**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!!!**
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.
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+.
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.
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.
“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.”
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
Social Media Links:
Mailing List signup: ajtruman.com/outsiders