There’s also the chance your story may languish, without so much as one review for feedback or affirmation. Or perhaps with a couple of wordless stars, to leave you wondering what that was for.

So why publish? Well, there’s also nothing like sharing the work of your imagination, and finding out it touched someone’s heart. I’ve had reviews and emails that said my story helped a reader understand why marriage equality matters, or got them through a sad time in their life, or distracted them from pain and illness, or reminded them of friends long gone. I’ve seen lovely, thoughtful discussions, where the men who’d only lived in my head are treated as real, live humans, to be appreciated and analyzed and loved and scolded. I’ve seen my stories recommended to others, as a source of light for their dark times.

That’s an amazing thing. It can make me walk with my feet ten feet off the ground.

What about the money? Well, the idea that you can earn a living, or part of a living, from writing books you love, is heady. But do note the words “part of a living.” I’m in awe of the M/M writers who make it a full-time career. That takes hard, hard work and productivity and promotion. It takes pushing past your comfort zone to sell your books, and a willingness to ride out lean times. And a bit of luck. I’ve stuck with my day job and the easier part-time road. But then, I have the luxury of a good job I enjoy, and a working spouse. Earning a living by writing is tough.

There’s a general idea that authors must make a lot of money off their books. “Just look at them selling like hotcakes on Amazon.” And fortunately for those of us who love to read, some authors do live well from writing. The Jessewave M/M blog once did a survey of M/M authors. I’m happy to say one in twenty of the authors made more than ten thousand dollars off their first book. That’s a decent return indeed, and if they can repeat it, book after book, with new books every year, it’s a career. But more than half of surveyed authors earned less than a thousand dollars, total, from their first novel. Given that a novel usually takes months to write, they earned a couple of dollars an hour for their work. If they paid self publishing costs for a cover and editing and formatting, they might not have made back what they spent, and the hourly wage goes into the negatives. Publishing stories, aiming for a full time writing career, is definitely a leap of faith in yourself.

Personally, I’m delighted that my husband pushed me into publishing my stories. (He’s such a good guy. I’m not sure he realized it would mean me spending more time on the keyboard, but he’s very supportive.) Releasing my M/M stories to readers introduced me to people who are now among my closest friends. It opened worlds and possibilities. Including actually meeting new friends in real life, at conferences.

I’d never have imagined, six years ago, that I would be looking forward to my fifth GayRomLit conference. Or how far I could come from that first one, where I went as a reader, sometimes flipped my badge over so no one could read my name, and hid in hallways. This year in Kansas City, I’ll be doing not just a Q&A session, but a talk on “Broken Men: Avoiding the Magic Healing Peen,” collaborating with two fellow writers, Ethan Stone and Carter Quinn, in front of a live audience. And I’m looking forward to it, (if somewhat nervously, because becoming a published author still did not make me an extrovert.)

Back when I wrote in solitude, on my old portable typewriter or my husband’s outgrown laptop, I never thought that I’d one day be holding paper copies of my own books, with my guys looking back at me from the covers. Or selling them for real money, at a table at GRL, alongside authors who’ve been my own favorites, like Jordan Castillo Price and Edmond Manning. Publishing snuck up on me, and it’s been aGRL Featured Authorn amazing ride so far.

Some of you may hope to take that adventure too. I highly recommend it, if what I described turns your crank. If you have the love of words, and the drive to create. And the willingness to ride the downsides and failures, the criticisms and difficult moments, for the incredible highs. (A bit like any other important risk you take in life, really.) And many of you will prefer to simply read. You guys are the valued, vital and fundamental reason for any of us to publish. An author without readers would be a sad thing indeed.

I do recommend GayRomLit as a conference, whether you read M/M, write it, or have a maybe-book simmering. There is nothing as inspiring, and warm, and fun, as sharing space with hundreds of people who love the same books that you do, and who share support for the LGBTQ community.

This is my tribe.

The group is supportive, celebratory, happy to meet others like ourselves. When two men, or two women, among us hold hands or kiss, everyone smiles. Some of us do retreat from the social press, here and there; others dance till all hours of the night, at parties where same-sex couples and het couples mingle in shared enjoyment. We talk about books and writing and stories and life. We affirm for each other the importance of telling these stories, and the joy of watching them go more mainstream with every passing year. And sometimes, we listen and try to bolster the pain of the dark moments, the losses, the times when the world isn’t yet accepting of the rainbow. The hotel is filled with readers, authors, narrators, publishers, and lots of M/M books. My kind of place.

I hope to see some of you  at GRL in Kansas City, MO in October this year, or at other conferences other years. I hope all of you find new favorite reading, and some of you who haven’t put stories to paper before are inspired to write, for yourselves, for the fun of it. I hope some of you do go on to publish, and find success. We all win when this genre grows and steps forward into the consciousness of new readers, helping to teach those who read romance that love is love, and that two men together can be beautiful.

-Kaje Harper, September 2016

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LifeLessons

 

meet the author 

 

 

Abstract color background with wave and feather pen, illustration

Kaje Harper grew up in Montreal, and spent her teen years writing, filling binders with stories. But as life got busy, the stories began to just live in her head. The characters grew, met, endured, and loved, in any quiet moment, but the stories rarely made it to paper. Her time was taken up by work in psychology, teaching, and a biomedical career, and the fun of raising children.

Eventually the kids became more independent and her husband gave her a computer she didn’t have to share. She started putting words down in print again, just for fun. Hours of fun. Lots of hours of fun. The stories began piling up, and her husband suggested if she was going to spend that much time on the keyboard she ought to try to publish one. MLR Press accepted her first submission, the M/M mystery Life Lessons, which came out in May 2011. Kaje now has many novels and short stories published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year, and a selection of free short stories and novels in a variety of gay romance genres, available at most ebook retailers. Her most recent release is the Tracefinder thriller-mystery series. She currently lives in Minnesota with a creative teenager, a crazy omnivorous little white dog, and a remarkably patient spouse.

Website: http://kajeharper.wordpress.com/

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

Goodreads Author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4769304.Kaje_Harper

Or you can find me moderating my Young Adult LGBT Books group on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/49526-ya-lgbt-books

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

GRL 2016 Blog Tour: J.K. Hogan

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**TCO is excited to have J.K. Hogan with us for the GRL 2016 Blog Tour. Check out what she’s up to, and where she will be during GRL. Can’t wait to meet her in October!

 

Guest Post

J.K. Hogan GRL Guest Post

An interesting thing happened to me the other day: I got fan mail. See, I’m so visible on social media and have always been really open interacting with readers, so I don’t get a lot of personal emails or messages, which means I get excited when it happens. I love hearing what people thought when they read my books, and it makes me happy that someone would take the time out of their day to contact me and tell me.  I have a point (other than readers are awesome), I promise.

I guess this is the reason, even though I’m painfully introverted, that I go to GRL every year. It’s a special situation, because I can simultaneously be the fangirl-ee and the fangirl-er, if that makes sense. I’m still star struck by a lot of the people I meet at cons, but the ones that come up to me to say they’ve read my book—well, those are the most special. I’m not good at being socially forward, which I think is a common trait among authors, so I want to take this moment to invite any and everyone at GRL to come say hello and chat about books. Even if you stop by just to tell me you haven’t read my books, that’s okay too! We can still chat about books because I’m a reader too.

GRL Featured Author

Here’s where you can find me throughout the week:

Featured Author Panel (Q&A)—      10/20/2016      3:30 PM – 3:45 PM

Author Lounge—                               10/21/2016      2:00 PM – 2:45 PM

Author Lounge—                               10/22/2016      11:00 AM – 11:45 AM

Featured Author Book Signing—      10/22/2016      (TBA)

And of course, I’m going to try to attend as many of the parties and events as I can handle. Plus, wherever there is coffee, you’ll know where to find me… so stop by and say hi!

 

StrongMedicineCover

My most recent release: Strong Medicine

Two men who meet in a psychiatric institution couldn’t possibly find happiness together—could they?

The world seemed to be telling disgraced former child star and singer Cameron Fox that he would never be happy again. A drunken car accident gets him sentenced to a work-release at Riverbend Behavioral Health Facility.

Reclusive, traumatized writer Jonah Radley has an entire graveyard of skeletons in his closet. Jonah regularly hospitalizes himself for psychotic episodes caused by a horrific childhood trauma, his biggest secret—one he refuses to speak about in therapy.

Jonah and Cameron form a bond inside the hospital, forged in mutual pain and hope for a better life. Once they leave the hospital, they must decide if they are brave enough to explore the intricacies of living with mental illness—and find a new normal together.

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♦ Wilde City Press

♦ Amazon 

♦ All Romance

 

meet the author

6427555J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?

J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.

http://twitter.com/JK_Hogan

http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJKHogan

http://instagram.com/jkhoganbooks

http://www.goodreads.com/jkhogan

http://www.amazon.com/author/jkhogan

http://officialjkhogan.tumblr.com

http://www.pinterest.com/jkhoganbooks/

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GRL 2016 Blog Tour: Jeff Adams

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**A big TCO welcome to Jeff Adams on our next stop on the GRL 2016 Blog Tour. So glad he could stop by, and can’t wait to meet him at GRL in Kansas City. 

Guest Post

Hello! First off, a huge thanks to Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy for hosting me on the 2016 GRL Blog Tour. I’m happy to be here.

This will be my fifth GRL and my second as a featured author. This year I’m doing more than ever before at the conference, which is a little scary.

I’m on a panel alongside Stephani Hecht and Wade Kelly and it’s going to be tough not just being a total fanboy sitting next to them. Stephani is an author I stalked at my first GRL because I loved her Blue Line Hockey books, and now I’m sitting on a panel with her (how did that happen?!?). And, Wade Kelly, well she’s an awesome person and writer and I’m a huge fan. Our panel focuses on research and what we each do to make sure our books are realistic and accurate. It’s going to be fun time and there’ll be prizes so make sure if your at GRL to come see us.

I’m also taking part in the Fun Fair on Friday afternoon. I’ll be one of ten authors participating in Daring Author Trivia where wGRL Featured Authore’ll play a fun-filled take on a classic TV game show (legally we can’t use its name—but you’ll catch on quick to what it is) and we’ll do some Truth or Dare too. It’s a chance for everyone to learn more about the authors. I’m excited as it’s way outside my comfort zone to do something like this, but I think it’s going to be a good time for me and for the people who come play with us. There are an array great prizes to be won so if you’re at GRL come see us Friday afternoon.

Speaking of prizes, I’m giving away a pretty big one myself: a seven-inch Fire tablet with my books on it. I’ll sign people up for the chance to win from the time I arrive at the hotel through Saturday night. Sunday morning I’ll draw the winner. All you have to do to enter is ask to sign up when you see me. I’ll have you enter your email into my iPad or phone and then I’ll send an email Sunday morning to whoever wins (and if you’re still at GRL I’ll give you the tablet, otherwise I’ll mail it out once I get home).

Another new thing this year is I’m also on the “blogger” side of things, too. Last November, my husband, Will, and I started Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast. So we’ll be talking about the podcast as well, doing some interviews while we’re on site and maybe even doing some Facebook Live segments so folks who aren’t at GRL can get a taste of what’s going on. And leading up to GRL, it’s been great fun hosting authors on the show for GRL Blog Tour stops.

All of this is what makes GRL so great. Participating in the activities, having conversations with other attendees, catching up with people you only see in person once a year and—of course, meeting new people. For me, it’s also about putting myself out there too which is why I’m involved in more and different things this year. Make sure to say hi, especially if you’re new to GRL because it’ll be great to get to know you.

 

synopsis

Hat Trick Box SetHT-BoxCover_400

Simon Roberts and Alex Miller could never have known that from the moment of their first kiss that they were embarking on the love of a lifetime. The Hat Trick Box Set is their story, as told by Simon, from their senior year of high school through college graduation and beyond.

This box set includes all 6 stories in 1 ebook download!

The box set includes Hat Trick, Hat Trick Overtime: A Classic Winter’s Night, Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound, Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp, Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot and Hat Trick Overtime: Reunion.

 

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Amazon

ARe

Barnes & Noble

IBooks

JMS Books

Smashwords

 

meet the author

Jeff_headshot-BookLaunchJeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published. Since then he’s written several more shorts and novels, including some in the young adult genre, and he plans to keep writing as long as wonderful readers keeping picking up his books.

Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.

 

Jeff is also the co-host of Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast.

Website: http://jeffadamswrites.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hockeyguynyc

Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast website: http://biggayfictionpodcast.com/

 

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

GRL 2016 Blog Post: Wade Kelly

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A huge welcome to Wade Kelly, who is our next stop on the GRL 2016 Blog Tour. Can’t wait to see what this featured author has to say about the next Jock book. Woo Hoo! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway, too.

 

Guest Post

Hello, lovely people who are stopping by Two Chicks Obsessed! This is the third of eleven stops on the Blog Tour for JOCK 3—Back Off! That’s My Jock. This is another interview between my characters and myself. I hope you enjoyed the last one on Caraway Carter’s Blog, as well as the podcast interview with Jeff Adams. This is also a stop on the GRL circuit. I’ll be attending GRL as a featured author. This will be my 4th GRL. If you are there, please stop me to say HI. I’m very friendly and I love hugs.

Here is the cover, and you can pre-order my newest novel here:

Amazon

ARe

Dreamspinner Press

 

BackOffThatsMyJock

Now, let’s get right into the interview….

Sam: Hello. My name is Sam Garber and I will be interviewing Wade Kelly. I am Douglas Archer’s love interest in Wade Kelly’s latest book, Back Off! That’s My Jock. I guess for my first question, I’d like to know a little about the book. What is it about, how long did it take you to finish writing it, and who is your favorite character?

Wade: Wow, that was three questions in one. First, it took five months to write. I spent extra time editing it before submission and the edits with Dreamspinner were much easier on me than with Bankers’ Hours. The blurb sort of gives you a feel for the book so I’ll plug that here.

Blurb: Defining his sexuality didn’t make sense until his best friend spelled it out.

Doug Archer did some pretty idiotic things in the first eight weeks of his junior year of college. First, he kissed his gay best friend, and second, he kissed a guy he’d mistaken for a girl. Not stellar moments for Doug. If he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his spot on the soccer team to the new freshman, or worse, he might misconstrue his new friend Rob’s overly affectionate tendencies for flirting. But if Doug isn’t bothered by another guy’s attention, and he normally dates girls, does that mean he’s gay or bisexual?

Sam Garber suppressed his same-sex attraction his entire life. His father told him it was immoral, and Sam did everything he could to bury his feelings. However, after meeting Doug at a party and kissing him, Sam can’t think of anything else. He decides dating girls is the best way to keep his secret hidden. With playoffs in sight, this is no time to think about guys in any other context than soccer. Only, neither boy anticipates the difficulty in suppressing his attraction for another jock!

If I were to add anything else, I’d say it is about a bisexual soccer player who isn’t very quick on the uptake, so to say. He’s confused about his sexuality and I want to make it clear, I did not write any sort of bi-erasure into my character, Doug. Read it, and bear with me, as the character develops.

As far as a favorite character, I’d say Sam. I love broken &/or reluctant characters. So, my favorite characters would have to include Sam in JOCK 3, Darian in When Love is Not Enough & The Cost of Loving, and Alonzo in JOCK 2!GRL Featured Author

Sam: Wow, cool! I’m flattered. I can’t say I’m glad to have had such a difficult past, but I’m the way I am because of it. So, I guess life happens for a reason. I’m just glad I found Douglas. Thank you for that. How much of yourself do you manifest into your characters?

Wade: I normally put my experiences into them. In the case of Back Off! That’s My Jock, Doug Archer has all my anger. I was going through a rough period when I wrote it and I poured my anger into Doug. Sorry, Doug, you punched a tree because I couldn’t.

Sam: *laughing* But that’s totally Douglas, though. I think if you wrote him as a softer kind of person, I may not have been so attracted. He’s all the fire and strength I don’t have, so I think it’s good you were angry at the time.

Wade: Thanks. I guess it’s like you said, life happens for a reason.

Sam: Are you a full time author?

Wade: I’m a full time mother and wife, but I aspire to be a full time write along with the other things in my life. I’m still finding it hard to balance everything. My goal though, would be to write 3 books a year. I think it is doable even if I’m having a hard time accomplishing it at the moment. It will happen eventually.

Sam: What do you hope people will learn from reading this book?

Wade: That bisexuality is real, and that people who are bisexual shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of who they are. Don’t’ apologize. You were born that way! And sometimes, it may take time and patience to figure yourself out.

Sam: Thanks. That’s a good point. I had a hard enough time with my sexuality, but I never thought about Douglas. I guess he struggled too. But I never thought less of him.

Wade: And that’s my point. So Sam, this just about wraps up your interview with me today. Will you be reading the book?

Sam: Ha, ha. Of course! I love to read.

Wade: What would you say was the book from your childhood that impacted you the most?

Sam: The Velveteen Rabbit. Belief and love brought it to life, kind of like what Douglas did for me.

Wade: Thank you, Sam Garber for joining me on my blog tour.

Blog tour banner 2016-07-14 at 6.32.27 PM

For more fun, please check out my blog stops on the following blogs:

July 27th – Caraway Carter’s Wednesday Walkabout
August 1st – Jeff Adams’ podcast.
August 17th – Two Chicks Obsessed
August 19th – Prism Alliance
August 22nd – Love Bytes Reviews
August 24th – Ashley John’s blog
August 25th – DSP Blog
August 26th – Release Day! I’m on Elisa Rolle’s blog
August 29th – Joyfully Jay
August 30th – Long & Short Reviews
August 31st – TTC Books & More
September 2nd – MM Good Book Reviews

giveaway

As for the giveaways… I, Wade Kelly, will be giving away one GRAND PRIZE (items listed below) and three runner up prizes of a $10 gift card for Amazon. What you need to do is leave a comment. ALL comments are logged for a chance at the prizes. ONLY those who leave a comment on ALL eleven blog stops will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Last time I think there were 15 people in the Grand Prize drawing.

Note: If we’ve never chatted and you aren’t on Facebook, it is a good idea to leave an e-mail address because I need to know how to reach you. If I can’t, and I reply to your comment on the blog post that you’ve won but don’t hear from you, I have to give the prize to the next person on my list. Each comment gets you a chance in the drawing. If you leave one on each, that is eleven entries PLUS you are listed in the Grand Prize drawing. For a reminder if the rules, and where I’m stopping next, visit my blog post HERE.

Grand Prize includes all of the following:
1) One of my famous spoons in the colors of your choice
2) A $10 gift card from Amazon
3) One paperback signed from my back list (Not counting JOCK 3)
4) An e-book copy of JOCK 4, when it comes out.
5) And last, but not least, a soccer jersey for the player of your choice from the players in JOCK 3. (I’ll list them on my website along with pictures of the jerseys. They come in adult S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, & 4XL)

So there you go. If you have any questions, please let me know. Comment here or email me: writerwadekelly@gmail.com

As an aside for those who may want some of my books in paperback, I will not be selling anything in Kansas City. If you want Misplaced Affection, e-mail me. Any other book Dreamspinner may be bringing, but most likely they will only have my recent books. If you pre-order it, meaning you tell me what you want and pay me, I WILL BRING IT TO YOU IN KANSAS CITY.

meet the author

I can be found on:

Web: www.writerwadekelly.com

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

Face book Fan group, The Wade Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/groups/247976895406172/

Blog: writerwadekelly.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterWadeKelly

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writerwadekelly/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5141623.Wade_Kelly

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/writerwadekelly/

Bio:

Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it’s not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Wade writes passionately about controversial issues and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. There is a lot of pain in the world and people need hope. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her children. She likes snakes, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry.

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

GRL 2016 Blog Post: K-Lee Klein “What GRL has taught me”

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Huge welcome to K-Lee Klein! Thanks for joining us on the Official GRL 2016 Blog Tour! We can’t wait to meet K-lee in October!

 

What GRL has taught me…

Hi, I’m K-lee. Welcome to my GRL post and a big thank you to Two Chicks Obsessed for being part of our blog tour and for letting me borrow their readers for a few minutes.

I am what you might call a GRL veteran. This year marks my fifth trip to the retreat, with only one missed due to what I’m going to talk about today—mobility. I was actually at the very first Gay Rom Lit in 2011 in the fabulous city of New Orleans. That was my only time attending as a reader and also the only time I went on my own two feet, so to speak.

In February 2012, I did something unusual to my left knee. I describe it that way because it was never diagnosed properly, at least until early Walker_Stalker2015 after three years spent on crutches (something to do with my patellar tendon.) Without going into too much boring detail, in August 2014 I tore the meniscus in my right knee mainly because there was so much wear and tear on the joint from being my only leg in use for so long. I ended up having to use a walker—I’ve affectionately named him Walker-Stalker—because neither of my legs is stable enough to risk going without.

Now back to the purpose of this post—mobility problems at conventions.

Going to GRL and other conventions on crutches was tough, especially being a Canadian and travelling to some of those hot and humid places—I swear Atlanta almost killed me, or in the least, melted me into the concrete. Crutches are a lot of work and they taxed my body in ways you don’t expect—arms, legs, back, neck, hands, feet. They made it difficult to fit in with the crowd because of the limitations of walking too far especially if pain is involved, and it definitely is with me. Crutches and chronic pain slowed me down when all I wanted was to keep up. They made me stand out when all I wanted to fade into the crowd.

But conventions like GRL have taught me that people can be very kind. Whether carrying books, coffee or lunch, standing to give up a chair or just offering small gestures or words of encouragement, humans can be supportive and empathetic—if you let them.

I should mention that leaving home at fifteen served to make me very independent and I’m extremely willful when it comes to asking for help.

Fast-forward to last year in San Diego after my crutches had been switched out for Walker-Stalker. I have to admit I was more nervous and self-conscious about showing up with my wheels and the urge to stay in my room was strong because of the insecurities running ’round my head. (Note, unfortunately because of the aforementioned anxiety, I’ve actually spent a large amount of time in my room at previous GRLs.) But thanks to some lovely ladies in San Diego, I didn’t give-in to those particular feelings. They know who they are and to this day I’m appreciative of their encouragement, kindness, and patience with me.

Now that’s not to say I’m cured of the stigma that Walker-Stalker creates in my head but it was definitely a start. And if I may name names for a minute—Carol Lynne was the one who got the kindness train moving for me when she offered a room close to the events at San Diego GRL. Thank God she did since the resort was so spread out, it would have been painful for me to hike back and forth. Her thoughtfulness saved me from a lot of that so thank you very much Carol.

Don’t get me wrong, GRL and other conventions still have the same physical limitations that regular life hands the mobility-challenged, but they can also offer softer alternatives and important lessons. I’ve learned that that the person most bothered when I ask for help is me. And just because I still feel weird dragging Walker-Stalker around with me, doesn’t mean everyone is looking at me in the same way. I even put this theory to the ultimate test by going to my first official costume ball dressed as the best damn Winter Soldier I could be, complete with my walker sidekick.

So what is the moral to my long-winded tale? Maybe it’s a call to arms for those of us who feel out of place bLucky in Loveland meduiumecause of whatever challenges we either have or even think we have. Maybe it’s a note to self that most times people don’t mind moving their chair so I can squeeze by, don’t find it a complete imposition to help carry something, reach for something, lift something. Maybe it’s simply a love letter to all the fabulous friends and even strangers who’ve helped me through the years or maybe it’s a personal note from me to you—letting you know it’ s okay to feel a little out of place orLost in Loveland_small copy different than anyone else because do you know what? I think most of us do.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you all at the next GRL or even just online. But before I go let me tell you about what I have coming up in my writing world.


Lost in Loveland
(the sequel to Lucky in Loveland) will be available for pre-order on August 15 with a release date of August 25. I will also have a new release in September—Gimme Shelter, a hurt/comfort story about a rock cellist and a Celtic fiddler, will be out on September 10th.

And if I may be so bold, I have a rerelease about a man who learns the ultimate lesson about asking for a little help coming out this week. Unbreak My Heart stars my favorite cowboy, Brett Taylor, and will be released on August 5, 2016 from Dreamspinner Press. Here’s what it’s all about.

 

UnbreakMyHeart_smallsynopsis

Brett Taylor’s world collapsed three years ago when he lost the love of his life. Almost as bad as the grief is the advice he’s starting to get from everyone and their brother, telling him it’s time to move on. They’re flat-out wrong. He left his career as a musician and escaped to his ranch because he needs the peace and quiet, and he’s doing just fine. He doesn’t want anyone invading his memory-filled, booze-fueled solitude.

JT Campbell’s world has been defined by his parents’ money, status, and his own empty relationships, until he’s desperately sick of it. A quest to find something meaningful leads him to Brett’s failing ranch. It’s supposed to be a brief stay. JT never wanted to be anyone’s savior or compete with the ghosts of lovers past. Still, he can’t help wanting this gruff and grieving man.

JT’s mind knows it’s a bad idea, but his heart keeps pushing him to find out what lies beneath Brett’s rough and broken exterior. Brett’s not going to make it easy. JT can only be patient, keep his sense of humor, and hope for the day he may be allowed far enough into Brett’s world to unbreak his heart.

 

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meet the author

13423985_10153550038972793_381138425107203478_nK-lee Klein loves guys with long hair and tattoos, and you’ll often find her front and center at her favorite rock concerts. She has bounced around Western Canada all her life, but will always consider the solitude and beauty of the British Columbian mountains home. Her life is blessed as the proud mother of three now-grown but still spoiled kids, the servant of two bossy felines, and the wife of a truly patient husband.GRL Featured Author

Her writing muse is terribly temperamental, so to keep him close by and in check, she had him inked on her left calf. The gorgeous, long-haired, mostly naked, kneeling angel that resulted is truly a work of art, although he’s still a handful and hopelessly uncontrollable. She writes on his schedule and inspiration.

K-lee tends to fall easily into obsessions. When something grabs her attention, she jumps into it headfirst with complete abandon. Actors, musicians, superheroes, fictional characters, and brainwashed assassins all hold spots on her cannot-get-enough list. She once followed Thirty Seconds to Mars around the United States and Canada and saw them perform fourteen times that year. Obsession sometimes leads to ideas for her kneeling angel to turn into stories.

Although an introvert in person, she’s extroverted online and has met many wonderful friends there, sometimes with the added fun of meeting them in person at gay romance conferences. She’s grateful for all the people in her life who accept her as she is and support her through her ups and downs as mom, wife, and joyfully obsessed writer.

Places to find K-lee.

Website – kleeklein.com

Blog – http://chaosinthemoonlight.blogspot.ca

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Klee_Klein

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kleemoon

Facebook author/reader group https://www.facebook.com/groups/812548795471921/

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